Cold Shower Therapy for Improved Health

Last Modified on May 22, 2014


Cold Shower Therapy

Unless you live in a hot climate, this is not one of the more pleasant home therapies listed on this website! However, we've added it to our Earth Clinic because we find the therapy of immense value. The practice of taking cold showers in the morning is extraordinarily revitalizing and has been used therapeutically all over the world for thousands of years. Cold Shower Therapy is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy with numerous health benefits such as treating anxiety and depression, improving circulation and toning skin.

Gurudev Khar Khalsa, a Sat Nam Rasayan healer and Kundalini Yoga teacher in Los Angeles sent us this information on the healing power of cold showers.

"Cold Water Massage Therapy is the one of the healthiest and inexpensive of therapies. Simply massage the body with almond oil before taking a shower. Shower in cold water until your body temperature rises and no longer feels cold, but toasty and warm. Make sure the bathroom is heated. Never get out of a cold shower into a cold room.

*** Please note: Cold showers should not be taken during a woman's time of menstruation. A woman needs extra rest and gentleness during her menses. Taking a cold shower is too much for the reproductive system during menstruation. A lukewarm shower is recommended. Generally speaking, hot showers are not good as they tend to depress the various physiological systems of the body.

Cold showers have the following positive effects:

* Brings blood to the capillaries, therefore increasing circulation throughout the body.

* Cleans the circulatory system.

* Reduces blood pressure on internal organs.

* Provides flushing for the organs and provides a new supply of blood.

* Strengthens the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

* Contracts the muscles to eliminate toxins and poisonous wastes.

* Strengthens the mucous membranes, which help resist hay fever, allergies, colds, coughs.

Many health problems are reduced or even eliminated over time by providing proper circulation of the blood to the affected area using the cold shower massage.

"Ishnan" is the term used in the old days when people in India referred to cold showers (very cold showers). "Ishnan" is the point at which the body, by its own virtue, creates the temperature that it can beat off the coldness of the water. This happens when the capillaries open with the onset of the cold water. They close again during the course of the cold shower and it is at that point that all the blood rushes back to flush the organs and the glands. This process allows the glands to renew their secretions and "youth" (i.e. young glands) again returns to the body."

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Anxiety   12  0   

Posted by Marissa (Williamstown, Nj) on 12/20/2011

I suffer from anxiety so much! And I want to start this cold shower therapy, but will it negatively effect my high blood pressure? btw this high blood pressure is all new ever since I've started with these headaches that seem like tension. (alot if pain on almost a daily basis) will the CST be a good solution for me? Does it help with headaches? Thanx so much!!

Posted by Timh
Louisville, Usa
12/21/2011
1295 Posts
Marissa, all your symptoms are common in heavy metal poisoning. Do you detox periodically? Master Cleanse? Take Vit/min supplement? Eat lots of greens, Chlorella? Oil Pull? it could likely be anything else like allergy or who knows, just sayin' it's likely.

From what I've read, cold shower therapy can be dangerous for LOW blood pressure folks. Try CST s l o w l y. Just a little cool at end of shower, more cooler and end of next shower etc.

I would do the CST along with other detox methods. A high profile, high potency multivitamin/mineral/foods supplement as directed on label alone will help very much if you are one who never supplement.

Posted by Sveta (Des Plaines, IL) on 07/23/2009

[YEA]  I just want to say that cold showers are great for major depression and anxiety disorder, but they don't help much if you don't shower your head. First, I was doing cold showers but was avoiding showering my head. It helped but I still had a lot of anxiety and depression going on. Then, after trying to SHOWER NOT ONLY MY BODY BUT MY HEAD too with cold water (I was told it's good for hair loss), I felt like I was born again. Plus, my hair doesn't seem to fall out much any more.

Posted by Sandy (San Rafael, CA) on 01/30/2008

[YEA]  About two months ago I was having yet another anxiety attack in the middle of the night. I got up and Googled and wound up at your site. Thank goodness! I read all the testamonials for Cold Shower Therapy. I tried it and much to my amazement I have felt so much better! I am grounded,emotionally stable and strong. My skin feels fabulous, my hair is soft and shiny, I am energized and also relaxed. I have tried so many treatments for severe depression,anxiety and panic attacks. CST has helped me beyond my wildest dreams. Yes, I now sleep so well that I am having amazing dreams as well. Thank you for this great resource and community !!!!!

