A city charity is using a unique - and freezing - form of therapy to help local women. 

New Rhythms for Glasgow is supporting people recovering from addiction and mental health issues with cold water therapy sessions.

A group of 35 women, known as The Moonlight Mermaids, meet once a week to take the plunge and go for a dip at Loch Lomond. 

Cold water dips are said to help reduce stress, boost energy levels and improve the immune system, and the sessions have already had a positive effect on the group.

Glasgow Times:

Kirsteen Marshall, service manager at New Rhythms for Glasgow, said: “It has been amazing to see the impact of our cold water dips on women in the community, with many of them seeing the benefits of spending time outdoors, focusing on breathwork and gaining a sense of achievement from enduring the chill.

"For women who may be struggling or feeling isolated, we are offering a safe space to connect and focus on wellbeing.

“So far it has been hugely successful and anyone over the age of eighteen is welcome."

Glasgow Times:

The charity, based in Sighthill, usually focuses on group workshops built around music, drama, art and dance, and the Glasgow Times previously exclusively reported that they had launched female-only Zumba classes which allow parents to keep fit without worrying about childcare, as they can bring their kids along.

After the launch of the classes, organisers took the chance to develop a new line of work in partnership with Bluevale RIFE (Recovery is for Everyone) and the idea to try cold water dips was introduced.

New Rhythms for Glasgow also offers drop-in sessions and courses covering treatments such as massage, yoga, meditation and reiki, a form of palm-healing therapy.

Glasgow Times: Kirsteen Marshall (right), service manager at New Rhythms for GlasgowKirsteen Marshall (right), service manager at New Rhythms for Glasgow (Image: Gordon Terris)

With each cold water session as popular as the last, New Rhythms for Glasgow plans to invest more time and money in its women's group after recently receiving a funding grant of almost £30,000.

Kirsteen added: "Already, we’ve quickly reached capacity, so the next stage is to expand the team to support the level of demand, as well as helping other community groups in the central belt to introduce similar initiatives.”

The money was given to the charity by the Glasgow Community Anchors’ Fund – a partnership between the HFD Charitable Foundation and Virgin Money Foundation.

Glasgow Times:

Lauren McKenzie, ambassador for the HFD Charitable Foundation, said: “New Rhythms for Glasgow has been supporting local people with physical, mental and addiction problems for over 20 years.

"The new cold water therapy sessions are clearly very popular, and it is great to be able to support a new programme for women’s mental health and wellbeing.

"The Glasgow Community Anchors’ Fund was set up to support good causes like this that are making a huge difference to local communities.”


Nancy Doyle-Hall, executive director at the Virgin Money Foundation, added: “It is great to see organisations like New Rhythms making such a positive difference in their community thanks to help from the Community Anchor’s Fund.

"Their wonderful Moonlight Mermaids initiative is helping women’s mental health and general wellbeing, at a time when there are many external stresses such as rising living costs, this is helping those participating to connect with others in a safe space.”