Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers
A cold shower is often an annoyance in western societies, rather than an unavoidable necessity. Now, however, many are voluntarily turning their taps as cold as they can in the name of “wellness.” There are a few popular trends out there with no-scientific backing, but cold-water immersion isn’t one of them. Cold showers are proven to have a wealth of evidence-backed benefits.
Nutrition, movement, and quality sleep are the pillars of health. How does the discomfort of an ice-cold shower fit into that?
We are constantly bombarded with messages to take a pill, buy a gadget, or see a specialist to feel better but conventional methods are not working. So, researchers are now looking at natural health methods for chronic diseases. One of the natural health methods being studied is cold-water immersion. In a clinical trial where participants had two to three cold showers for five minutes each session, there was an increase in endorphin levels.
In America, depression affects at least 10% of the population (reported, but there are likely many more). It’s clear that antidepressants aren’t working for everyone; we need to make it clear to more people that these natural remedies will help.
Are you feeling sluggish of a morning? It’s no surprise that a cold shower will wake you up quickly. Your stress hormone, cortisol, should start kicking in as the sun rises and wake you up. If you’re a slow-starter, get your hormones working for you faster. A cold shower will increase your alertness, blood pressure, and respiratory rate. It’ll also increase immune cell production and boost your energy. Exposure to cold water increases glutathione and improves levels of uric acid. When these two are combined, they can relieve stress, which makes you more relaxed.
In a study of over 3,000 people, cold showers of 30-90 seconds resulted in a 29% reduction in sick days. Athletes have been utilizing the benefits of cold exposure for years. Ice baths reduce pain and recovery time for active people. Studies have shown that just five minutes in a cold shower a few times per week will reduce depression, increase focus, and increase your immunity. And it doesn’t take any more time in your busy schedule to get started.
Most of the research undertaken proves that all you need is a few five-minute cold showers per week to reap these benefits. Five minutes is a long time in the cold shower if you’re new to this. Here’s the best way to get started for beginners.
Ease into it. Jumping straight into a cold shower is a shock to your system. Start with a warm temperature, then slowly get colder.
Don’t put your head under the water for too long. If you’ve sipped on your green smoothie too quickly, you will have experienced “brain freeze.” Cold showers can be a shock to your brain also. Duck your head under the water occasionally at a rate that is achievable for you.
And, do not forget to breathe. Most people hold their breath when engaging in a challenging activity. Conscious breathing will give you more oxygen, which your cells need to function. When you breathe into it, you’ll energize your body, and the cold will become easier to manage.
The surprising benefits of cold showers are undeniable. We are almost always in our “comfort zones,” which is not always contributing to a healthier and happier community.
Enjoy the undeniable benefits of cold-water immersion by stepping into the short-term discomfort of a cold shower today.
Excerpts from NaturalHealth365, Lori Clarkson, July 31, 2020.