When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you’re likely to do is to grab a towel and take a nice warm shower. But here’s something you may not have considered…
How about instead of your usual hot shower, you turn the faucet to the cold setting and enjoy a nice cool shower instead?
In all honesty, it doesn’t sound as welcoming as a warm shower. However, there are some stellar health benefits.
Much research has been done to prove just how beneficial the effects of exposing the body to cold water can be. In this post we look at the benefits of taking cold showers and why adding them to your daily routine is a great idea!
History of Cold Showers
Throughout history, cultures around the world have been advocates for exposing the body to cold water. While some used cold water to promote good health, others practiced it for spiritual purposes.
Here are some cultures that have embraced cold water practices:
Since ancient times, Shinto followers have taken part in an ice bathing ritual known as misogi. This is a form of meditation and is also used to initiate and train young priests.
During the ritual, people stand under a waterfall during the freezing winter season while reciting prayers. This ancient Japanese martial arts ritual is believed to help prepare the mind and develop one’s spiritual center.
Banya, the ancient practice of steam bathing, is originally a part of Russian Eastern Slavic culture.
Banya which translates to ‘public bath house’ involves people subjecting themselves to extreme temperatures of heat in an enclosed room (usually a sauna) followed by a cooling off by submerging themselves in ice-cold water.
What started as a bonding experience for all participants has became a practice with endless health benefits both mentally and physically.
The Native Americans are well-practiced in exposing the body to cold waters – especially the Eskimos and Cherokees.
They were known to sit in sweat lodges as part of a purification ritual and then run out and plunge into a cold river.
The Finnish are known for warming their bodies up in a hot sauna and then cooling it off by diving into a bath or river of ice-cold water.
Benefits of Cold Showers
The fact that so many cultures have practiced or are still practicing some form of cold water exposure shows that there’s benefit to the the practice.
These benefits have been validated by numerous scientific studies. Here’s what the research found:
1. Increases positive mental state
A study showed that cold showers increase the body’s production of beta-endorphin and noradrenaline.
Beta-endorphin is a chemical that the body produces naturally and is known for its euphoric and pain-relieving effect when released in the body.
Noradrenaline serves as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and when released in the body, increases alertness and reaction time.
2. Raises alertness and focus
Imagine you’re fast asleep when all of a sudden a bucket of ice-cold water gets dumped on you.
What makes you jump up from sleep isn’t the water or even the shock of it. You shot up from sleep because of the temperature of the water!
Similarly and less startlingly, taking a cold shower can also boost your alertness and focus. It acts as a form of electroshock therapy, activating the body’s nervous system.
Not only that, it also increases blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to the brain which further enhances your focus.
3. Builds mental fortitude
If you’re a lover of military movies, then you’ve probably watched scenes of training sessions where soldiers are subjected to prolonged periods in cold water. As uncomfortable as it looks, this helps them build mental fortitude.
Similarly, aikido martial arts practitioners stand under cold waterfalls to fortify their minds and increase their mental strength.
Regularly showering with cold water can help you have a can-do attitude and even develop a mind over matter mental strength.
4. Boost circulation and detoxification
Cold baths and showers can also boost circulation. They do this by bringing down the body’s temperature. The body is then forced to counteract by boosting circulation to regulate temperature.
Some of the benefits of increased circulation include:
- Increase in alertness
- Removal of toxins
- Faster recovery through increased delivery of oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood
- Reduces inflammation
5. Strengthens the immune system
The body is constantly being exposed to elements that can be detrimental to health and well-being. Fortunately, the body builds a form of immunity with the help of leukocytes.
Cold showers stimulate the release of leukocytes (the body’s natural defense). Leukocytes then fight infection in the body.
6. Aids in weight loss
Many people don’t know this, but you could lose weight from cold showers.
Brown fat, which is also known as brown adipose tissue, is a special body fat that is activated when you get cold.
NASA astronaut scientists further stated that brown fat contributes to a person’s health in the sense that healthy levels of brown fat equate to healthy levels of white fat.
When you expose your body to cold, you’re activating the body’s brown fat and this helps you in keeping your white fat in check.
Taking cold showers can also boost the body’s metabolism. And even though ultimately you need a good diet and exercise to lose weight, adding cold showers to your routine can speed up your results.
7. Reduces breakdown of skins protective layer
Hot showers strip the skin of its natural oils that serve as a barrier from environmental pollutants. This can make you susceptible to dry and itchy skin.
Replacing your warm showers with cold ones can help to prevent this from happening.
How to Take Cold Showers
Here’s how to take a cold shower in order to get the most out of its benefits. You can do this in five simple steps:
- Start slowly by gradually reducing the water temperature in your shower until it starts to become uncomfortable.
- When you’ve gotten to the point of experiencing discomfort, let your body stand underneath the cold water for a good 3 to 4 minutes.
- Push yourself further by reducing the temperature if you feel inclined and again let your body become accustomed.
- Practice breathing deeply and calmly during your shower. Focus your mind on your body, forcing it to remain calm. If you need further motivation, imagine the benefits you want out of this cold shower ritual.
- Most importantly, practice often and enjoy yourself!
It’s safe to say that for most people if they had to choose between a nice warm shower and a cold one, they’ll take the warm one!
But there’s something to be said for getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Especially when that something is associated with so many benefits.
You don’t have to completely do away with your warm showers, but regularly taking cold showers can be of great benefit to your mind and body.
Here at JESSE JIMZ, we’re all about empowering men look and feel their best. Check out our complete skincare and grooming collection to help you complete your cold shower ritual and meet the day with confidence.