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Braving icy water is becoming a regular way to supercharge your health – but what are the benefits of cold water showers? We reveal all in this article!
Cold water immersion has really risen in popularity thanks to famous faces, particularly Wim ‘The Iceman’ Hof. However, is all the hype justified? From the awakening effects to a potential immunity booster, let’s take a closer look at the potential benefits to both body and mind.
Now, brace yourself…
The Benefits of Cold-Water Showers
Let’s immediately immerse ourselves into the benefits of cold water showering. Cold water showers are understood to:
Wake You Up
Can you stomach an icy shower first thing in the morning? There are benefits if you do because, as pleasant as warm showers may feel, it’s a cold shower that’s guaranteed to get you moving.
When cold water hits your skin, your circulation, heart rate and oxygen intake will all increase, waking up the entire body. So, if you struggle to motivate yourself in the morning, then try it – it’s very difficult to emerge from a cold shower still feeling sleepy!
Potentially Increase Immunity
The jury is still out on this one as research on cold showers and immunity is limited. However, it is understood that cold water immersion increases the amount of infection-fighting white blood cells within the body.
One Dutch study from 2016 showed that people that took a warm shower followed by a cold shower daily (cold immersion of up to 90 seconds) for a full month had fewer sick days from work (by 29%) than those who only took the warm shower.
Reduce Muscle Soreness
There is a lot of debate surrounding the benefits of hot vs. cold when it comes to muscle soreness. However, jumping into a cold shower soon after a tough exercise session may be the ticket to reduced muscle soreness.
This is because the cold water constricts the blood vessels on the skin, which both helps the body flush away lactic acid and reduce the inflammation that causes soreness. It’s like placing ice on an injury.
If you need extra help at reducing soreness, then try rubbing some of our award-winning WholyMe Relief Balm into your muscles after your shower. This bestselling balm blends together 12 evidence-based natural botanicals, with powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients such as organic arnica, rosemary, juniper, and frankincense oils.
Build Mental Resilience
It doesn’t matter how physically strong you are, cold showers really are a test of your mettle! Immersing yourself into cold water requires a high degree of mental resilience and will help you build mental strength and willpower.
By giving yourself a small dose of stress in the form of a cold shower, your nervous system becomes more hardened to discomfort, enabling you to cope better with the bigger stresses life throws your way.
Preserve Skin and Hair Health
Want to enjoy glowing skin? The good news is that cold showers can be a wonderful boost to the health of your skin and hair.
Firstly, research states that cold water therapy stimulates the flow of nutrient-rich blood in the skin. When more nutrients and oxygen are present in the skin, it’s naturally going to be much healthier. As an added bonus, cold showers do not strip the skin of vital moisture in the way that hot showers do.
Finally, this is a small but significant benefit – cold showers cost less than hot showers! Cold showers do not demand the use of gas or electricity, so you will be saving money on your energy bills by taking your showers ice cold.
Meanwhile, because cold showers tend to be considerably shorter, you will not use as much water, which is better for the environment. Win-win.
How to Take Cold Water Showers
Start slowly. If you are used to enjoying a long warm shower, a cold shower will take some time to ease into. In reality, it may take a few days until you are comfortable completely immersing yourself in cold water.
Begin your cold water journey in a warm shower, then lower the temperature to a point at which you begin to feel uncomfortable. The next time you have a shower, lower the temperature further and try to last a little longer. Keep repeating this pattern until you are showering in cold water as if it’s second nature.
A Final Word of Caution
Remember that cold showers are very stressful to your body – ultimately, there’s a reason we want to get out of the shower quickly.
So, follow the advice above and take it slowly. Always use caution and don’t try cold showers when you are feeling ill. And remember to breathe!