With its therapeutic ice baths and infrared saunas, leading boutique wellness studio Nimbus Co provides an immersive space for guests to rest, recharge and revitalise. Versatile in use and sometimes shocking in effect, both treatments promise a wide range of health benefits.

“When people come into Nimbus, your experience depends on what you’re trying to achieve on that given day,” says Nimbus co-founder Neil O’Sullivan. “You might be hungover, want to detoxify and just sweat things out. On another day, you might be going in with more of a mindful focus. You might meditate, you might have all the lights turned off.

“That’s the really cool thing about Nimbus, it really is a choose-your-own-adventure every time you come in.” An athlete turned mental health advocate, O’Sullivan launched Nimbus in 2016 with his wife Su Tuttle, a qualified nutritionist. Having navigated health challenges of their own, the duo saw an opportunity to create a space for mental and physical healing.

Originating as a Bondi mainstay, their flagship studio was followed by successful outposts in Byron Bay, Melbourne and Manly.

The infrared sauna experience is arguably the easier entry point for beginners. Where regulars slip out of comfort and into ice baths with ease, first-timers may not share the same cold confidence. But Nimbus is dedicated to making your visit a chilled experience – whether you’re a seasoned bather or new to the practice.

Keen to face the cold? We’ve got you covered with a guide to break you in, plus 20 per cent off midweek sauna and ice bath sessions at any Nimbus studio if you’re a Broadsheet Access member.

Take a deep breath

Before dipping your toes into an ice bath, O’Sullivan recommends practising breathwork to centre yourself. Newcomers, he explains, can expect a shock to the nervous system, followed by an endorphin-sponsored natural high. “Do three big deep breaths before you get in,” he says. “That basically just switches your nervous system on, it gives you a bit of a wake-up call.” Once regulated and ready, the plunge is yours for the taking.

A shower best served cold

If the idea of an ice bath immersion sends a shiver down your spine, O’Sullivan suggests trying a cold shower first. Better yet, lean into Wim Hof’s 20-day cold shower challenge. Starting with 30-second cold rinses in the first week and building to an increased tolerance over time, it’s an exposure therapy unique to the world-famous athlete, known to extremity enthusiasts as “The Iceman”.

“I guarantee you if you do it, by the fourth week you’ll think ‘No way, I can do it all cold the whole time’,” he says. “But it’s amazing what it does to you in a short space of time. And then once you do it, you start yearning for the cold.”

Best enjoyed in good company

Like any new experience, ice baths can be daunting when solo. To remedy cold feet (pun unintended), O’Sullivan suggests a calming dual immersion with a friend or partner to reduce your nerves. “Even for me, I know that personally it was always a lot easier doing it with somebody else than on your own, especially if you’re a beginner,” he says. “You just need that push.”

Where three minutes alone can be felt acutely, O’Sullivan says, shared company goes a long way to thaw resistance and boost endurance. “It seems like a lot the first time you go in there and you’re counting down the seconds,” he says. “If you’ve just got somebody giving you little pats on the back and encouragement, that three minutes goes great.”

Enjoy the sauna, too

For ice bath purists, you can just head to Nimbus for a dip-it-and-quit-it visit. Self-care seekers, on the other hand, can treat themselves to combined bath-sauna packages with an hour-long “Contrast Therapy” experience at the Bondi and Manly studios.

For optimal results, O’Sullivan recommends starting and finishing with an ice bath. Punctuated by a sauna visit, this routine is designed for ideal temperature regulation. “Studies suggest that it’s better to get into the ice bath first, then do your sauna, and then always finish on cold,” he says. He also he recommends ending with a cold shower, so your body learns to warm itself naturally.

Take it easy

A practice in self-care, ice baths are to be enjoyed – not endured. At least, not after your first few visits. Slip away from expectation, practise temperature regulation and ease into the experience. “I know people who could barely dip their toe in the beginning, and that’s okay,” he says.

Mind over matter, O’Sullivan suggests, is key to exceeding your own expectations. “Whatever level you’re at, if you’ve done some kind of breath work, or if you’ve done some kind of cold showers before … you’ve probably got a better resistance than the average person.”

Dare to take the plunge? Broadsheet Access members can enjoy 20 per cent off midweek ice bathing and sauna sessions at any Nimbus studio.