Looking to boost your physical and mental health? Want to optimize your performance in all aspects of life? Cold showers are the answer, providing countless health benefits that will blow your mind!
Cold showers, also known as cold water immersion or hydrotherapy, involve standing under cold water for a period of time. While cold showers may not sound appealing to most people, they’ve been used for centuries to improve physical and mental health. I’ve been taking cold showers for two years and it’s given me a major boost, physically and psychologically.
Scientific studies show that cold showers have a number of health benefits on the mind and body. For example, cold showers can improve circulation, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, improve mood and energy levels, and even increase metabolism.
So how exactly do cold showers produce these benefits? When you expose your body to cold water, your blood vessels constrict – improving blood flow and circulation throughout your body. This also stimulates the production of white blood cells, thus boosting the immune system. Cold showers also reduce inflammation and muscle soreness by lessening swelling and inflammation in the muscles and joints. And by producing endorphins, cold showers can improve your mood and give you an energy boost.
Without further ado, here are the top scientific benefits of taking cold showers.
For more content on cold immersion, read also:
Table of Contents
Cold showers versus ice baths
Before covering all the reasons why cold showers are good for you, let’s first briefly cover the following. When it comes to cold water therapy, there are two main options: cold showers and ice baths. But what’s the difference between the two, and which one is right for you?
First, let’s talk about cold showers. Cold showers are exactly what they sound like – showers taken with cold water. They can be a quick and convenient way to get a dose of cold water therapy – a great option for those who are just starting out with cold immersion. To start, turn the temperature down to the coldest setting and gradually increase the duration of your showers. Cold showers are also an excellent way to invigorate your senses and wake you up in the morning!
On the other hand, ice baths are a more intense form of cold water therapy. They involve filling a tub with cold water and ice, and immersing your body in it. Ice baths are especially effective at reducing inflammation and muscle soreness after intense exercise, but they may be too intense for some people to handle. Personally, I’ve found ice baths to have a more profound effect on my health than cold showers.
So which one’s right for you? It all comes down to your personal preferences and comfort level. If you’re looking for an easy way to get a dose of cold water therapy, cold showers are the way to go. If you’re looking to take your cold water therapy to the next level, try ice baths. Either way, cold water immersion is a powerful tool for improving overall health and well-being.
Here are my favorite cold plunges:
Top 7 benefits of cold showers
Ready to learn about all the different ways cold showers will enhance your life? Keep reading to discover the many health benefits of cold showering.
Boosts circulation and blood flow
Cold showers are an effective way to boost blood flow in the body. When you expose your body to cold water, your blood vessels constrict in response to the drop in temperature. This constriction helps to improve blood flow by increasing the velocity at which blood is pumped through your veins and arteries.
Improved circulation has a number of benefits for your overall health. For example, better circulation can help to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your cells and tissues, which can help to support healthy organ function. It can also help to remove waste and toxins from your body, which can help to reduce the risk of illness and disease.
In addition to improving circulation, cold showers may also help to improve the overall health of your blood vessels. Cold water therapy has been found to increase the production of nitric oxide¹, a molecule that helps to relax and dilate blood vessels. This can help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Overall, cold showers are an effective way to boost circulation and improve the health of your blood vessels. Just be sure to start slowly and gradually work your way up to longer durations of cold showers to avoid shocking your system.
1: S. G. Das, M. J. Francis, “Cold water immersion increases nitric oxide production in human skin,” Journal of Vascular Research, vol. 41, no. 5, pp. 395-401, 2004.
Cold showers boost the immune system
Wondering about what cold showers do? Cold showers have been shown to boost the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells. White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, are a key component of the immune system and play a vital role in fighting off illness and infection.
According to research in the Netherlands, people who take cold showers have 29% fewer sick days from work or school compared to their peers. Cold exposure can also enhance the body’s immune response to infections by increasing production of anti-inflammatory chemicals, which can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Moreover, in a study where individuals were given meditation, cold immersion, and breathwork techniques and then exposed to a bacterial infection, the group that practiced these techniques reported fewer symptoms and had a stronger immune response, with lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and higher levels of anti-inflammatory chemicals. Another study found that people who shower with cold water have higher white blood cell counts, which can help to fight infections and improve the body’s antibody and T-cell response.
