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The Bluetit Swimmers Take the Cold Water Cure for Hot Flashes

The Bluetits—yes, that’s their name—are aging boldly by jumping into frigid seas to stave off hot flashes and they're having a blast doing it.

You’ve probably heard some of the standard advice for dealing with hot flashes—cooling pillows, et cetera—but a group of bad-ass women in Wales, have a most unusual method. They gather and jump into the super-chilly surf (you can follow them on Instagram here and watch a video of their exploits here). In temperatures that are down into the 40s, they romp on the beach, holler, and feel like kids again.

Says one member, Alison Owen, “The start of it is just a thrill and excitement. It releases an inner child I suppose, it reminds you what you used to be like before you had kids, before you had a job, before you had a mortgage.”

In temperatures that are down into the 40s, they romp on the beach, holler, and feel like kids again.

Then they briefly plunge into the cold water. Did we mention they call their club the Bluetit Chill Swimmers? That’s just how frigid the sea can feel! Member Patricia Woodhouse says these icy dips have helped with her menopause symptoms. “I feel that it’s been easier since starting this. The sweats and the night sweats haven’t been so bad. I also suffer with anxiety and I’ve found my anxiety levels don’t feel as bad either.”

The Bluetits organize swimming events to encourage women to find the fun and camaraderie of cold-water dipping, and they sell a line of vibrant swimwear that will brighten up any frigid waters.

Benefits of the Cold Water Cure

ice water for hot flashes

Ice water dips have recently become more popular, thanks to the preachings of the wellness guru, Wim Hoff. Hoff encourages cold showers, claiming that there are multiple health benefits.

  • Reduced stress levels. Regularly taking cold showers imposes a small amount of stress on your body, Hoff says, which leads to a process called hardening. This means that your nervous system gradually gets used to handling moderate levels of stress.
  • Better alertness. Cold showers wake your body up, inducing a higher state of alertness. The cold also stimulates you to take deeper breaths, decreasing the level of CO2 throughout the body, helping you concentrate.
  • More robust immune response. Scientific studies have found that taking a cold shower increases the number of white blood cells in your body. These blood cells protect your body against diseases. Researchers believe that this process is related to an increased metabolic rate, which stimulates the immune response.

We think the Bluetits must then be as healthy as Nordic goddesses. But there’s something else at work as well.

A Strange Euphoria

Professor Mike Tipton, an expert in cold water swimming at the University of Portsmouth, has observed, “Most cold-water swimming involves exercise and socializing—two things we know can have a positive impact on mental health.” However, he admits, there are no definitive studies on the benefits and risks of this practice.

The cold shock releases stress hormones, the fight or flight response.

“Everybody knows that when you go into a cold shower you get a gasping ‘cold shock’ response,” he added. “This releases the body’s stress hormones, the fight or flight response—as a result people talk about feeling euphoric or high.” He does caution, though, that “people need to remember they are engaging in a potentially dangerous activity, that same response can stop you being able to hold your breath in water.”

We salute the Bluetits for their bravery and bold behavior and for finding a group activity that works for them,  but we would have to say: Don’t try this at home without checking with your health-care professional first!

By Janet Siroto


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