Cold shower Month! Who's with me?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Stopper, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. Stopper

    Stopper IT'S OVER!!!

    The Extraordinary Benefits of Cold Showers

    Posted by: Clay on February 22, 2012

    Water therapy has been around for centuries, but we rarely hear much about it since Big Pharma firms have no interest in inexpensive water cures.

    Throughout history, unless there was access to a hot spring, humans have largely been limited to bathing in cold water. Access to abundant hot water is a modern luxury, but as we’ll see, a luxury that is not without its price.

    In ancient times cold water was the only choice available to most people when bathing. Interestingly though, even when the Ancient Greeks developed heating systems for their public baths, they continued bathing in cold water for the proven health benefits. The always tough Spartans felt hot water was for the weak and cowardly and only used cold water because they believed it tempered the body and made it vigorous for fighting.

    I’m a black belt in Taekwondo and know that the importance of cold showers is even included in the Taekwondo Moral Code where it advocates, “By taking cold shower and baths or exercising on snow-covered ground in bare feet, students build tenacity and pride.” Simply hopping in a cold shower is perhaps the easiest and most overlooked way to build courage and will power that will make conquering life’s tasks easier.

    Today, much of the knowledge of cold water benefits has gone by the wayside as we enjoy the delights of our modern luxuries. Our ancestors were exposed to a wide range of fluctuating ambient temperatures and swam and bathed in cold water. Modern man, however, often lives in a fairly consistent room temperature. Some scientists propose that this lack of thermal stress is one factor that contributes to depression.

    So if ancient man didn’t clean himself with sustained periods of temperature controlled hot water, then maybe we shouldn’t either. Cold showers are a proven ancient technique that effectively promotes overall radiant health.

    This article will explain why moderately cool or room temperature showers are much healthier than hot showers, and then we’ll get into the extraordinary benefits of cold showers. First, let’s begin with why hot showers are downright harmful.

    The Health Risks of a Hot Shower
    It may sound like a paranoid concern, but experts unanimously agree that hot showers vaporize dangerous amounts of chlorine, fluoride, and other toxic chemicals into the air. One professor of Water Chemistry says, “I tell my friends to take quick, cold showers. The longer and hotter the shower, the more chemicals build up in the air.”

    The heat and the dispersion of water in a hot shower vaporize carcinogens into the air allowing the evaporated chemicals to be inhaled. They can also spread through the house and be inhaled by others. Hot showers also open up the pores of the skin allowing even more toxic chemicals to enter our body (absorbed) through our skin than would occur even from drinking the water!

    Cool water keeps the pores of your skin more or less closed during the shower so you don’t absorb as much of the chemicals in the water or the scary chemicals in today’s soaps and shampoos.

    Exposure to the toxic chemicals contained in our water supplies is greatly reduced in a cool shower as less steam is made and therefore less chlorine inhaled into the lungs or absorbed through the skin. Cold showers not only offer their own benefits, but help shield you from the deleterious effects of hot showers.

    Better Looking Skin
    When you shower with warm water, it opens up your pores. Then you wash and this cleans up your pores. This can be good, but it’s critical to close your pores again with cold water. This will prevent the pores from being easily clogged by dirt and oil, which causes skin imperfections such as acne for example.

    Hot showers dry out the skin by stripping it of its natural oils. When the pores open up from the heat, the skin’s oils are completely vulnerable to being eroded away by the water. Dry skin can be itchy, become chapped or cracked, and exasperate conditions like eczema. When the normally plump cells of moist skin become dry and shriveled, fine lines and wrinkles also appear. A cold shower keeps the pores tightly closed, keeping the oils locked in.

    When the natural oils from your skin are washed away your body will often compensate by either producing more oil or not enough. The oil made by your body will always be better than any topical moisturizer you can buy. The oil made by your body is not dirty unless your diet and environment is.

    Cool water appropriately flushes toxins from the skin and results in improved tone of both the skin and muscles. Many people have found that when various circumstances arise and only cold water is available to bathe in, after a month of cold water use they routinely report a change from their typically dry, flaky skin to extremely soft, radiant, smooth, naturally moist (but not oily), healthy skin.

    Another benefit is that cold water makes your blood vessels constrict which reduces swelling and the appearance of dark circles under your eyes (where skin is at its thinnest). This provides you with a young, healthy glow.

