Icy meditations in Minnesota: Cold water dippers tout benefits

This winter has already brought enough snow and cold weather to make some question their choice of living in Minnesota. But in the land of 10,000 lakes we are known for embracing the cold; and on Sunday, some Minnesotans took that passion to another level.

They are crediting their cold pastime with giving them better sleep, circulation, reduced anxiety, and improved heart health.

Beneath the surface of Lake Harriet, on a day with temperatures in the single digits, Malena Maxwell and many others chose to meditate… the Minnesota way.

"People have called it the magic hole," Malena told FOX 9. "I was nervous driving here though, when I saw the hole I was like oh, I don’t want to get in there."

It takes a special type of person to try the hole, and there are many different names for what goes on it. From ice dipping, to submerging, or cold water immersion therapy. But the results are the same for just about everyone brave enough to dive in.

"All of your worries go away," Malena explained. "You don’t care about what you’re having for lunch, you don’t care about the mess at home, it’s just you, your body, and your breath."

One slow breath at a time in the incredible cold of Lake Harriet’s water, breathing is all most divers can focus on. But they say that’s a good thing, because it allows them to surrender everything else, and push all of their stresses aside.

"And then you find peace with the cold," Malena said.

In the cold of the water, the brave souls understand they can’t control the temperature, but they can control their thoughts and breathing. And that helps them to find a new calm. Some go in for three minutes, others for 13 minutes. But everyone FOX 9 caught up with said they left with a clearer mind and energized heart.

"I never sleep better than days I do this," Zack Hunsinger said. 

"We’ve been going two to three times a week," Anna Fors added.

For Malena, the cold water has become a euphoric way to get out of just about any funk; making her feel more powerful and capable, "We are made to be more than just comfortable," Malena finished.