Posted by Mike (Toronto, Canada) on 01/08/2008

[YEA]  I use the cold shower therapy everyday now, I try to do it at least twice a day. I also practice falun dafa which results me in good health also. Two power combination. I have more energy, more alert, less anxiety and less depression. It is uncomfortable at the beginning but well worth it.

Posted by Brenna (Rochester, NY, USA) on 08/07/2007

[YEA]  Well, I found your site from a link on paxilprogress.org and I suggested this "crazy idea" to my husband who's been dealing with panic attacks and anxiety. He hopped in, screamed for a few minutes, and came out looking a lot better than he had in a long time. I figured I'd "take the plunge" as well, just to try it out. As a FORMER hot-shower addict, I have to say that cold showers are IT!! I feel amazing, my face isn't dry, my hair is silky, etc. Plus, my husband happened to jump back in and...well, let's just say that "taking a cold shower" has a whole new meaning for us! ;)

Posted by Bryon (Cincinnati, OH) on 07/09/2007

[YEA]  I started cold showers about three or four weeks ago and I love them now. They seem to help me get rejuvenated in the morning and I have had less anxiety. Everyone should try them.

Posted by Jon
Monongahela, PA
09/30/2008
2 Posts
[YEA]   Oh God...this is the most greatest thing in the world. I embrace the Eastern philosophy of medicine which talks about natural and organic treatments to the ailments that we all suffer. Unlike Western medicine that gives you toxic pills to swallow only to treat the symptoms and not to cure you. I feel great. I've never been so happy and energetic in my life and I feel like I'm high all day long...of course with out the impairment of psychotropic drugs. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...yeah, there is the hesitation associated with jumping into a swimming pool, but please, just "bite the bullet" and do it.....every day.

THANK YOU EARTHCLINIC.COM!

Posted by Leon
Wichita, Kansas
12/28/2008
I agree. The Western medicine is atrocious. The only side effects I get from them is insomnia, weight gain, nervousness, and irritability. But most of all it tastes bad. I am glad to embrace the Eastern way of handling the problems with my body through taking cold baths and nasal cleansing. It works. It worked for Neiman in the Bible (leprosy), it worked for Father Sebastian Kneipp (tuberculosis), and it works for me (asthma and allergies).
Posted by Hellfang
Toronto, Canada
04/07/2010
[YEA]   Here's my own personal story that is related to this concept.

I've always been the person with the weakest immune system, when I was a kid I had anemia, and since then I would get the flu 3-4 times a year, each time resulting in 3 weeks in bed for recovery.

Then at age 25 by pure fluke I started taking cold showers (ok it was no fluke, I couldn't pay my heat bill so they cut off the hot water :S), and I immediatley started feeling a difference. I went on close to 5 years now without getting sick once! (I did eventually pay my bill but continued taking cold showers). As a matter of fact I once stayed in a household full of sick people, shaking hands, hugging and kissing, and I was the only who didn't get sick, even though I had the worst medical history of all of them.

Ever since, I've been taking cold showers exclusively. I've varied it now so that I start out with a hot shower, then halfway through I flip to cold water until my body temperature gets to the point where the water stops feeling cold and starts feeling refreshing. What this does is it promotes the flow of blood throughout your whole body, first by forcing the blood out of your organs to your skin (that's why your skin looks red-ish), then the cold water sends them rushing back into your vital organs. The amount of energy you gain is incredible, try it, you won't be sorry! Not to mention its better for your posture, & cures back pain.

Anyways, point is that showering with cold water everyday fools your body into thinking that you are about to get sick, so your immune system gets triggered and is prepared for any virus or microbes coming your way for the rest of the day.

I find it sad and ironic, that I've wasted thousands upon thousands of dollars going to doctors, taking medication, trying everything so that I can live a normal life without fearing something as trivial as a little WIND, having to spend 60-70 days a year in bed recovering, and the answer was as simple as a cold shower!

I don't understand why this isn't common knowledge. The answer isn't to try and cure diseases, it is prevention. Simple prevention.

In contrast, hot showers are so bad for you I'm surprised there are no awareness campaigns against them. Hot showers cause depression, bad posture, back pain, lowering of the immune system, low energy, they are horrible for your skin as they dry it out completely and makes your skin looser and makes you look older, its bad for your hair as it also dries it out and makes it weak and brittle...