    Healthier Hair
    The exact same damage that occurs to your skin in a hot shower also happens to your hair. Hot water dries out your hair stripping it of it’s natural healthy oils

    Cold water will keep your hair looking healthier and shinier. As a matter of fact, cool air makes your hair shinier too (that’s why there is a cool air button on your hair dryer). Cold water does keeps your hair cuticles closed which makes the hair stronger and prevents dirt from easily accumulating within your scalp. Basically, the same principle with how it closes the pores of your skin as mentioned above. Stronger hair, of course, prevents hair from being easily pulled out when you are combing, and it helps in slowing down overall hair loss.

    Cold showers are one of the great antiaging secrets for keeping your skin tight, elastic, vibrant, and radiant looking. All of this makes cold water therapy one of the top factors of longevity.

    Cool Showers are Good, But a Healthy Cold Shock is Where the Real Magic Happens

    A cool shower is clearly better than a hot shower, but flipping the dial all the way to the cold and getting blasted with an icy shock for the final 2 minutes of your shower is where the benefits come out. It will get your heart pumping and the blood flowing, shaking off any lethargy, and will leave you feeling invigorated and energized with an energy that can last several hours. Studies show that cold water therapy may have promise for those with chronic fatigue syndrome.

    Immunity

    The underlying premise of cold water therapy is that briefly and somewhat regularly exposing the body to certain kinds of natural stresses such as cold water can enhance health. Promoters of cold water therapy say that it 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.

    Acute cold exposure has immunostimulating effects, and preheating with physical exercise or a warm shower can enhance this response. Increases in levels of circulating norepinephrine may account for this. Those who take ice baths show an enhanced long-term antioxidative adaptation as measured by several blood markers. Other research highlighting cold water’s effect on immunity shows an increase in both the number and activity of peripheral cytotoxic T lymphocytes in those regularly exposed to cold therapies. Full body cold water immersion and cryotherapy (cold air chamber) also resulted in a sustained increase in norepinephrine, which substantiates the long-term pain relief touted by cold therapy promoters. There’s even evidence it can help chronic heart failure, and some (non-lymphoid) types of cancers.

    It’s all about upregulating our systems, taxing them in a healthy, natural way. 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.

    Improves Circulation
    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.

    Upon waking from a full nights sleep the majority of your blood has flowed into the deeper parts of your body such as the internal organs to help them regenerate. To be active, alert and productive during the day you need a good portion of this blood to flow back into the peripheral extremities of your body. Tea or coffee in the mornings provides this for some people but it has negative consequences after long term use of the caffeine (most notably adrenal fatigue from the constant damaging stimulation).

    When hot water hits your skin your body has the feeling of still being wrapped in the warm blanket it had around it when it was in bed just moments ago. The blood stays in the deeper parts of your body giving you a tired and lethargic feeling. When cold water hits your skin, capillaries near the surface dilate, which pulls blood out from the deeper parts of your body into the extremities to warm them up. After a certain amount of exposure to the cold shower they will contract and the blood flows back into the deeper parts of your body after having been cleansed.

    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.

    Depression

    Cold showers have also been scientifically proven as an effective treatment for depression. Tests have showed that cold hydrotherapy can relieve depressive symptoms, significantly relieve pain, and result in improved quality of sleep. Best of all it does not have side effects or cause dependence. It’s truly a marvelous natural non-addictive anti-depressant!

    One reason depression has been rising so drastically in wealthier countries is because our modern lifestyles keep us indoors under fairly consistently temperate conditions. Modern man rarely faces significant changes in body temperature during their day to day activities. Lacking certain physiological stressors such as brief changes in body temperature results in a lack of “thermal exercise” which may cause inadequate functioning of the brain.

    Exposure to cold is known to activate the sympathetic nervous system and increase the blood level of beta-endorphin and noradrenaline. It also increases synaptic release of noradrenaline in the brain as well. Here’s why the increase in these chemicals is so exciting.

    Beta-endorphin is the neurotransmitter responsible for making us feel better immediately after an injury. It works by binding to and activating opioid receptors, dulling pain, and increasing feelings of relaxation and well-being. It even slows the growth of cancer cells, and is believed to play a role in correcting behavioral patterns such as stress, alcoholism, obesity, diabetes, and psychiatric illness.

    Noradrenaline is a hormone and neurotransmitter useful for treating attention deficit disorder, depression, and abnormally low blood pressure. Some antidepressants function partly by increasing noradrenaline levels while most ADD medications often work solely by increasing noradrenaline levels.

    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.

    Fat Loss
    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.

