Today we want to tell you in particular about 10 of the benefits, to say the least surprising, that a simple cold shower can bring to our health.
Until a few decades ago, showering with cold water was the rule, because hot water was a luxury to which only a small part of the population had access.
However, over the years, the situation has changed and almost everyone has the opportunity to take a nice hot shower.
For this reason, we have lost the good habit of taking a shower with cold water, which does not allow us to take advantage of some important benefits.
Many of you may not know this, but cold water triggers some reactions in the body that bring both aesthetic and health benefits.
What are the benefits of a cold shower?
1. Strengthens the immune system
A cold shower could be a great way to prevent colds, flu and infections. In fact, an experiment done a few years ago in Prague on some young athletic men has studied the effect that cold water diving has on the latter.
The young men immersed themselves in water at 14°C three times a week for six weeks and, among other changes, there was a significant increase in two particular types of white blood cells: lymphocytes and monocytes.
(*Lymphocytes are useful to eliminate bacteria, viruses and toxins while monocytes instead “feed” on foreign materials and pathogens that attack our immune system)
Researchers believe that the increase in metabolic rate that results from the body’s attempt to warm up, activates the immune system and responds by releasing more white blood cells.
It is therefore quite reasonable to think that people who regularly take cold showers are less likely than others to take colds, flu and even to develop some forms of cancer.
2. Improves blood circulation
It is vital to have good circulation in order to safeguard health and the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system.
When exposed to cold water, our veins and arteries shrink. This process is called “vasoconstriction”. The temporary tightening, since now the circulation space is reduced, forces the blood to flow at a higher pressure than normal and this ultimately results in an improvement in circulation.
When we are exposed to heat the opposite effect happens, the veins dilate. This process is called “vasodilatation”.
When exposed to cold temperatures, the body tends to increase the speed of blood circulation to keep our vital organs warm.
Why is it important to enjoy good circulation? Well… to prevent problems such as hypertension, hardening of the arteries, and varicose veins.
However, I would like to point out that if you suffer from high blood pressure, or any arterial disease, this type of shower is most likely not for you.
3. Regulates the temperature and regenerates the body
Cold showers trigger a delicate form of stress that increases the internal production of body heat (thermogenesis), which in turn activates various adaptive body repair systems.
If your hands and feet are always cold, or if you sweat too much, try taking a cold shower. It might come in handy.
4. Promotes weight loss and speeds up metabolism
Brown fat, unlike white fat, is very useful because it helps burn calories and regulates the body’s energy balance. Exposure to the cold stimulates the natural production of this type of fat. These cells, trying to heat the body as much as possible, burn glucose.
Having a greater amount of brown fat leads us to burn every second more energy promoting weight loss.
By increasing the levels of brown fat, blood pressure and body temperature, we also speed up the chemical reactions in our body and thus increase metabolism, which many people want to do.
Why do they want it? Because thanks to a fast metabolism all the processes of our body are more efficient, the weight drops and the growth and repair of the muscles also accelerates.
5. Relieves depression
Depression is another thing cold showers can help prevent. Research at the Department of Oncological Radiotherapy at Virginia Commonwealth University indicates that cold water has a stimulating effect on the “blue dot” of the brain, the main source of noradrenaline for our bodies. Noradrenaline is thought to be very useful to help alleviate depression.
6. Improves lymphatic movement
The lymphatic system is a system of tubes separated from our blood vessels, which are responsible for much of our immune system by fighting disease and expelling foreign materials from our cells.
Unlike blood vessels, the lymphatic system has no blood but lymph, a lymph that carries waste products and white blood cells that manage infections.
Another thing that diversifies the lymphatic system from the blood vessels is the absence of a heart that pumps the lymph as happens with blood.
The movement of the lymphatic system relies on the contraction of the muscles. The cold showers stimulate the contraction of the whole body giving a nice boost to our lymphatic system.
7. Improves breathing
One of the first things you notice when taking cold showers is that your breathing improves considerably. This happens because, in an attempt to alleviate the stress caused by the “shock” that is received when the water comes into contact with our skin. To keep warm, our body opens its lungs and requires more oxygen.
By increasing the consumption of oxygen in our body we also enjoy other “side benefits” such as, for example, allows us not to tire easily during the day and not only, in some cases hydrotherapy has also been used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
8. Maintains healthy skin and hair
Cold water can make our hair shiny and our skin healthier by tightening cuticles and pores – preventing them from clogging – thus reducing imperfections (such as acne).
Cold water also contributes to detoxification, helping to squeeze toxins and waste skin products.
This detoxification makes the skin cleaner and younger. Moreover, by closing the cuticles, as I said before, the cold shower strengthens the hair and prevents it from falling.
