Cold water therapy can boost immune function, decrease inflammation and pain, and increase blood flow. You’ll find athletes today taking ice baths to speed their recovery from injuries and intense workouts.
10 minutes seems to be the rough amount of time before a cold shower actually begins to become stressful on your body, so there’s no need to stay in a cold shower for more than a few minutes.
Cold showers increase blood circulation which helps flush out toxins everywhere in the body and is especially beneficial for the muscles and surface of the skin.
Alternating between hot and cold water while you shower is an easy way to improve your circulation. (This is called a contrast bath and also has many benefits.) Cold water causes your blood to move to your organs to keep them warm. Warm water reverses the effect by causing the blood to move towards the surface of the skin. Cold shower proponents argue that stimulating the circulatory system in this way keeps them healthier and younger looking than their hot water-loving counterparts.
Cold showers have also been scientifically proven as an effective treatment for depression. Best of all it does not have side effects or cause dependence. It’s truly a marvelous natural non-addictive anti-depressant!
Exposure to cold is known to activate the sympathetic nervous system and increase the blood level of betaendorphin and noradrenaline. It also increases synaptic release of noradrenaline in the brain as well.
Furthermore, due to the high density of cold receptors in the skin, a cold shower is expected to send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect making cold showers a great mood booster that will balance the autonomic nervous system helping you feel relaxed and peaceful, yet still alert and physically invigorated when you get out of the shower. And contrary to drugs that affect brain chemicals, cold showers do not have side effects or addictive potential.
Exposure to cold could also increase your overall metabolic rate as your body may need to burn calories in order to produce warmth. It’s also possible that the sudden exposure to cold can raise your blood glucose very quickly, thereby having an appetite suppressing effect.
Although it seems counter intuitive, in the winter, cold showers are the best thing to keep you warm for the rest of the day. Cold showers provide a gentle form of stress that leads to thermogenesis (internal generation of body heat).
About a minute after flipping the water dial to full cold and being shocked awake, you’ll find the cold water starts to become more tolerable, and after 2 or 3 minutes you’ll feel your body getting warm by its own efforts. This is thermogenesis and it turns on the body’s adaptive repair systems to strengthen immunity, enhance pain and stress tolerance, ward off depression, overcome chronic fatigue syndrome, and stimulate anti-tumor responses.
So endure the cold water until it starts to feel warm and be sure to exit the shower and enter a warm room where you can quickly towel off.
Increasing testosterone levels with 10 minute cold showers upon waking and before bed will not only boost a man’s libido, but also his overall strength and energy level.
Real benefit is in the habit
A cold shower has plenty of immediate benefits and provides a definite wake-up jolt, but the greatest benefits in long term health are only seen after several weeks of cold showering. Studies confirm that habituation itself is what is most beneficial
Situations to Avoid Cold Showers
Like anything, there is a proper time and place for cold showers, and also a time to avoid them. If showering immediately after a vigorous workout you may want to start hot and finish cold to avoid muscle cramping. Icy showers should probably not be done at all by menstruating or pregnant women as their body is already under a lot of stress at this time.
For most people though, making a daily habit of cold showering has many amazing proven benefits and will undoubtedly boost your entire immune system. It can be so effective that some people even report not having any colds since starting cold showers.