Answered: Why are cold showers good for you?
Why are cold showers good for you?
Many people swear by the benefits of cold water. But why exactly are cold showers good for you?
While cold showers aren’t the sole for treatment any conditions, the benefits have been observed for centuries. Water therapy (hot and cold) is used to ease the body, provide pain relief, and increase our tolerance to harsher conditions.
The thinking behind cold showers is that they help our bodies deal with discomfort or stress. The Wim Hof Method, named after the founder (also known as “the Iceman”), combines deep breathing with cold water and commitment to increase wellbeing and resilience to stress.
The idea is that a cold shower releases a small and manageable amount of stress hormones into your body. Overtime, and with regular cold showers, your body’s nervous system gets used to handling this stress, making your mind and body more tolerant to stress in daily life.
There are other ways cold showers are thought to be good for you. See what they are below.
1. Improve your circulation
Water colder than the core temperature of your body causes it to work harder to maintain this temperature. It does this by pumping warm blood around the body faster, improving circulation. This invigorates your body in a healthy way. The oxygenated blood pumped to blood vessels replenishes and repairs. It’s another reason icing help heal a bruise or sprain faster.
2. Get glowing skin
For the same reasons outlined above – blood rushing to the surface of your skin – cold showers are great for your skin. The cold water on your body floods your skin with oxygenated blood, helping it appear fresh and revitalised.
3. Increase endorphins and boost your mood
Endorphins are the hormones released by our bodies that generate feelings of happiness and elation. They can be produced in response to physical experiences, for example, exercise, riding a rollercoaster, or cold-water swimming. It’s thought that the slight shock to your body caused by the cold, releases endorphins, helping you feel alert, energised and improving your mood.
4. Boost immune system
This is a theory that’s not had a huge amount of research behind it, but a study in the journal PLoS One found that people who took cold showers were 29% less likely to take sick days. Stress negatively impacts your immune system, so it would follow that higher resilience to stress could boost your immune system long term.
5. Faster recovery after exercise
Cold promotes increased blood flow, helping repair muscles faster and reducing soreness. It’s the reason athletes take cold baths or do cold chamber treatments. Your blood vessels receive more oxygenated blood, helping them fuel your muscles in their recovery following exertion.
There are lots of reasons you might start cold showering, even just for 30 seconds. Perhaps not everyone will notice the difference, but it’s something worth giving a go. You might hate it, or you might be a convert. You won’t know until you’ve tried!
What’s better than a cold shower? A warm bath, maybe? Baths have health benefits too, so you could try tapping into both. Read our blog about creating the perfect relaxing bath.