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Photo by WJFW Newswatch 12

Up North Cryophiles group participates in cold water immersion


Story By Morgan Johnson
Local News Published 02/26/2021 4:43PM, Last Updated 02/26/2021 6:19PM
Lake Tomahawk - On Thursday, you could spot several ice fishers on Gilmore Lake in Lake Tomahawk.

But the Up North Cryophiles were doing something else.

"I just, I feel amazing afterwards; I'd say euphoric," said EmilyMae King.

King is referring to water immersion, something she does as a member of the Up North Cryophiles group.

The group started from a simple Facebook post when a Northwoods local wanted to immerse herself in frigid water.

"It just became a way of life for us," said one of the groups first members, Carol Warden.

First they needed a location.

"We definitely had to do some scouting to find the open water in the area," said Warden. "So once we found some good suitable conditions that had parking that you could actually access the water, those became top choices."

From there, more and more people just started showing up, whether they saw it on social media, or heard it from a friend of a friend.

"We all had individual purpose and reason why we were doing it and it made sense that we got together and created a group," said King.

Now, the group gathers as often as they can, sometimes in dozens.

And they often get asked: why?

Warden does it for one specific reason.

"Some of the personal benefits I've seen have been with the challenge of it in terms of pushing your comfort zones and getting into a position where you're less comfortable," said Warden. "To give your mind and your body a challenge in that way."

Everyone in the Up North Cryophiles who's tried it sees benefits.

Mental benefits, but physical ones too.

Like less inflammation, for someone like Bret Miller who was really struggling.

Miller broke his back last year and had a lot of pain.

"This is my 30th day in a row," said Miller. "I started doing this back in January and it grew on me really fast." "I felt the benefits right after the first and second time."

New members are always welcome.

Just reach out to the Up North Cryophiles Facebook group, and you might find out you're the latest lover of the cold.

"I think that you should try everything that scares you at least once and see for yourself," said King. "It's amazing how you feel afterwards."
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