Cryotherapy and The Nude Swim

I once read that a famous poet used to immerse herself in freezing cold water as a way of dealing with severe depression. While it’s not pleasant, I can attest to the curative effects of swimming in cold water; the ocean temp has been hovering around 57-59° in Southern California for the last week but I’ve forced myself to swim at least a mile each day. For some reason I thought the poet was Anne Sexton but I can’t remember where I read about this poet’s cryo-therapeutic treatment.

I love Anne Sexton’s poetry although I guess ultimately nothing cured her depression.

THE NUDE SWIM
by Anne Sexton

On the southwest side of Capri
we found a little unknown grotto
where no people were and we
entered it completely
and let our bodies lose all
their loneliness.

All the fish in us
had escaped for a minute.
The real fish did not mind.
We did not disturb their personal life.
We calmly trailed over them
and under them, shedding
air bubbles, little white
balloons that drifted up
into the sun by the boat
where the Italian boatman slept
with his hat over his face.

Water so clear you could
read a book through it.
Water so buoyant you could
float on your elbow.
I lay on it as on a divan.
I lay on it just like
Matisse’s Red Odalisque.
Water was my strange flower,
one must picture a woman
without a toga or a scarf
on a couch as deep as a tomb.

The walls of that grotto
were everycolor blue and
you said, “Look! Your eyes
are seacolor. Look! Your eyes
are skycolor.” And my eyes
shut down as if they were
suddenly ashamed.

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