Disclaimer: I just wanted to start by saying I am not a Doctor! I just found that cold showers have benefited me. Below is based on my personal experience. If you would like to try cold showers for yourself please do research and consult your doctor.
My experience with cold showers started after listening to the Skinny Confidential Podcast when she had Wim Hof on. They were talking about how they have been taking 3 minute cold showers in the morning, and how it has helped to make them feel more energized. The idea of taking cold showers to help improve your energy and health have been around for years but I never considered it.
The first day I tried the cold shower method I took it slow. I turned the water to just past warm so it was not freezing but also not warm. Set a timer for 3 minutes, turned on some music to distract myself and hopped in the shower. Not going to lie, when the cold water first hits your skin it’s not pleasant at all, I honestly almost hopped right back out and said screw this!!! To be honest, didn’t feel much different which was not very motivating to keep going with this but I was very determined.
For the next several days I took a 3 minute cold shower every other day. I turned the water a little colder each time. Now I have the water turned freezing cold and I can handle it no problem!! It’s been over two weeks since I have started and I am starting to feel the effects!! I come out of the shower feeling more energized and ready to start my day.
To give you an example, the other day I had a TON of work to get done but when I woke up I had zero motivation to do it. I worked out first and then I went and had my cold shower. Once I got out of that shower I was ready to go. I was way more focused on my work and was in a great mood. Taking cold showers may not be for everyone, but don’t knock it before you try it!
What I have Learned
If you are skeptical of this I don’t blame you! At first I did not believe it for myself but then I started doing research. I found an article written by Nikolai A. Shevchuk that talks about the effects on cold water on the nervous system.
She found the reason cold showers were helping is that the cold activates the sympathetic nervous system (your fight or flight system). The cold also helps to increases the blood levels of your sense of well being hormones (beta-endorphin). It also helps to increase your noradrenaline hormone which can increase blood pressure and sugar levels giving more energy to the body. (Source)
Cold water also has a hormetic effect (stress response) by forcing the body to recover normal core temperature after cooling. This can have beneficial effects on all systems and organs. Nikolai goes into more detail about how cold showers can improve depression in her article.(Source)
Since I have started taking cold showers the only benefit I have seen is more energy. There are other benefits cold showers are said to have. If you are curious about the other factors you can read this Healthline Article. If you would like me to do a follow-up post after a month of cold showers I would love too. Just comment below if you would like to see that.
There can be some side effects! Make sure that you are taking these showers in the morning because taking them at night could promote insomnia. Also don’t have a cold shower for an extended period of time as there can be side effects mentioned in the previous stated source. Nothing to be worried about just make sure they are no longer than 3-5 mins.
Shevchuk, N. A. (2008). Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression. Medical Hypotheses, 70(5), 995–1001. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2007.04.052