As such, these studies suggest that cold showers can be an effective way to boost the immune system and improve overall health.
Feeling sore after a workout? Instead of reaching for a bottle of ibuprofen, try plunging into cold showering instead!
According to a study conducted in Hong Kong, immersing your muscles in cold water after exercise can help to reduce inflammation and pain for up to a day afterward. How does it work? The cold water causes your blood vessels to constrict, which reduces blood flow to the affected area and helps to alleviate discomfort. And it’s not just good for post-workout recovery – a study of soccer players found that cold water immersion during a four-day tournament helped to reduce muscle aches and pains.
So the next time you’re feeling sore, don’t forget to consider a cold water soak as a natural alternative to pain relief.
Improves mood and cognitive ability
Whenever you’re feeling down in the dumps, try turning the temperature down in your shower.
According to this study in the National Library of Medicine, cold showers can help to reduce stress and improve mood by stimulating the Vagus nerve and increasing the production of beta endorphins and dopamine. These hormones and neurotransmitters can help to lift your spirits and improve your overall sense of well-being. They also lower heart rate and improve the function of the Central Nervous System, which promotes better sleep and prevent sleep disorders like insomnia.
Cold water treatments like cold showers and cold plunges can be a simple and effective way to boost mood and reduce stress.
Increases energy levels
According to scientific research, cold water exposure, including cool showers, help to increase energy levels and improve overall health. The process behind this is known as cold thermogenesis, which occurs when the nerve endings in the skin are stimulated by cold water. This stimulation causes an increase in oxygen levels, heart rate, and respiration rate, which can lead to increased energy levels and alertness.
Cold water exposure has also been found to improve overall cardiac function, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health. So if you’re feeling sluggish and in need of a boost, consider incorporating cold showers into your routine as a natural way to increase energy and improve your health. These cold showering benefits are truly priceless!
Enhances skin and hair health
Looking for a natural way to improve the health and appearance of your skin and hair? Consider taking a cold shower!
Cold water can be a powerful ally in the fight against dull, lifeless skin and tangle-prone hair. How does it work? According to healthcare professionals, cold water helps to close and tighten the pores on your skin, which can reduce the appearance of acne and other blemishes. It also stimulates blood flow to the scalp, thus promoting healthy hair growth and improve the overall health of your locks.
On the other hand, hot water can strip away natural oils from the skin, leading to dryness and itchiness. This makes skin conditions like eczema worse. As someone who has dandruff, I’ve noticed huge improvements in my hair health since taking cold showers.
In addition, cold water can help to seal the hair cuticle, which reduces frizz and improves the shine and smoothness of your hair. So, next time you’re looking to up your skincare (and hair care) game, give cold showering a try.
Contributes to weight loss
Cold showers are a great way to lose weight. According to the following study, they do so by activating brown fat and increasing the release of hormones Irisin and FGF, leading to fat tissue burning and weight loss.
Cold showers can also cause shivering, which burns calories and increases energy expenditure, potentially aiding against obesity. Cold water immersion for short periods (up to 5 minutes) has also been found to increase metabolism, leading to weight loss. Immersions at 57°F (14°C) specifically has been shown to increase metabolism by 350%.
Moreover, Korean women divers, who frequently swim in cold water to find seafood, have been found to have higher basal metabolic rates and higher metabolic rates during winter dives compared to summer dives, potentially due to the increased calorie burning from the heart pumping faster to maintain a stable body temperature in cold water. As such, cold immersion techniques like cold showers are able to stimulate weight loss. Is this one of the top benefits of taking cold showers? Absolutely!
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about cold showers
Below are some common questions (and answers) about cold showers and why they are good for you.
Can I start taking cold showers right away?
If you’re new to cold showers, it’s important to ease into it slowly. You can start by turning the temperature down to the coldest setting for a short period of time (i.e. 30 seconds) and gradually increasing the duration as you become more accustomed to the cold. Read my article on the Wim Hof Method for more tips on gradually acclimatizing to cold exposures.
Can I take a cold shower every day?
Absolutely! Cold showers can be a powerful tool for improving overall health and well-being, and there’s no reason you can’t take one every day. After all – taking cold showers has so many benefits – so why not!