In life there are few things that are for sure. Love, Reltionships, Religion, god, the future, the stock market....
But now, as silly as this sounds. the only sure thing in my life is a cold shower every morning!

Posted by Bipbip
Budapest, Hungary
10/07/2011
Let's be serious!

Hydrotherapy wasn't invented by the East, and not all people use all the day heavy synthetic drugs in the West. Moreover, in some situations you must use those heavy drugs to save your life. Even the "Easterners" know this, because they have adopted the "Western" medicine that has saved millions of life. Let's keep ourselves on the middle of the road.

Posted by Marc (Toronto, Canada) on 02/28/2007

[YEA]  I've been suffering from anxiety and depression for years, and recently I've started to get panic attacks. I finally got motivated to start researching my problem on my own because I've discovered that doctors (at least the ones I've been too) are useless.

I've discovered a lot of useful information on this website, but what really caught my eye is the cold shower therapy. I've never taken a cold shower in my life so I tried it today. Honestly, I've never felt so great. I don't know what it did to me, but I got a terrible fit of the giggles that lasted half an hour. I feel a lot better, and motivated, which is rare for me especially in the morning. I'll keep it up and see what else happens, but I definitely recommend trying it, for whatever reason. And Thank You for this great website!

Posted by Igor
Moscow, Russia
02/21/2009
2 Posts
[YEA]   Dear Earth Clinic,

Thank you for this excellent forum on cold water therapy. I had an anxiety which seemed to 'come from nowhere'. Cold baths work on this much better than cold showers. Also swimming in the sea or lakes. There is a tradition of doing this in Russia and also northern China: but in modern times people think it is madness. In this time of credit crunch (2009) this is a practice which everyone can afford.

I have a question to people on this forum: what about time? I do it for 1-4 minutes, 2 times a day, before and after sleeping, every day, as my uncle showed me, like the brushing of the teeth. (The washing with warm water and soap I do before or after this: it seems not to matter which.) It seems that a longer time is not beneficial at all. So I am interested to know other people's ideas about timing.

Another question: I work sometimes in Arabia where it is very hot in the Summer times. There is no problem to make a bath of water, but it is not very cold. So do people know of any device/machine which can be put in a bath to make the water cold? Putting ice from the fridge is OK but this method needs a lot of ice.

Kind regards,

Igor.

Posted by Lavina
Lake Jackson, TX
06/01/2009
I live in texas and in the summer months there is often no cold water in the taps. I am sure several people have this problem. May i suggest buying one of those basic camping showers that come with a hose and hanging bag. You can put the bag in the fridge every night before bed and have an ice cold shower for the morning. Most of them have some sort of hook so you can hang it right on your shower head.
Posted by Jared
Melbourne, Austrailia
10/06/2009
If you need to keep water cool, you could use an aquarium cooler in the bath. Its used to keep water temperature low for cold water fish.
Posted by Ella
Loon Lake, Washington, Usa
09/20/2010
Dear Igor from Russia, I have done hot and cold showers for many years. I have found that 3 minutes hot to 1 minute cold is just about right. Do this at least 3 times and each time increase the hot and then increase the cold. You will be surprised how much hotter and how much colder you can go. I aways end with cold and go at least 3 to 4 minutes longer on the last cold. You will feel amazing! When you are sore from working out or working hard, do the hot and cold, most of the time you will have no soreness when you are through. The hot opens the vessels and lets the blood flow freely and then the cold constricts the vessels and pushes all the old blood and toxins out, replacing it with fresh oxygenated blood, so you want to do this a few times to get all the pain causing toxins out. When ever you take a cold shower you want to do a few times of hot and cold to get the most benefit out of it. I hope this is helpful.

Posted by Roxanne (Miami, FL) on 08/31/2006

[YEA]  I took my first cold shower today, after reading about cold shower benefits on your website. It really does feel good! I was a little scared and started with lukewarm water. Brought it down as most as I could tolerate it. But man, the other people are right - it really does give you a ton of energy! I suffer from depression, anxiety and panic attacks, and this shower seemed to my anxiety in check. Thank you!

