Cold Shower Benefits: Ancient Rituals and Modern Health Boosts

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by Lorica (New Albany, Indian) on 03/22/2010

I think that if one is hypoadrenal - as I am - or unknowingly at risk for that, one should procede with caution on cold showers to avoid taxing the adrenals. This is also for people who just don't like cold water!

This is what works for me to make the whole experience kind of pleasant instead of shocking to my system.

It helps to have a hand held hose with a spray. If not, I guess one could modify this approach. I start with one foot at a time, spraying it. Very quickly the cold does not bother me there. It seems to help to get the strong spray very close to the skin, as a kind of massage & blood stimulation agent, then spray quickly back and forth one section at a time, working one's way up the legs this way as much as feels comfrotable.

Once you past the thighs, the skin becomes more sensitive to the cold water. What can help is to first hand splash some of the cold water on the next area to get the cold spray, or use a washcloth to get the cold water there. It's amazing how much more easy it then becomes to not flinch with the spray following. As someone else said, don't forget to get the arm pits and all those nerves there.

For some reason once I have sprayed all my body up to my neck, when I lean over to spray my head it doesn't bother me at all, but feels good. Oh, pre preparations: First, if you have a space heater, use it in the bathroom! Get the room a little uncomfortably hot even. Have some cayenne pepper in something like yogurt to cool it down (wonderful stuff for your health - tho it might cause you to start seeing "white rice" in your stools, i.e. tapeworm segments, which means you gotta do a parasite cleanse).

Do some light exercises. Yes, slick your face & neck especially with your favorite oily moisturizer. I use plain ol' olive oil w/essential oils that are good for the skin. For me anyway, the face gets dry from cold showers but the rest of my body does not, if I don't just some oil before & after.

If you really, really don't wanna take a cold shower or health prevents it, you can modify with cold packs. You know those old fashioned ice packs for the head, neck wraps, etc. If you don't have the resources, you can make your own cold packs with freezer bags stuffed with cotton pads placed in a sock & put in the freezer. Putting cold packs simultanaeously on the head, down the spine, under the arm pits, under the feet, down the abdomen, can make one feel similar to taking a cold shower, tho it is not quite as invigorating or powerful against depression.

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by James (Roseburg, Oregon) on 05/05/2009

This is a submission for the cold showers remedy.

My Method and what I Know:

First how I got started. I got involved because my father told me about it (he his interested in some of the Hindu's practices and practices some of them) and that it was beneficial to ones health. He also told me of some other Hindu practices that I now combine into my shower regime.

So, next is what I do. First I turn the tap on warm. But since I am not close to the hot water source, it takes some time for it to reach me. So I usually have a 10-15 second cold shower. I then take a hot shower for the next minute or so. Following that I rinse myself with another 10-20 second shower. At the end I pat myself dry with a towel. Also during the shower I usually yell as loud as I can for stress relief reasons. Plus to give my vocal cords some exercise.

Now I will tell you what I experienced during my time taking cold-hot-cold showers. First, I noticed a peculiar thing about my perception of the waters temperature. The first section felt quite cold and I usually try to keep it short. The portion after the hot part on the other hand did not fell anything like the one before. It was almost like my body had created a shield; likely to be the blood rising to the surface from the first cold water blast, and then my body was further heated from the hot water. Two last thoughts, At the beginning I had a lot of trouble turning the water on. But, I noticed that as I continued it was taking less and less effort on my part, till now I have next to no trouble. Thought two, I also noticed that taking my shower is very revitalizing, and is good for clearing my head so I can think properly.

This next section I will talk about the benefits I have seen of taking a cold-hot-cold shower. I know it would be good for warding off sickness in two ways. First, it acts as a mixer to the blood. The cold bringing the blood to the surface, then the hot driving it inwards, and finally the cold drawing it back out again. ( I think the blood does this because of homeostasis, a bodies mechanism for keeping balance.) The second reason I think these showers are good for wellness is that hot promotes openness and movement, essentially opening the pores of your skin. Cold on the other hand closes things and promotes stillness.

So, I would advise a person to end with a session of cold water at the end of a period of hot water. UNLESS, that is, they wish to have their pores open for health purposes. Although as general practice I would usually close my pores.

