Review by Spa & Wellness MexiCaribe
As ice baths gain popularity around the world; in the region of Riviera Maya, Caribe Sis brings a variety of ice and heat therapy experiences to the community of locals, expats and visitors to the region. With a small location in the town of Playa del Carmen offering a shaded space for the preliminary breathwork, two large concrete bathtubs for the ice bath experience and a sauna cabin incorporating elements of the traditional Mayan Temazcal chamber such as volcanic rocks that heat the space from a central pit and herb infused water poured over the glowing rocks, creating aromatic steam.
Following the method popularized by ‘Iceman’ Wim Hof, the ritual starts with a breathwork exercise of 30-40 deep inhales, followed by a breath hold of 1-3 minutes (easier than it sounds), a deep inhale held for 15 seconds and then two or three more rounds following the same pattern, perhaps extending the breath hold for longer each round as the body over-oxygenates. Experiences such as pins and needles, tingling skin, hot and cold sensations over the body and muscle contractions are all normal and part of the process that induces hyperoxygenation and assists in entering a transcendent state of meditation. The breathwork plays a vital role in preparing the body to enter the ice, where the physiological benefits are achieved in just three minutes of cold exposure. Newcomers to the ritual are encouraged to only stay in the ice five minutes at the most, although the mind and body can endure longer exposure in the moment, the recovery process can be slower for those not yet accustomed. The sauna certainly makes the recovery easier and more enjoyable and guests can repeat the ice bath and sauna two or three times before resting for a final meditation in the shaded garden.
Caribe Sis also offers ice baths in a variety of locations including beachside, in private residences for groups or wellness retreats, and in cenotes, openings to the underground river system running throughout the Yucatán peninsula set in beautiful cave formations – a perfect way to connect with the earth while experiencing this ritual.