Posted by Chris (Kennewick, WA) on 03/30/2006

[YEA]  Hey! John from Arlington, TX, howdy. I thought "I" invented this cure for panic attacks. ;)

Posted by John (Arlington, TX)

[YEA]  I started taking cold showers after I developed panic disorder, general anxiety disorder, and moderate depression. Cold showers have been the best distraction out of any other distraction to get a panic attack to go away. It feels so good when I take a cold shower that it is like an addiction to me. I feel instant gratification both physically and mentally when I take cold showers. They our the best to get rid of negative thoughts, minor physical pains from within the body, fear from a panic attack, and anger. At first I tense my muscles together so I can get use to it and then I let them un tense and let the water flow and it feels so great. Also I feel that my body is working better and I am a lot more alert and awake. I always feel like I am regenerated afterwards no matter how much I am going through. It is an intense body high. I would recommend this to anyone who suffers from anxiety, depression, or addiction problems. Remember when you take any of these three away you need to replace them with something else and cold showers is a great safe alternative that works wonders!

Anxiety, Depression   1  0   

Posted by Tim (North Dallas Area, Texas, Usa) on 05/12/2012

[YEA]  When I was a kid around the age of 9 or 10 I developed severe separation anxiety from my parents. It was hell just dropping me off at school in the morning, and was sleeping in my mothers bed at that age because leaving her caused me such distress. My anxiety disappeared sometime from turning 10-11 years old, I'm 17 now and about 1-2 years ago my anxiety returned but in a form of social anxiety and just whatever the 'bad feeling' could attach itself to. Like my anxiety is just a base feeling and attaches to whatever might cause me distress such as socializing in school which is a big stress for me as I am a pretty self conscious person.

Only about 2-3 days ago I came home from a jog and checked my Facebook and happened to notice a page "cold showers after a workout" and decided to try it out as I was pretty sweaty and hot from running (I live in Texas it starts to get warm/hot this time of year). I had my first cold shower probably about 3 days ago. I felt very refreshed and energized and almost anew after my first cold shower.

Now after only 2 days of practicing cold showers I have to say, it's definitely got some sort of therapeutic value in it for me. My thoughts seem clearer and a bit more focused but most of all I noticed the energy and motivation gain. I didn't have to make myself want to jog anymore, the jog was no longer an endurance. It was fun and I kept pushing harder and felt like it wasn't a chore but a pleasure. Everything seems the same way, it's no longer something I just have to do I enjoy doing more things. I guess to sum it up it's helped with my depression which I have also been suffering from since my recurring anxiety.

The most amazing moment during a cold shower is when you flip from hot to freezing water and nothing is there but the shock and the feeling of the freezing water rushing around your body. It's almost like a spiritual release of stress because your mind goes into a shock and all you can think of is how uncomfortable the water is, and on top of that it's healthy! My acne seems to be smaller, still breaking out but it's not huge bumps anymore more like dots which is amazing because severe acne runs in my family. It's been 3 days since I started and it's almost like hot water is uncomfortable and cold water is where the relaxation is at. It's just amazing. I highly reccomend this to anyone, don't be scared I encourage you to flip that shower handle from hot to no heat whatsoever. You'll know when there is no heat in the water when the lever or whatever u use to adjust your water temperature gets to a certain point and you can hear the pipes make a lighter noise.

To get the best mental results ( ie not skin health or hair loss but the mental clearness and motivational feeling) I would recommend no Luke warm. Endure the cold and it will gift you with a fortitude of mental strength and clearness. It's like a high when you first flip it to cold, don't focus on how cold the water is just try to think of something else while that waters rushing around you and you'll realize your completely stress free! Ok ive written too much! I hope you all can find the same experience with this as me. Good luck and glad I found this site many other remedies I intend on trying.

Posted by Juliette
Reston, Va
05/14/2012
I used to be on a cold shower kick and loved but but got out of the habit going to try it again thanks for posting!!

Cold Baths   6  1   

Posted by Srividhya (Chennai, Tamilnadu/india) on 01/23/2012

Thank you for the useful article given for woman's not to take cold shower during menstruation. Good message! Why do getting sneezing, nose destroy after taking bath in cold water for few minutes? Did taking cold water bath immediately after an exercise is good for health? Taking cold water bath will keep the body physical and mentally active?