Also a word of caution. Try to keep the water from being to hot. Especially where your hair is concerned, as it can cause damage to the roots. (Or so I have hear. But it does make some sense.)

Thank you for reading this, and I hope you got something out of reading it.
Good Vitality and Enthusiasm to you!

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by Paul (Uxbridge, MA) on 12/01/2008

1. Not sure. I take mine in a regular shower with a normal shower curtain. I don't think it would matter to be honest.

2. Fixed shower heads probably work better b/c you need to force yourself under the cold water. A moveable head doesn't give you the full affect of the refreshing blast of cold water coming at you.

3. I used to take hot showers for a good 15 minutes. I've been able to cut my showers down to 5 minutes while fully cleaning myself. Cold showers are extremely environmental friendly in that respect.

4. Dry off. I don't feel the need to shiver in the bathroom and try to warm myself up. My body temp has risen to the point where I can get out of the shower and not reach for the towel to warm up but rather dry off.

5. Not at all. I thought it would when I first started but it really isn't. The shampoo and soap come off just as if it was warm water.

6. Dimensions... I don't think it matters. One thing I do is run in place as soon as that cold blast hits me. You do feel a good shock to the body but compose yourself and run in place for 30 seconds and you will notice that you can handle the cold water better.

7. Not that I can think of.

The best way to promote cold showers would be to talk about how healthy cold showers are. My moods have improved, Headaches are limited, I almost never get sick, I can handle sleeping in a cold basement now, my hair is thicker and stronger, my skin is smoother, I have much better circulation. To be honest, I didn't even think of the environmental effect cold showers would have, but it certainly has cut my oil and water bill drastically.

Best of Luck!!!

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by Nadia (Chicago, Illinois) on 05/06/2008

I read on the youtube comment that almond oil mixed with water will be absorbed to the skin and not leave you oily afterwards. It says almond oil has good minerals.

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by Kayla (San Jose, California) on 01/28/2008

I tried the cold shower therapy and it was great! At first it was really hard to get started the first 3 times then it was easy. I feel really energized after and positive! It's great even in the winter. But don't go out into the cold after taking one. At firstI used freezing water and that was horrible!

Take cold showers, not freezing. A freezing shower made my head hurt really bad and I started to hyperventalate. so yeah im 15 and cold showers were awsome for me:) i say tough it out and just do it!

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. (Brookline, MA) on 11/25/2007

It seems, the one really important word has been left out of my message: "Ultimately about 20 to 30 SECONDS, but depending very much on age, fitness, body mass, time of the day, health status. We don't all have to be winter swimmers - but our modern life lacks the stimuli of the natural world we experienced in prehistoric times, and a short cold shower can restore some of our birthright." Finishing a warm/hot shower with a cold one for a few seconds improves immune function overtime. Staying under a cold shower for prolonged time (and then walking into a cold room) can suppress the immune system - especially if you are not young and healthy.

And, please, refer to the contraindications and cautions in my water book "Health20".

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. (Brookline, MA) on 11/07/2007

I am fascinated how people stay under an ice-cold shower for a prolonged time. But as a physician and somebody who is using cold water for all of her life, I want to say that one can reap the benefits of cold water also in a shorter time: Just ending a hot shower with a few seconds improves immunity, heart and lung health, boosts the mood. Ultimately about 20 to 30, but depending very much on age, fitness, body mass, time of the day, health status. We don't all have to be winter swimmers - but our modern life lacks the stimuli of the natural world we experienced in prehistoric times, and a short cold shower can restore some of our birthright. My new book "Health20" may help you and Mother Earth to better health (McGraw Hill, February 2007). No, it's not "Health Twenty" but "Health Two O" like in "H20" (water), and it tells you about the myriad health benefits of water - inside and outside, warm and cold. Because we haven't even dipped into the healing power in water! Water greetings! Alexa Fleckenstein M.D.

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by Eddie (Minneapolis, USA) on 10/24/2007

Taking cold showers in the morning is a good feeling. also at night with the cool fall air, open your windows and get the full benefit of your cold showers.

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by Brian (Irvine, California) on 09/03/2007

re: Cold Showers -- I just took 2 of them yesterday and they felt pretty good. The water probably isn't that cold since its summer and I'm in Southern California though.

