Yes, cold showers are actually good for you
It’s that time of year again and the media and public go crazy. Everyone wears layers and layers of clothes and suddenly everyone has a cold. I respond to this piece of information the way I always do – “take a cold shower”. The response is usually the same, sheer horror. The thought of actually getting a cold shower in the winter with a cold doesn’t make sense to most people and so they continue to seek the warmth and comfort of hot showers without listening to the actual many health and mental benefits that cold showers can and do bring. Are cold showers good for you good for you?.Yes. Not only are they good for you but they are great way to start the day but reports suggest repeated use of them can help fight depression.
Benefits of cold showers
Reducing fatigue in chronic fatigue syndrome
Shevchuk NA (2007) suggested that exposure to cold can transiently reverse several physiological changes that are often associated with CFS ( chronic fatigue syndrome) and therefore, the hypothesis is that repeated cold stress can reduce fatigue in CFS patients. He provides several cases of evidence supporting this.
Winter swimming improves general well-being.
Huttunen, P et al. (2004) published the results of his study finding that:
“In the beginning, there were no significant differences in the mood states and subjective feelings between the swimmers and the controls. The swimmers had more diseases (about 50%) diagnosed by a physician. Tension, fatigue, memory and mood negative state points in the swimmers significantly decreased with the duration of the swimming period. After four months, the swimmers felt themselves to be more energetic, active and brisk than the controls. Vigour-activity scores were significantly greater (p < 0.05). All swimmers who suffered from rheumatism, fibromyalgia, or asthma, reported that winter swimming had relieved pains” and reaching the conclusion of “Improvement of general well-being is thus a benefit induced by regular winter swimming.“
Helps with depression
A study from Nikolai A. Shevchuk suggested taking a cold shower as a method of curing depression. He suggested that:
“Depression is a debilitating mood disorder that is among the top causes of disability worldwide. It can be characterized by a set of somatic, emotional, and behavioral symptoms, one of which is a high risk of suicide. This work presents a hypothesis that depression may be caused by the convergence of two factors: (A) A lifestyle that lacks certain physiological stressors that have been experienced by primates through millions of years of evolution, such as brief changes in body temperature (e.g. cold swim), and this lack of “thermal exercise” may cause inadequate functioning of the brain. (B) Genetic makeup that predisposes an individual to be affected by the above condition more seriously than other people”.
“The possible antidepressant effect may also have to do with the mild electroshock delivered to the brain by a cold shower, because of the unusually high density of cold receptors in the skin,” he added, explaining that these nerve endings are 3-10 times higher in density than those registering warmth.
Shevchuk NA, Radoja S (2007) suggested that daily brief cold stress can increase both numbers and activity of peripheral cytotoxic T lymphocytes and natural killer cells, the major effector of adaptive and innate tumor immunity. Studies have also shown higher antioxidative protection in winter swimmers than non winter swimmers.
Shephard RJ (1985) suggested that with more sustained exposure to cold air or water, humans can apparently develop the humoral type of acclimatization described in small mammals, with an increased output of noradrenaline and/or thyroxine. This leads to the mobilization of fatty acids, which induces a substantial fat loss over a 1- to 2-week period.
The good news is that you can produce more sperm by taking cold showers. The testes are on the outside of the body so that they keep cool and studies have shown that hot baths and anything that generally heats up the testes area produces less a less sperm count.
Video of benefits taking cold showers
My own personal experience with when taking cold showers
My own personal experiences with cold showers have been of course very positive, the colder the better. I usually start on hot then flip it to cold when I’m ready and stay under there until the shock has gone and I’m adapting to the cold. The result is usually an aliveness like no other; an alertness, a glow. I also sleep like a baby when I take one at night as many other people have reported. All forms of stress have dissolved away and I feel happy. This surprisingly lasts for hours and hours. Want to know the best part? It’s a low-cost, better for the environment and rewarding. Cold showers are good for you. Man up and turn that tap to cold!
Every human being is the author of his own health or disease – Prince Gautama Siddharta
Photo credit: Seanmcgrath