'You need that good shock': Fort Good Hope woman enjoys ice baths in Mackenzie River

·2 min read
Nadine Tatchinron said she's been sleeping better and her inflammation has gone away since starting regular ice baths in the Mackenzie River.  (nadinepearls37/TikTok - image credit)
Nadine Tatchinron said she's been sleeping better and her inflammation has gone away since starting regular ice baths in the Mackenzie River. (nadinepearls37/TikTok - image credit)

A Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., woman who recently started taking regular, icy plunges into the Mackenzie River says she wants to continue the practice — even as winter sets in.

"I really want to try it when it's really cold," said Nadine Tatchinron.

She told Lawrence Nayally, the host of CBC's Trail's End, that she just wants to "test it out" and won't stay in for a "really long" time. But her idea of a "really long" time might be different from that of most other people.

Tatchinron said she's worked herself up to nine-minute stints in the frigid water.

That's compared to her first ice dip, back in September, when she lasted about 30 seconds.

A video of an early swim on TikTok shows Tatchinron shrieking as she voluntarily runs into open river water at night with her brothers, bathed in a vehicle's headlights.

"It was, like, 10:30 at night," she said of the inaugural plunge. "The water is just so cold, because you need that good shock from the coldness."

In more recent videos, Tatchinron can be seen climbing into a hole cut out in the ice along the shore of the Mackenzie River as the snow flies around her and a friend. Behind them, hunks of ice float down a gradually freezing river.

"I just concentrate on my breathing and keep my hands out of the water. Try to do a couple of dunks, and then try to just enjoy the moment."

In many of her posts, Tatchinron tags Wim Hof, an extreme Dutch athlete who founded a method of frequent cold exposure, breathing techniques and meditation.

Those who follow the Wim Hof method say there are physiological benefits of cold-water swims, like decreased inflammation, reduced stress levels and improved sleep.

Tatchinron said she's been "sleeping really good" and that inflammation in her knees has gone away since starting the cold dips.

And the trend is catching on — somewhat.

Tatchinron said different community members have tried it out, including her mother and a friend who has been joining her regularly now too.

"I was trying to get my older son to go in, but he only managed to step in a few [steps], then he came back out," she said, laughing.

Tatchinron also challenged Nayally to join her for a cold plunge, if he ever visits Fort Good Hope.

"If I'm there in the winter and you're still doing this, challenged accepted," he said.

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