The Health Benefits of Cold Showers

The challenge:  1 Week of Cold Showers.

Yep, you read that correctly.  Those of you who know me, know that I guzzle hot water year round, have been caught relaxing with a warm teakettle in my lap, and consider the inventor of the seat warmer to be my own personal god.  So, when cold showers, as part of a wellness routine, were brought to my attention, I recoiled with horror.  I would give up my car before forgoing hot showers.  The subject piqued my curiosity, however, and I started to do a little digging.

Cold showers tout an impressive list of benefits, including:

  • Enhanced Immune Function – Cold water therapy has been shown to increase levels of both white blood cells and cytokines in the body; 2 key players for fighting disease, infection, and inflammation.
  • Improved Mood – Your skin has far more cold receptors than it does heat receptors.  So when doused with cold water, your brain receives a surge of impulses so strong, that many scientists liken it to old-school electroshock therapy.  This, in turn, triggers a release of mood-lifting endorphins, including noradrenaline, a neurotransmitter considered crucial for battling depression.  Aside from boosting your mood and energy, cold showers are said to clear the aura, revitalize one’s chakras, and were used by samurai warriors to cleanse the spirit.
  • Rejuvenated Skin – Unlike hot water, cold water preserves your body’s natural oils, preventing dryness, protecting your skin, and helping your body regulate oil production.  Cool water also closes and tightens your pores, constricts capillaries to reduce under-eye bags, and reduces inflammation.  Finally, a free anti-aging technique!
  • Benefits Hair – Cold water seals your hair’s cuticles, making it stronger and shinier.
  • Increased Fertility in Men – We know that keeping the testes cool is crucial for fertility – that’s why testicles are located outside of the body.    Not surprisingly, research shows that switching from hot showers to cool dramatically increases sperm count and mobility.  Cold showers are also said to increase testosterone production in men.
  • Better Circulation – By increasing blood flow throughout the body, cold showers boost oxygenation of vital organs, work to strengthen the vascular system, and encourage detoxification.

The list of reasons continues, and the more I read, the more I just HAD to try it.

I encountered varying techniques, ranging from 45 minute ICE baths to induce violent shivering, to gently turning down the hot water throughout your shower, so as to end on cold.  I went with the latter.

I’ve been playing with it for a while, and this morning I spent over 3 minutes in cold water!

Goose bumps?  Definitely.  Did I burst out of the shower with renewed, if not desperate, energy?  Oh my god yes.  Spirit cleansed?  Eh.

So I’ve given myself a little challenge:  To spend a minimum of 3 minutes/day in cold water for 1 week.  Feel free to jump on the bandwagon.  There are cautions and restrictions, so do a bit of research before taking the plunge.

Look for my update in a week, and send me lots of WARM thoughts!

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