New study on winter bathing “unlikely to happen any time soon”

A leading medical expert casts fresh doubt on formally researching the effect of swimming in cold water – but stops short of ruling a new study out entirely.

Despite the lack of concrete medical proof of the health benefits, winter bathers continue to meet in their droves. There are over 50,000 registered members of clubs in Denmark alone. (Image: Stine Skovgaard / Jacob South Klein)

By Jacob South Klein

Investigations into the mysterious effects of Danish winter bathing have shown the pastime to have an inexplicable impact on the human body.

However, a new study into the phenomenon is “unlikely to happen any time soon,” as Bo Belhage, Chief Consultant of Anaesthesiology at Bispebjerg Hospital, explains.

“To scientifically prove the benefits outright, you would need a large, random population of volunteers to observe over a 20-year period.”

“There was a previous 10-year study looking at the health benefits of olive oil though, so never say never!”

Meanwhile, Belhage is cautiously optimistic about the perceived benefits.

“There’s some weight behind winter bathing being good for arthritis relief, although that came from a non-controlled study.”

“A German study also implied that it could be helpful for controlling diabetes, by lowering the need for insulin.”

This story is written for an audience in the United Kingdom and could be published on, under the Lifestyle section.