9. Increases energy and wellness levels
The ancient samurai warriors used to pour buckets of cold river water into their heads every morning, this practice was called Misoghi.
It was a ritual of spiritual purification and they thought that this practice helped to make the day they were about to spend better.
Returning to the present day, however, the cold shower can certainly excite and invigorate our bodies. The heart begins to pump, the fast flow of blood helps us to shake off sleep and also, many people who practice it regularly are willing to swear that this type of shower greatly reduces stress.
10. Increases the production of hormones
Cold showers have the interesting ability to increase production and hormonal activity by pushing the glands of our body. For example, cold showers can be of great benefit to the male reproductive system when trying to conceive a child.
It can be easily understood from their position (outside the body) that the man’s testicles are not made to stay too hot.
When the temperature rises too much, the spermatozoa decrease and in fact, an experiment has already shown in 1950 that hot baths can be a fairly effective contraceptive. The men involved in the study, who had a hot bath for about 30 minutes every other day for three weeks, were sterile for the next 6 months.
11. Helps to balance Sleep
Although hot showers are the preferred way to reconcile sleep, cold showers can also be a good therapy in this regard.
This is due to the fact that they generate a strong feeling of well-being that allows you to relax your body to get it to sleep well.
12. It's better than meditation
Probably when you’re freezing in the shower – and the next few minutes – you won’t feel comfortable at all. In fact, you will be as stiff as a stockfish. But after a while you will be able to glimpse the beneficial effects of the cold shower: you will feel more lucid mentally and with great inner calm. Better than meditation. The reason? The oxygen in your body will be activated and you will be able to react to life more calmly. On the other hand, a study carried out by her swimmers in ice water claims that the cold allows “an adaptive response to repeated oxidative stress and we postulate it as a new basic molecular mechanism of greater tolerance to environmental stress”.
13. Accelerates recovery from muscle soreness
We have all seen athletes take ice baths after training to reduce muscle pain, but a quick cold shower after a drop of sweat in the gym can be just as effective, especially to relieve delayed onset muscle pain.
A 2009 study analyzing 17 clinical studies involved over 360 people who either rested or immersed themselves in cold water after endurance training, cycling, or running.
It was found that 24 minutes cold water baths are effective for relieving muscle aches one to four days after exercises with a water temperature of 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. However, some studies have involved colder temperatures.
How do I get started with a cold shower and reap the benefits?
I recommend a gradual transition because a drastic change in temperature could cause particularly high stress to the body of some people.
Take a step outside your (warm) comfort zone and, little by little, by listening and respecting your body’s response, make your shower water cooler and cooler, at least for a few seconds.
Try it out and see what benefits occur. Perhaps the source of eternal youth is hidden behind the simple cold water of your shower.)
The benefit is in the habit
Although a cold shower has immediate benefits, wakes you up and charges you with energy, the greatest benefits are seen in the long run; after a few weeks. Studies confirm that getting used to it is the most beneficial.
Getting used to the cold takes about 10 days in humans and the main change is a hypothermic response. With constant exposure to cold air or water, humans can acclimatize and increase noradrenaline and thyroxine which are considered the “good stress” hormones. It will also lead to the mobilization of fatty acids and the loss of fat in 1 to 2 weeks.
Should you take a cold shower in the morning or at night?
Everyone has their own way and nothing is better or worse. Some bathe during the day and others at night, as they prefer to do so before bedtime and go to bed clean and relaxed. We tell you the advantages and disadvantages.
Benefits of taking shower in the morning
- If you’re one of those people who have trouble waking up in the morning, a morning shower can be a great option, because you’ll feel more awake and your metabolism will be activated.
- It’s good if you have oily skin, as during the night there is a greater chance that the sebaceous glands will produce excessive sebum. The bath will help to clean the pores.
- If you are creative or have a job that requires putting your neurons into action, keep in mind that taking a morning shower is almost like meditating. The hot shower allows you to enter a state of mental relaxation, while being alert: it is the ideal state for new ideas to emerge in your head.
- If you cut yourself when shaving, the morning shower is for you, as the platelets that stop bleeding are more active in the morning than in the afternoon or evening.
Benefits of taking shower at night
It is convenient to shower at night when you feel identified with one or more of the following points:
- You have trouble sleeping: if you suffer from insomnia or have trouble falling asleep, a night shower is ideal. Bathing tends to be a natural sleep inducer.
- If you have dry skin it is better to shower at night.
- It is ideal if you want to have impeccable sheets, the night is your ideal time to bathe.
Low-temperature showers don’t have to be very long. 5 minutes is enough.
People with heart disorders should take special precautions. They can use warmer water or always use it much more gradually, depending on how their body reacts.