MARK HUGHES hasn’t had a hot shower in three years.
Don’t worry, he doesn’t stink, and has been taking daily cold showers and weekly ice baths instead.
It’s all part of his self-confessed “nerdy” obsession with cold water immersion, which is apparently beneficial for your physical and mental health.
A White Gum Valley resident, Hughes says ice baths are particularly useful for building up mental resilience.
“Ice baths and cold water exposure generally provide a powerful combination of physical and mental benefits by putting our body into hormetic stress,” he says.
“We deliberately stress the body and mind with the cold, which triggers a cascade of hormonal, immune and neurotransmitter effects that has a positive impact both immediately and in the long term if done regularly.
“These responses ‘train’ us to deal with general stressors in life, thus managing them and our stress levels better.”
Physical health benefits include better blood circulation, reduced inflammation, improved sleep and a more robust immune system.
Hughes, 53, may be needing all the physical help he can get as he just had a baby girl Maya with his wife Carola, and no doubt some sleepless nights beckon.
Originally from the UK, he’s been in Australia for 23 years and runs his own business Barefoot Renovations, a small building company focusing on renovations and consulting.
He credits his journey of self-development to his wife and first started ice baths about seven years ago.
Hughes says it grew out of his love of free-diving and teaching surf survival breath-holding.
“My inspiration was seeing first hand the profound benefits of the cold and in studying more of the research and studies in this area, my fascination became a passion,” he says.
Now he’s setup One Life Live It, running coaching programs, mindset bootcamps, breathing workshops and breathing for survival courses.
For those wanting to literally dip their toe into the ice bath world, you can try one of Hughe’s ice baths for a gold coin donation at the Fremantle Farmers Markets in Beaconsfield.
“For those that haven’t done an ice bath before, firstly we make it clear they don’t have to get in if they don’t want to and if they do, we will guide them in slowly and at their pace,” Hughes says.
“Some people may only feel comfortable with their feet in the water although most of the time we enable people to stay in for at least couple of minutes.”
The ice baths are held every second Sunday at Beacy Farmers Market (next one February 19) and you can find out more at onelifeliveit.com.au
By STEPHEN POLLOCK