Most of us find it relaxing to spend a few minutes soaking in a bath or a hot tub. But have you ever tried submersing your body in fifty-degree water for any length of time? It feels like being encased in a giant ice pack. Though this kind of therapy is popular in Europe and goes back to ancient Roman times, Americans have been slow to catch on. But the pleasure of soaking in a cold plunge doesn’t just come from the relief you feel once you’re out of it. Patients who use this therapy report decreased pain, even several hours later.
A recent convert to cold plunge therapy, I have learned about some of its touted benefits, which include improved circulation, less inflammation, a strengthened immune system, and a better mood. Though not recommended for pregnant women or people with heart conditions, cold plunge therapy is a natural way to get healthy and stay healthy. But if you’re anything like me, you have to try it before you believe it.
Something similar happens when it comes to spiritual disciplines like fasting. Abstaining from food for any length of time can seem like torture, especially if you are just beginning. But if you make fasting a regular part of your life, you will find that it can increase your spiritual awareness, underlining the seriousness of your prayers and helping you develop more self-control.
But don’t do it to impress God or others. That’s a downward path. Do it because you love the Lord and because you want him to know how hungry you are for the peace he promises.