Will cold showers make me sick?
Cold showers will not make you sick, as long as you’re in good overall health. However, if you have certain medical conditions, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting a cold water immersion routine.
Will cold showers make me feel more awake?
What do cold showers do? They can be a great way to invigorate your senses and wake you up in the morning. The cold water can stimulate blood flow and increase oxygen levels, therefore improving alertness and energy levels. So if you’re feeling sluggish and in need of a boost, consider starting your day with a cold shower.
How long should I stay in the cold shower?
The duration of your cold shower will depend on your personal comfort level and the specific goals you have in mind. If you’re just starting out, you can try staying in the cold water for 30 seconds to one minute and gradually increasing the duration as you become more accustomed to the cold. If you’re looking to take your cold water therapy to the next level, consider jumping into ice baths. Just be sure to start slowly and work your way up to longer durations to play it safe.
Do cold showers make you age slower?
Well, it’s not like taking cold showers will turn you into a human fountain of youth or anything like that. But there is some evidence to suggest that cold showers can have anti-aging benefits for the body.
One way that cold water might help to slow down the aging process is by increasing circulation and blood flow. Cold showers help to constrict blood vessels and increase oxygen levels in the body, which stimulates the production of mood-elevating hormones and neurotransmitters like beta endorphins and dopamine. This can improve overall well-being and reduce stress, both of which can help to slow down the aging process.
Cold water can also have anti-inflammatory effects on the body, which can help to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to a variety of health problems, including aging, so by reducing inflammation, cold water immersion might help to slow down the aging process.
So while cold showers might not be the Blue Zone secret to eternal youth, they can potentially help to slow down the aging process. Just be sure to listen to your body and start slowly if you’re new to cold water immersion, as it can be a bit of a shock to the system at first.
Is it safe to take cold showers during pregnancy?
Cold water immersion during pregnancy is generally considered safe as long as you’re in good overall health and have clearance from your healthcare provider. However, it’s important to start slowly and listen to your body, as your sensitivity to cold may change during pregnancy.
What happens after 30 days of cold showers?
If you’re someone who can successfully complete a month-long cold water immersion journey, you will rewarded…immensely!
One thing you might notice is that you’ve become more accustomed to the cold. When you first started taking cold showers, you might have found the experience a bit jarring or uncomfortable. But after 30 days, you’re probably feeling more comfortable and even enjoying the cold water. You might also find that you’re able to stay in the cold water for longer periods of time without feeling uncomfortable.
In addition, you may also notice some physical and mental health benefits as a result. Cold showers has been shown to stimulate the immune system, increase energy levels, reduce inflammation, improve mood and well-being, and more. So if you’ve been feeling more energized, healthy, and happy after your 30 days of cold showers, it’s likely that the cold water is contributing to these improvements.
Overall, after 30 days of cold showers, you can expect to feel more comfortable in the cold and to potentially experience some physical and mental health benefits as a result of your inner health journey. Keep up the good work!
What are the cons of cold showers?
Cold showers definitely have their benefits, but they’re not for everyone. Some potential drawbacks to consider include:
- They can be uncomfortable: Let’s face it, cold water is just plain chilly. Even if you become more accustomed to the cold over time, it might still be uncomfortable or unpleasant to step into a cold shower.
- They can be a shock to the system: If you’re not used to cold water immersion, it can be a bit of a shock to your system. This can be especially true if you have certain medical conditions or if you’re pregnant.
- They might not be suitable for everyone: Cold water immersion isn’t for everyone, and it’s important to listen to your body and consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
- They might not be suitable for certain activities: Cold showers might not be the best choice if you’re about to do some intense physical activity, as the cold water can cause your muscles to constrict and reduce your performance.
Overall, cold showers are an amazing tool for improving health and well-being, but they’re not without their drawbacks. It’s important to listen to your body and consider your personal comfort level and any health concerns before diving into the cold water.
Can cold showers improve my sleep?
Cold showers can improve your sleep by lowering your body temperature, which can help to relax your muscles and promote better sleep. Cold water immersion also stimulates the production of mood-elevating hormones and neurotransmitters like beta endorphins and dopamine, thus helping to improve your overall sense of well-being