    Cold water adaptation also builds up brown fat cells (as opposed to white fat) which have a large concentration of mitochondria that can generate heat without physical contraction or muscular movements. Brown fat cells protect us from aging, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

    Ray Cronis, a NASA scientist, was able to lose almost 30 pounds of fat (fat, not weight) in 6 weeks, by taking cold walks, cold swims, and by drinking cold water. Why? Because the body needs fuel to keep warm. This cold thermal loading may be a significant missing link in accelerating fat loss.

    Stay Warmer

    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.

    Regular use of cold shower reduces heat losses and decreases core body temperature. Russian health nuts are obsessed with obtaining a lower body temperature due to a wide-spread belief that just one degree reduction in core body temperature extends expected life span of humans by some decades.

    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.

    Testosterone
    The same preoptic area of the anterior hypothalamus that regulates thermogenesis also contains most GnRH (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone)-releasing neurons, making it a primary site of GnRH production. GnRH is responsible for the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) from the anterior pituitary gland which is hugely significant in stimulating testosterone production.

    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.

    The initial intense discomfort of cold water shock rapidly decreases in both intensity and duration with habituation and water (50F) appears to be more effective than just cool water (59F) in promoting adaptation. Typically, acclimatization to cold develops over the course of about 10 days, and in humans the primary change is an insulative, hypothermic type of response. But with more sustained exposure to cold air or water, humans can apparently develop the humoral type of acclimatization described in small mammals, with an increased output of noradrenaline and thyroxine. Adaptation to cold leads to increased output of the beneficial “short term stress” hormones adrenaline and thyroxine, leading to mobilization of fatty acids, and substantial fat loss over a 1-2 week period.

    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.

    This perhaps leads into a greater question…since the gentle natural stress of a cold bath is so beneficial, could more aggressive exposure to the cold provide benefits that go beyond that of daily cold showers?

    Source: http://betterbodyguide.com/the-extraordinary-benefits-of-cold-showers/

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    I'm gonna start taking a cold shower from now on and if I don't start with it, I will at least END with it...
    Let's make a movement and start doing this, what do you guys think of the benefits you see here???
    Discuss!!!
     
  2. Stopper

    Stopper IT'S OVER!!!

    Precautions and Guidelines

    As for all therapies, the precondition is “first, do no harm”. Following these guidelines will help you receive maximal benefit from cold water therapy and avoid adverse effects.

    1) Listen to your body.

    When you exercise, you probably notice a point where you feel satisfied with your workout. Up to a point, exercising leaves us feeling energized throughout the day. But if overdone, it can cause persistent feelings of exhaustion and lethargy. Cold showers are the same way; a quick, cold shower should leave you feeling invigorated. But, too long and cold of a shower can leave one feeling chilled and sluggish. Always calibrate your application to invigorate, but not freeze yourself.

    2) Do not use “ice cold” water.

    You do not want to overstress your system with excessively cold water. Sebastion Kneipp, one of the founders of naturopathic medicine, utilized water anywhere from 50 °F to 68 °F. However, note that a shower can feel colder than its actual temperature.

    3) Adjust duration to personal response.

    In general, take shorter applications of colder water, and longer applications of warmer water. Again, use your body’s response as your gauge. You may need to work your way up to longer applications if just starting out. You can also adjust the duration to compensate for seasonal fluctuations in water temperature.

    4) Curb the intensity if you are elderly or sick.


    If you are not healthy, try progressively splashing water onto the body, or just applying cold water to one body part. Those susceptible to heart attacks should know that cold water can exacerbate stress on the heart, much like heavy exercise, and could potentially trigger heart attack or stroke. Only a doctor can say whether cold showers are compatible with your particular physiology.

    Source: http://www.cold-showers.com/precautions-and-guidelines/
     
  3. Aber93

    Aber93 New Member

    Pretty good health benefits, I'll give it a try!

    Thanks! and good luck with yours! :)
     
  4. Stopper

    Stopper IT'S OVER!!!

    Thanks, I did it today.

    My experience:
    I started with ice cold water right away, I undressed, stood naked and was intimidated for sure...I flexed my muscles and spread my arms, ready to do this.
    I touched the cold water a couple of times before, it was freezing...so I decided to stand in the bathtub, my feet got ice cold, I was ready to give up. I put the hot water on but it didn't get hot or warm, it stayed cold, so I thought to myself...ah why bother, don't shower warm first and end cold, go all the way.
    So I sprayed the cold icey water on my chest, I was already gasping for air, so I put the water on my legs, ice cold...then on my left, ice cold...then on my back and chest, I WAS ALIVE!!!!! I then started growling like a beast, there's no escaping this, it is like your inner beast comes out, literally. I was very energetic and happy once I got out. An extra benefit, you will take less long in the shower, I'll be honest, I stayed in the shower for not longer than 1 minute. It was freezing but I washed every place, my armpits, my hair, my whole body.

