They were relaxing as well as could be expected while enduring uncomfortable temperatures, constant wave action, the sounds of friends and family (thankfully, there were no power boats in the bay at this time) trying to tune out the world and simply float. It appeared to be an exercise in patience and persistence. This practice made me think about how science has taken this idea… created a highly controlled sensory deprivation pod… called it a float tank and made it accessible. Kudos to science!! Now everyone can experience the perfect float. And should.
Then I saw nature inspiring science, again.
Just a couple of days after the Mediterranean version of the float, I witnessed the Pyrenees version of the Cryo Chamber. Follow me here… I was on a cycling trip with 11 other riders. We range in age from 25-60. We’re all reasonably fit, enthusiastic riders, keen to soak up Catalonian culture and experience the challenges of big days of riding.
On Day 4 of our trip, 2 of our mates completed a grueling 83km ride with 1127m elevation gain. A tough ride by any standard. When we returned to our hotel to decompress, David (one of the 2 super riders of the day) went directly to the unheated outdoor swimming pool. FYI Northern Spain is temperate at best. The air temperature was 14°C so the pool temperature was very near that. David’s core body temperature was 37°C. That’s a temperature differential of 23°C!!! My wide-eyed expression asked the obvious question of David. WTH?? He replied, “I can’t explain it. After a long difficult bike ride I just love getting into a cold pool. I don’t need to stay long. Just a few minutes really. It’s the getting out of the cold water that feels so great. I will be less sore tomorrow, because of these few minutes. I can’t explain why. It just is.”
David was engaging in nature’s form of cryotherapy. He was using the cold water as a treatment for reducing symptoms of pain and inflammation associated with the long, difficult bike ride. Cold temperatures can significantly improve recovery time for athletes, by instantly improving blood circulation, ensuring adequate delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells and tissues, while improving our natural ability to eliminate toxins. David didn’t know the science behind his cold plunge, but he definitely knew about the benefits. Nature inspiring science.
Float, relax, chill out and heal.