Professor Mike Tipton – “Cold Water Immersion: Kill or Cure?” – 11th November 2021

Professor Mike Tipton will describe the hazards associated with immersion in cold water as well as some of the claimed health benefits associated with open cold water swimming.

MIKE TIPTON MBE, PhD, MSc, FTPS
Professor of Human & Applied Physiology,
Extreme Environments Laboratory, School of Sport Health & Exercise Science, University of
Portsmouth, UK.
Professor Tipton has spent 35 years researching the areas of drowning and thermoregulation, environmental
and occupational physiology and survival in the sea. He has published widely in these areas including the
books, “The Essentials of Sea Survival” and “The Science of Beach Lifeguarding”. Prof Tipton is a Trustee of Surf
Lifesaving GB and Council member of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. He is a Fellow of the Royal
Society of Medicine and The Physiological Society, and was awarded: a MBE for services to physiological
research in extreme environments; the Ireland Medal for saving lives from drowning worldwide and the H&L
Swiftwater rescue lifetime achievement award from the USA.

Mike recently gave a fascinating interview with Jim Al Khalilli on Radio 4 ‘The Life Scientific’

As the craze for cold water swimming continues, Jim Al Khalili talks to triathlete and
Professor of Extreme Physiology, Mike Tipton. Is it as good for our mental and physical
health as many enthusiasts claim? And do the benefits go beyond a rush of adrenaline
causing feel good endorphins to be released in our brains?
Mike studies why people drown. He wants to understand the precise physiological changes
that occur when we expose ourselves to extreme environments and to use that information
to help save lives. (Shivering and sweating will only get you so far when it comes to
temperature control).
Most deaths at sea are caused by the initial cold water shock response, not hypothermia.
People gasp for air and swallow lethal quantities of water.
So is it a case of kill or cure for cold water swimmers?
What does the scientific evidence say about the idea that repeated cold water immersion
can boost our immunity and have an anti-inflammatory effect?
Mike tells Jim how he came to specialise in this area of science and why he believes we
should all be challenging our bodies more.