    Then I stepped out, and I felt like a man. I then got out the shower and it wasn't cold at all, normally it's cold to get out the shower, this time it wasn't. I was able to very quickly dry and put my clothes on, it didn't feel like the clothes kept stuck to my body at all, everything went very easy. When I shower with hot water I get out the shower and it's ice cold, I then need to dry myself while the hot damp is still coming from my body which keeps my clothes stuck to my skin. So normally I need to dry every place of my body before putting my clothes on, not this time.

    This experience gave me great energy, it made me feel like a man, it made me feel ALIVE. And I was just happy and on edge for the next few hours, just like it said in the article. I'm kind of skeptical normally, but u just need to try this.
     
  5. HerrOin

    HerrOin Member

    I shower hot as hell. People who borrow my shower and have it at the same heat setting as I do wonder if I percept pain at all since they simply can´t shower that hot. So, to save money I will shower significantly colder then what I do right now,
     
  6. dsg97

    dsg97 New Member

    Hey Stopper after reading your post this morning I decided to shower in the coldest water I had available. I wasn't timid but once I felt the blast of cold water against my legs I immediately got out. I didn't want to quit so I went to put it on cool and after about maybe 10-15 seconds in I felt like I was cheating so I put it on the coldest feeling. That time however I did not punk out and just stood there. Almost immediately I was gasping for air but I did not want to lose. I started to shower and somewhere in between I started to enjoy it. The energy you have is incredible. After the shower I felt extremely alive.
     
  7. Stopper

    Stopper IT'S OVER!!!

    I had the same experience like you, feels great doesn't it? It's gonna take time to get used to though for when you just wake up. I showered this cold after I had already been awake for a couple of hours, had breakfast and everything. Waking up at 7 AM and getting yourself to do this is something else, but guess it's just adapting, it felt great this morning though.
     
  8. gameover

    gameover Age: 26

    Been having cold showers day and night 3 minutes max for the last 2 months. Works well.
     
  9. Aber93

    Aber93 New Member

    Just done it, about 2-3 mins. Definitely awake now!
     
  10. Daimon

    Daimon Member

    I've been taking the modified shower approach for about 2 weeks now after having taken straight 5 minute cold showers the 2 weeks preceding the switch. I find that starting my shower with a burst of cold water for about 30 seconds, washing off in hot water for about 7 or so minutes, then finishing my shower with 3 minutes and 30 seconds of cold water to be very beneficial to my skin.
     
  11. Stopper

    Stopper IT'S OVER!!!

    In what way is it beneficial? Please be specific.
     
  12. Cocoon

    Cocoon Guest

    I also noticed that my skin gets better when I am doing cold showers. I have some light acne on my shoulders and I think that too hot water makes things worse. At the moment, I am having mild showers. I will go back to cold showers when temperatures rise. Currently, it's snowing and I would be freezing if I do cold showers.
     
  13. hogus

    hogus New Member

    I'm gonna try this next week when I'm at my family house. The water pressure is terrible there when it's turned up to even mildly warm so it'll be good motivation.
     
  14. lacerda

    lacerda New Member

    This is actually my second reboot, and in every reboot I combine it with cold showers to maximize results. I live in a tropical country, even thou the water came cold and I can see the energy benefits, and overall good mood. This is my third in a row using cols showers, and I feel awesome.
     
  15. Stopper

    Stopper IT'S OVER!!!

    U live in a tropical country? I'm jealous man!
     
  16. Nice, Nice

    Nice, Nice Guest

    I used to do straight cold showers but eventually stopped.

    Recently I started doing contrast showers. Starting off with warm water, ending with chilly, cool (I can't even get to cold yet) water.

    It's nice. Seems to give me a positive buzz. Maybe I should work on building up the time I spend in the cold part of the shower.
     
  17. DancerMan

    DancerMan Guest

    SWEET!

    Cant wait to try this! In aus its pretty typical in summer to have cool showers (well in my family anyway) and a cold shower after a long training session rocks!!
     
  18. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    You convinced me. I'm in!
     
  19. M_Zerge

    M_Zerge New Member

    I'm in! I'll give it a try.
     
  20. VeniVidiVici

    VeniVidiVici New Member

    Tried it yesterday, went from around 38 centigrade to cold, not sure how much that was.. Damn my heart started racing, not sure whether I liked it or not. I will try it a little more gradual next time.
     

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