Taking the plunge: Cold water group plunges into Lake Tahoe each week
Every week for the past two winters, Kimberly Harter has plunged into the freezing waters of Lake Tahoe.
The water temperature in Lake Tahoe during the winter season can average around 40 degrees.
Harter claims that this practice, coupled with breath work, has helped her to overcome many health problems.
“I started learning about breath work and cryotherapy and decided to give it a try,” Harter said.
Harter began with cold showers and swimming in her mother’s pool during the winter.
According to WebMD, cryotherapy has not yet been tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and emphasized using caution while trying it. Some studies show that whole body cryotherapy may help with exercise recovery.
WebMD does state, however, that breath work has been used for thousands of years, mostly through yoga practices, and can be effective in calming the senses.
Harter begins the group with 15 minutes of breath work and then brings participants into the water, fully immersing for around 2 minutes.
Those who partake in the cold plunge can go in the water for however long they choose, although Harter encourages participants to go under for at least 15 seconds.
“Two minutes for me I’ve found is a nice, happy place — it’s a good medium for me. I feel like I’m getting a lot of benefits out of it,” Harter said.
Harter’s group meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at William Kent Beach, 1995 West lake Blvd. in Tahoe City.
The weekly event is free to attend.
Harter began the group in January to share the experience with others who might be interested in the benefits of cryotherapy and breath work.
“A bunch of people said, ‘Wow, I don’t know if I would have been able to do this without the group experience.’ Because you kind of work off of each other’s energy and it does help you to stay in there and continue. I think almost everybody stayed in there for 2 minutes, and it was a handful of people’s first time.” Harter said.
She also said that, although it is rare, some people may pass out due to the shock of the cold. It’s safer to go in the water with someone present.
Harter wanted to bring people together for this activity for camaraderie and to create a space for like-minded people.
“It’s really cool watching people do it for the first time… It’s just to bring people together and have fun and to experience what I have found to be this profound healing modality that we can all partake in.”
Elizabeth White is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at email@example.com
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