For thousands of years, people have been taking cold showers to experience the many health benefits. But are these supposed benefits worth the discomfort and the goosebumps? Science says yes! This practice is known as water therapy or hydrotherapy, and has been used for centuries for a reason. By taking cold showers, we are able to take advantage of our body’s tendency to adapt to harsher conditions. As a result, our bodies can become more resistant to stress.
Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof is living proof of this method. He has “climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, ran a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, and stood in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes.” He uses the cold as an opportunity to improve his physical health. A 2018 study showed that “the method activated regions in the brain responsible for pain suppression, which could lead to a potential role for the Wim Hof Method as an endogenous painkiller.”
Can cold showers improve your health?
Dr. Ian Smith shares some interesting facts about showering in the cold. He explains that water therapy has been used for centuries to take advantage of our body’s tendency to adapt to harsher conditions. Some experts believe that a cold shower can help our bodies become more resistant to stress, and in some cases might actually offset depression, improve metabolism and circulation! This is possible because the cold water increases endorphins and provides a sort of gentle electroshock therapy to your body’s system!
What are the benefits of cold showers?
- Reduces muscle soreness
- Increases circulation
- Increases endorphins
- Improves metabolism
- Reduces stress levels
- Higher levels of alertness
- Strengthens immune response
- Increases willpower
It may take some time to get used to stepping into freezing cold water, but if you start small and work your way up, it will become a habit in no time! You can start by taking your normal shower at your preferred temperature and lowering it for one or two minutes at the end. Slowly decrease the temperature over time until you feel more comfortable. Once you get the hang of it, this can be used as a treatment to invigorate and enhance your overall well-being, and is definitely worth incorporating into a regular shower routine!
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