I’ve recently started finishing my shower with cold water. It started with 30 seconds, progressing to 1 minute and soon will be 2 minutes. Why?! There are so many health advantages to taking a cold shower! A cold shower can improve your nervous system’s ability to handle stress and strengthen your resolve. Immersion in cold water stimulates the body’s natural healing processes, which can alleviate the symptoms of several medical illnesses and produce a general feeling of health and well-being.
The immunological, lymphatic, cardiovascular, and digestive systems all benefit from consistent exposure to cold water, which can be turned into a healthy habit by taking a shower in ice water (one step at a time!!)
The following are some additional benefits that have been linked to regular cold showers:
- Increases Endorphins
One study found that taking a cold shower for up to five minutes, twice or thrice a week, helped reduce depressive symptoms.
Some patients with depression have found that taking a cold shower is like a milder version of electroshock therapy. Intense electrical impulses are sent to your brain from the cold water. They give you a shock of energy and focus by stimulating your central nervous system. There is also a release of endorphins, popularly known as the “feel-good” hormones. Positive emotions like joy and hope can be attributed to this influence.
- Effective in supporting your immune system
Our bodies adapt to the environment in which we find ourselves. In the case of infections, leukocytes play a vital role in the body’s defence mechanism. Shocking the blood with cold water activates leukocytes. This means that keeping your body temperature down by taking a cold shower can assist you in avoiding catching a cold or flu.
A cold shower has even been linked in one study to increased resistance to cancer. An additional clinical experiment conducted in the Netherlands found that employees with cold showers had reduced rate of sick days. It has been suggested that people whose immunity will be lowered due to upcoming surgery or other medical treatment begin taking cold showers. How awesome that we can support our immune system so cheaply and naturally!
- Better cooling time post-workout
Many sports use cold water immersion as a kind of rehabilitation. Sports physical therapists have advised that the cool weather might swiftly alleviate heat exertion and minimise inflammation. Exertional hyperthermia can be treated with a cold shower, according to a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training. They found that immersion therapy was more effective than cold showers at reducing exercise-induced fevers.
- Boost your mental health
Some psychological distress may be alleviated by getting cold showers for two to three minutes, either once or twice a day, after first allowing your body to adjust to the cold for five minutes. This was one of the study findings conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Medicine.
The researchers believe that this is because the skin’s great density of cold receptors causes it to fire off many electrical impulses to the brain whenever it is exposed to cold. They noted that larger studies were needed to confirm the results but that this was still a very encouraging beginning. I know that I always feel a shift in my mood when I have a cold shower.
- Helps improve metabolism
While white fat—the kind associated with health problems like obesity and cardiovascular disease—is acquired over time, brown fat is innate to the human body. Brown fat is crucial to adult health. A healthy amount of brown fat indicates that total body fat is likewise in good shape. As for brown fat, it’s triggered by chilly temperatures.
Obese people won’t lose weight if they start taking cold showers every day and don’t make any other changes to their routine however research suggests that a cold shower twice or thrice weekly can help speed up the metabolism.
It has the potential to aid in the long-term battle against obesity. How exactly taking cold shower aid in weight loss remains unclear in the research. Nonetheless, the results demonstrate that drinking cold water can help regulate hormone levels and repair the digestive tract. These benefits may amplify the cold shower’s impact on your body’s ability to shed pounds.
- Increased alertness
As expected, your body will react with some discomfort to the sudden drop in temperature that a cold shower provides. To put it simply, this is stressful for your body. The nervous system goes into “fight or flight” mode, making you suddenly more alert and concentrated. Cold showers will also increase your window of tolerance meaning that you don’t go into fight-flight or freeze mode as often and are better able to deal with the stresses that life throws at you.
- Improves Skin and Hair
One benefit of cold showers is enhanced skin and hair appearance and health, which is good news for those who suffer from dry, dull hair and a face that never seems healthy. In addition to closing your pores, the cold temperature of the water also helps to tighten the skin.
You won’t have to worry about having greasy hair or pimples from an excess of oil because cold water doesn’t stimulate the release of fats in the body like warm water does. Skin and hair will be balanced and strong if you keep those oils on your body. Hair follicles are also stimulated by cold water, which results in thicker, longer hair. I know that I have already started to notice the difference in my hair, even in a short space of time.
- Reduces Itchiness
A cold shower can help alleviate itchy skin caused by hives, eczema, or anything else. Your nerves cannot simultaneously send conflicting messages, like when you’re itching but also cold. Taking a cold shower can help alleviate itching temporarily because the cool sensation usually overwhelms the itch.
Although it may be challenging to prepare your brain and body to accept, withstand, and even relish cold water immersion, the health benefits of a cold shower make an effort worthwhile. By utilising your body’s recuperative mechanisms, you will start to feel
healthier and happier, improve your hair’s texture and length, and notice a more radiant glow to your skin.
The best way to get used to taking cold showers is gradual. To begin, gradually turn the water temperature down like you would for a regular shower’s final few seconds. Start with 30 seconds and build up. I have also found that the first 30 seconds is the hardest. It really does feel easier after this!
Don’t forget also to control your breathing. I teach buteyko breathing and am a huge fan of gentle, controlled nasal breathing. There is no need to take big breaths or mouth breathe-in the shower or any other time. Remember long-slow-deep (from the belly) breathing (just like buteyko breathing) and before long you will be loving those cold showers and the benefits.