Cold Shower Benefits: Ancient Rituals and Modern Health Boosts

Cold Baths

7 User Reviews
5 star (6) 
1 star (1) 

Posted by Doris (Murfreesboro, Tennessee) on 09/01/2007

To answer Araeshkigal from Hurst, TX regarding cold baths. I took one several years ago because I heard it would help the immune system. Well, I got the flu and missed work for a week. I haven't tried the cold showers yet. I'm afraid I'll get sick again.

Replied by Matt
(Murfreesboro, TN)

You can't get the flu from being cold, whether the coldness was induced by bath or shower; hence the influenza "virus."

Replied by Leon
(Wichita, Kansas)

I have never had the flu from taking cold baths. It is almost impossible. With nasal irrigation along with cold baths, you are less likely to get a cold, much less the flu.

Replied by Jane
(Los Angeles, Ca)

I think that the shock to the system can weaken an already weakened immune system. This is what happened to me one day when I went to a Korean spa in K-town. Except I went from dunking for 5 minutes in the mugwort tea pool (amazing but about 105 Farenheit) to the cold pool and plunged in. I almost fainted from the dizziness. It was not a smart thing to do. Any rate, the next day I had a terrible flu. Drastic temperature fluctuations are not healthy to the body I reckon.

Replied by Shaq
(Raleigh, North Carolina)

I think that is because you were in a foreign country maybe its ironic because everyone else that posted has been fine. Also it's possible that you already had the flu. It can take days before the symptoms of the flu start to show. And please explain to me EXACTLY how a cold bath can weaken the immune system.

Cold Baths
Posted by Araeshkigal (Hurst, TX) on 02/16/2007

I first started taking cold showers as a suggested remedy for migraines. It more than worked. It also helped alleviate skin breakouts, regular muscle cramping, and some blood pressure issues (I changed nothing else in diet or exercise to be sure this was what was having the effects) I find it's best to start barely warm and slowly get to cold. If you can't stand ice cold at first just go "on the cool side" till you get a tolerance. You don't have to *freeze* to get the benefits. Also I find cold baths do *not* have the same therapeutic effect as cold showers (anyone else?)

Replied by Leon
(Wichita, Ks)

Actually I find that cold baths have a more soothing effect on my body than cold showers and I don't have to have it frigid cold and I get the same benefits.

Cold Shower Side Effects

1 User Review
1 star (1) 

Posted by Scott (New York, NY) on 01/30/2008

Cold Showers: I've tried them a number of times the last few weeks and I keep getting headaches, stomach aches and back aches. It doesn't look like it works for me.

Replied by Leon
(Wichita, Kansas)

I agree. The shower does cause me stomach pains, headaches, especially around the sinus area, and lower back pains. When I took the cold bath, the pains seem to go away. May I suggest the cold bath? It works for me, maybe it'll work for you.

Replied by Leon
(Wichita, Ks)

Well now I am back to taking cold showers again and I'll tell'ya. No stomach pains or anything else. I am not sure what it could be. Maybe my body's used to the cold showers rather than the cold baths.

Cold Shower Tips

16 User Reviews
5 star (15) 

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 Alice (Reims, France) on 12/01/2008

Hello Everybody,

I have been fascinated by the experiences shared on this forum concerning cold showers. I am a design student developing a project to encourage people to have cold showers in order to consume less water (and energy) resources.

I would like to pose this forum some questions in order to help me design the best environment to take cold showers:

1. What type of materials do you feel is the most suitable for the environment in which to take a cold shower?(wood, glass, metal etc) and colours?

2. Is there a preference for a fixed or moveable showering head?

3.What is the average length of shower? (in minutes)

4. What do you like to do directly after taking a cold shower?

5. Is using soap and shampoo an issue when taking cold showers?

6. Taking a cold shower is a vigourous affair...I sometime knock my elbows on the side of the shower. What dimensions would ideally suit 'cold showering'

7. Is it disirable to have special 'non-skid' surfaces, special taps?

Any thoughts you would wish to share regarding these questions would be wildly appreciated.
Cordialement, Alice

Replied by Paul
(Uxbridge, MA)

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 11/07/2007

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.

Replied by Alexa Fleckenstein M.D.
(Brookline, MA)

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".

Replied by Lisa
(Lafayette, Lah)

Dear Dr. Fleckenstein:

I have your book, and as I read it, the one thing that stood out is your constant reference to your belief that we have evolved from specks in the ocean to the complex, awesome human beings that we are now. You repeat that over and over, and in my opinion, it makes it harder to take anything else that you say seriously. You can't really believe that nonsense. God did not make specks in the ocean that aren't still there today. We are made in his image, and He certainly isn't a speck.

Now, as for cold showers, I have begun taking them, and they are invigorating. My hair is definitely shinier. Thank goodness I'm not a speck, or a shower of any temperature would just wash me right down that big ole drain.

Cold showers, after a warm one, are highly recommended for more energy, and whatever it does inside my complex, wonderfully, fearfully made body that I can't see!

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 Remy (Buffalo, NY) on 09/22/2007


Please tell website users that they have to be very careful if they have low body weight and use the "cold shower" method to alleviate depression. I have low blood circulation and several health problems because I am suffering and losing to an eating disorder. Cold showers can be dangerous!

For people who are "underweight" it may be a good idea by slowly decreasing the temp. each time you take a shower, followed by taking your temperature afterward.

Core Temp. Side Effect
95 Shivering
90 Confusion
85 Lethargic
80 Coma
78 Death

Measuring the length of the shower is important, as the longer you expose your self to cold water, the lower your body temperature will drop.

I hope this helps, and as always; if you think you may have an eating disorder, you may have one, or develop one!

Replied by Leon
(Wichita, Ks)

I weigh 162 lbs., medium build, and have never had hyperthermia from a cold shower. Maybe it's because when I shower I wet my head and i feel this warmth when i get out. You should try that. It makes take a cold shower easier.

Replied by Henry
(Texas, Tx)

162 lbs with a medium build is far from being underweight with an eating disorder. People that are underweight with eating disorders would have a frail build and closer to 70-100 lbs.

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.

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