Summer is the perfect time to introduce the benefits of cold showers. This may be a daunting or weird idea for you at first but after trying it you may get hooked.
I first read about cold showers, actually it was ice breast-dunking in Persepolis, a graphic novel written by Marjane Satrapi’s childhood growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution. Marjane would marvel at her grandmother’s ability to keep her breasts in a bucket of ice for 20 minutes or so to keep them firm and perky. Obviously, I was sold on the idea, perky boobs, yeees, plus I never shy away from eccentric healthy and beauty experiences. Well, I read this and I believed in it but I never actually tried the ice-boob dunk because I never had enough ice in the freezer.
Intuitively, I understood how cold ice or water would keep skin firm but what I didn’t know was that cold water also has profound benefits for detoxification of the inner organs, immunity, the endocrine system (glandular health) , and the nervous system, in other words, total rejuvenation!
Scientifically, here are the benefits of cold showers:
- Get that glow! Let’s be real, we want to feel healthy and amazing, but we also really want to exude that externally. While hot water opens up your pores, the skin wants cold water to close them back up to prevent bacteria, oil, and dirt from entering, thus causing acne. Cold water protects your natural oils from being stripped off the skin, which helps to keep your skin naturally supple. Cold water also tightens your blood vessels, which helps to reduce puffiness and promote tight, firm skin. Cold showers also keep your hair shiny and strong, in fact these showers are the best for those with thinning hair because the coldness increases the follicles grip to the scalp.
- Immunity Strengthener: when you’re taking a cold shower your body is trying to seek warmth quickly. By doing so, your metabolism speeds up causing your immune system to activate. Your immune system becomes stronger when your white blood cells (the ones that fight off disease) increase.* You can also alternate between hot and cold showers to release lymphatic blockages, this is especially helpful to those with colds, infections, and joint pain.
- Naturally reduces depression: cold showers stimulate norepinephrine, a brain chemical that can ward off depression. How? Cold showers “shock” the body, which sends a lot of electrical impulses from the peripheral nerve to the brain, which can offer an anti-depressant effect.
- Cold showers wake you up! It’s shocking, it’s cold, you become alert! Your heart rate increases, more oxygen gets pumped throughout your body and brain, and your circulation sends blood to your organs to keep them warm.
- Chills you out: cold showers train your nervous system to be more resilient to emotional stress as they help you to adapt to uneasy situations.
- Helps shed weight: Cold showers increase the energy used to burn calories that are trying to keep you warm thus helping to burn the fat that builds around the waistline.
Scary at first, right? You can ease into it by starting off with a warm shower, than to lukewarm, and then to cold for a few minutes. This helps your body adapt especially if you do this daily until you just go for it. Awesomely, you save water too.
In Invincible Living, Guru Jagat recommends dry brushing before the shower to begin heating the body and massaging almond or coconut oil over the body to create a “barrier” so that the cold water doesn’t feel too cold.
Try this out by starting at 30 seconds and then increasing to the time you feel most comfortable with. I think it’s sorta fun to challenge what I “can take” so I shoot for a little more each time. I enjoy this practice so much that I actually crave the thrill of it and knowing all the good stuff that is happening internally and externally is phenomenal.
Note* If you have a weakened immune system, you can also alternate between hot and cold showers to release lymphatic blockages. This is especially helpful to those with frequent colds, infections, and joint pain. You can do this until your immune system has strengthened.