I remember taking a cold shower one time right after a brisk run and that one felt amazing. Actually, I ran intensely for about 15 minutes, then quickly smoked a cigarette right after, and immediately ran in the house and took a cold shower. At first, I was just enjoying the cold water as a much as I could. I had severe palpitations but it felt wonderful. I wouldn't recommend this to anybody though since I'm guessing there is a risk of heart damage or failure. I haven't tried again since then either.

For the people who are wondering if they should try a cold bath or shower, they should consider how cold their cold water is. My cold water is not that cold right now because its 100F outside, so bath water may warm too quickly for me. But if your water is super cold - somewhere in South Argentina during this time - immersing your entire body in ice cold water might weaken your immune system too much. The shower provides a stream of water at a consistent controlled temperature and exposes only parts of your body to the cold at a time.

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by Adil (New York, USA) on 05/17/2007

I find taking cold showers hard (painful), but I discovered something that significantly helps: Bring a few ice cubes in a glass with you to the shower and keep an ice cube in your mouth as you shower. Take another when it melts.

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by Ryan (Lansing, MI) on 01/11/2007

I am LOVING the cold showers (in addition to the baking soda/molasses/acv cocktail, which is amazing as well).

I just wanted to share an insight: I'm still acclimating to taking cold showers, although I'm really starting to enjoy them. Something I HAVE noticed that may help others who can't imagine a cold shower is to slowly reduce the temperature of the water and, when it feels uncomfortable cold, to spray it on your underarms. Just put them right up by the shower head so they are taking the brunt of the spray. I don't know if it's the nature of the skin there, it's proximity to your vitals or what, but it takes the body "sting" out of the cold temperatures. Just a few seconds of armpit cold and you can start to enjoy the energy of it all.

Hope this helps others:)

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by JC (Colorado) on 11/23/2006

If you get a flexible shower head with a long extension you can spray the shower walls before and after you turn the water to cold and it helps to get used to it. I just started and am hoping to not have as many colds this year.

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by Emrah (Turkey-Ankara) on 09/25/2006

For 3 months i've been taking cold showers once in a day. My dad taught me that if you keep some water in your mouth while taking cold shower, you will avoid the trembling. Cold showers helps you learn faster. Look after yourself, you super human being.

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by Ahmad (Kansas City, Missouri) on 01/31/2006

Cold showers are not for everyone! Your body will tell you; shivering inconsolably like a pager on vibrate without acclimating. In this case, the potential good will have to be outweighed by your own mental well-being and stamina. But if you're those fortunate ones to stomach this midwinter dance, then try to make routine the targeting of the area under your arms (where the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems connect. This is a conduit point for blood flow and setoffs the body for a silent symphony of contractions between your bouts of frigid shower time.

Cold Shower Tips
Posted by Siva (Burlingame CA)

I somehow sensed that hot water was making me spend a lot of time in the shower. So I decided to have cold water shower, but I found it very difficult as I started showering but felt great by the end of the shower. As opposed to a hot water shower which feels great at the beginning and made me dull and drowsy by the time I stepped out, cold water felt scary and chilly in the beginning but got better and better, and made me feel fresh and energetic by the end of the shower.

I was looking for some info on cold water therapy a few months ago and I found this web page. Everyone's comments have helped me a lot. Let me add my 2 cents:

The most challenging part of the cold-water shower is the initial part of the shower, i.e. the first 10-30 secs. A few things that have helped me either some or all of the following:

1. Doing some mild exercise like skipping, jogging or push-ups just before taking the cold shower.
2. As mentioned about massaging the body with almond oil before taking shower.
3. Dancing in the shower while taking shower!
4. Starting with normal or luke warm water.

A cold shower causes a sudden increase in heart rate and breathing rate. So if we increase our heart rate and breathing by some mild exercise like the ones mentioned above, it really prepares us for the cold shower, and makes it pleasant throughout.

I start with a blast of moderately cold water and run it all over my body from head to toe as someone has mentioned. Then when I reach the feet, I make it colder. Then back to head, colder... Then I repeat a mantra 10 times keeping the water at head level. Back to torso and feet....repeat. Wow, that was cool.

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