Posted by Yggdrasil (Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway) on 10/05/2010

[YEA]  I live in Norway, and was delighted to read all the feedback on cold baths and showers. Through my job, I had access to a cabin on the ocean, and bathed during the summertime (17-18 Celsius). I felt great afterwords(hot shower to wash the salt off). On a dare, we swam later and later into the fall, swimming until the water was 12C, and always getting an incredibly invigorating experience. It became the absolute highlight of every trip to the cabin! I thought this was all to do with the ocean, for some reason, and it never occurred to me that a cold shower or bath would give me the same results! It is exactly as described here by so many: I swam around until I didn't feel cold anymore, then stayed until I started to feel chilled (arms start getting heavy in 12C! ). Then into the hot shower, and out again incredibly re-invigorated. What an interesting website!

Posted by Francisca
Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France
10/05/2010
900 Posts
It is Autumn here now but we keep the swimming pool running for a while longer so that we can have a swim during our sauna sessions (we have a little infra-red sauna in our garden). It is a bit of an effort at first but after a few minutes you don't feel the cold anymore. The second time around is even easier maybe because by then the circulation is flowing like mad. After we close the pool because of frost we will still leave the garden shower going for a while. Too bad when everything is gone but then we come inside to have our cold showers. Funny enough my allergies make me sneeze a lot with differences of temperature but never with this.

Posted by Tamara (Reading, Berkshire UK) on 01/27/2009

[YEA]  In the early 90's I took part in a trial of cold bath therapy. This consisted of taking a cold bath every morning and started off at 22 degrees C for 5 minutes and increasing the time and decreasing the temperature so that when one got to 14 degrees C one was immersed in the water for 20 minutes. That proved to be too long for me, but I did manage 14 degrees for 10 minutes and I must say, having done the therapy for a period of 6 months, I felt extraordinarily well on it. I have now decided to resume it and, having done my first 5 minutes in 22 degrees this morning, am feeling really rather well!

The therapy was thought out by a Pakistani physician here in the UK initially as a cure for Asthma and then ME. I have however lost all reference to him and the therapy and would be grateful if someone knows anything and would care to share! Happy cold bathing!

EC: FYI, 22 C is about 72 F.

Posted by Joe
Brisbane, Australia
06/14/2009
Funny you mentioning this asian fellow. I still have the cut out from the original telegraph /times (?) article in my lockbox at home. I can scan it for you.

Posted by Leon (Wichita, Kansas) on 12/26/2008

[YEA]  I am taking cold baths now. I feel there is a better difference between the bath and the shower. For me the cold bath helps me to better recover from the night's sleep. My routine of starting my day is easier when I take baths than showers. While the bathwater's running, I can irrigate my nasal passages, wash my face, and play my music. I still get all the benefits of cold showers, but in a different way. I have more energy than taking the shower, and the energy lasts all day. 12 inches of water in my tub is not all possible but I do fill up. I am so happy about cold baths because they work.

Posted by Rach01
Newport, Gwent, Uk
11/27/2009
Hi there, I have just come across this site whilst looking up the health benefits of cold showers/baths. The only reason I thought to do this is because there is a New Years Day swim in the sea in freezing temperatures and seeing as a woman of 80 does this every year and is as fit as a fiddle I thought I would see if there was any health benefits. I am amazed at everyone's comments and now can't wait to start having my own cold shower experience. I have noticed a few people have mentioned nasal irrigation and washing their nasal passage etc and was wondering if someone could explain how to do this and what the benefits are?

Many thanks

Posted by Sheena
Glasgow, Scotland
11/28/2009
I can only recommend nasal irrigation (haven't tried cold showers). I first tried it when my ears & nose became blocked after a cold and it worked. My guess is that it clears out excess gunk in your tubes, and maybe also reduces inflammation to help you breathe more easily.

Some folk use a neti pot (which is designed specifically for this purpose), but I just used a small water bottle which had a nozzle that would fit up your nose. Dissolve a small amount (quarter to half a teaspoon) of good sea salt in warm water. Then top this up with cold so that you have a decent amount for the flush (say a third of a 500ml bottle) and that the water is just slightly warm.

With your head over a sink and tilted to one side you pour the solution up one nostril and the aim is to get the liquid to pour out of the other nostril. When you first do this it might take a little getting used to, it's a strange sensation. If it goes down your throat a little don't worry, it's only salt water, but bend over the sink more and tilt your head further until it comes out of your nostril instead.


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