I cannot stand the feeling of cold water running over my body! Ughh, the thought of it gives me chills. Or, at least it used to. Actually, it still does. But it seems there are some serious health benefits associated with immersing your body in cold water. At this stage in my life, I am all about things that help me live a healthier life.
Transitioning to the cold shower person has not been easy for me. In fact, I tried it a couple of months ago. After a couple of days, I caved, said, “this ish is for the birds” and resumed my daily hot shower regimen. And then I read something else about the wonders of a cold shower and decided to give it another try. I am slowly becoming a cold shower believer.
I was first introduced to the cold shower idea after watching Wim Hof, otherwise known as the Iceman, on the Goop Lab on Netflix. I told you I LOVED that show. Real talk. When I initially began watching, I thought Wim Hof was an odd white man. As odd as he seemed, he definitely piqued my curiosity enough to want to learn more.
Wim Hof, the Iceman, has developed techniques for decades that he says can make the human body more resilient in the face of physical and psychological stress. He used his own healthy body to prove that his techniques work and now has many that follow, and swear by the Wim Hof Method. The Wim Hof Method consists of 3 essential parts:
1. Third eye meditation, an unguided visualization exercise aimed at total relaxation.
2. Cold exposure by a variety of techniques. I think I am going to stick with the cold showers and leave the long hikes in the snow to Mr. Hof.
3. 2 Specialized breathing techniques.
So, what are the benefits of cold showers? There seem to be quite a few. Here are the ones that made me break down and embrace the idea of being miserable for a few minutes out of the day:
Cold showers induce a higher state of alertness. The deep breaths you take as a result of being immersed in cold water decrease the level of CO2 throughout the body, helping you concentrate. Therefore, cold showers keep you ready and focused throughout the day.
I will admit that since revisiting the cold showers I definitely feel more alert during the day.
Immune System Booster
Scientific studies have found that taking a cold shower increases the amount of white blood cells in your body. These blood cells protect your body against diseases. Researchers believe that this process is related to an increased metabolic rate, which stimulates the immune response.
As cold water hits your body, it constricts circulation on the surface of your body causing blood in your deeper tissues to circulate at faster rates to maintain ideal body temperature. Exposure to cold temperatures triggers the circulatory system to reduce inflammation and can help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Wim Hof recommends we take a 3-minute cold shower each day. In fact, his mantra is, “a cold shower a day keeps the doctor away.” With that being said, he does not recommend you jump in and do 3 minutes from day 1. Instead, he says you should begin with 30 seconds of cold water a day and add 10 seconds each day until you have worked your way up to 3 minutes. I currently start with 1 minute cold, then I switch to warm and then back to cold again for at least another minute. I will let you know when I have successfully hit the 3-minute mark. Wish me luck!
** This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.