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Learn To Love Cold Showers

An Icy Sprinkle Sprays Health Benefits

Cold Shower Health Benefits

By Jessica Scarpati –

Ever thought about ditching your warm, cozy shower for a blast of cold water instead? Not many have, but there’s a reason ― several, in fact ― that cold showers are hot these days. Most of us don’t have the time or freezer space to make a daily ice bath feasible (unless you’re billionaire Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who swears by the practice). Nonetheless, it turns out that adding even just 30 seconds of cold water to the end of your regular shower can still allow you to reap the benefits of turning the temperature down.

From boosting moods to improving immune systems, cold showers have been shown to benefit both physical and mental health. And the sudden discomfort of the whole ordeal is what makes it so effective.

“Our modern Western culture has provided an unprecedented level of thermal comfort. Central heating, air conditioning, readily available hot water, insulated housing and clothing wrap modern humans in a constant comfortable environment that is a long way from the evolutionary crucible in which our genes were selected,” wrote researchers of a 2021 study that found young adults who took a 20-minute dip in the ocean reported significant improvements in their mood afterward. “An increasing body of anecdotal evidence and academic evidence suggests that environmental stress that challenges our body’s thermal equilibrium may produce significant health benefits.”

Although experts say cold water is far from a cure for conditions like anxiety and depression, it can have a real effect on your mood when you’re feeling tense, stressed or distracted.

“Think of it as a mini ‘shock’ to your system,” a New York-based primary care physician Dr. Majdoline Jayoushe told Vogue. “When you’re in cold water, your brain is too busy focusing on making the unpleasant sensation go away rather than thinking about all the reasons you are unhappy or stressed. It helps you get out of your head.”

How does it work? The sudden shock of cold sends the body into survival mode, stimulating a release of the stress hormones noradrenaline and cortisol. As a result, at first, it may feel like you’re having a panic attack as the classic “fight-or-flight” symptoms set in. But then there’s the payoff: Feel-good hormones such as dopamine, endorphins and serotonin flood the brain.

“Some studies have also reported increases in brain chemicals that regulate mood, such as dopamine, following a cold soak, which may explain the post-swim ‘high’ people feel,” according to The New York Times. “In addition, putting your face in cold water can activate the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, which prompts the body to relax after a stressful event.”

Besides being a polar pick-me-up, there’s evidence to suggest a regular shiver in the shower can also keep the sniffles away. A 2016 Dutch study asked 3,000 healthy people to follow their usual warm shower with a 30-, 60- or 90-second blast of cold water every day for a month. By the end of the study, they had 29 percent fewer sick days compared to a control group.

Although the reason for this isn’t fully understood, the effects of a cold shower on achy muscles are. As the body tries to maintain its core temperature under an arctic blast, the blood vessels constrict and start directing more oxygenated blood and nutrients to the vital organs.

“One of the most well-known benefits of cold showers is their ability to boost circulation and reduce inflammation,” explains Texas Health. “Once you get out of the cold water, your blood vessels open up, allowing oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to return to your tissues to help remove waste products, such as lactic acid buildup, that could delay healing if left to sit in the muscles. This can be especially helpful for people with conditions like arthritis or muscle soreness.”

However, the very same mechanism can spell danger for people with heart conditions, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

“This does impact your sympathetic nervous system, and so anyone who has heart issues, concerns about arrhythmias and abnormal heart rhythms should avoid cold showers,” warned Dr. Melissa Young, MD, a functional medicine specialist with Cleveland Clinic.





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