I recently came across an article on Wim Hof. If you’ve never heard of him before, he’s known as the Ice Man and you only have to do a quick search on YouTube, to find loads on his methods for cold showers, ice baths, breathing techniques and more…
But, before we look at the benefits of cold showers for the mind and body (including your skin!), the methods to get started and who they’re good for, it’s very important to look at who they’re NOT suitable for.
Cold showers may not be suitable for those with certain medical conditions or if you’re pregnant. It’s always a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your self-care routine. If you have any existing or previous medical conditions or if you’re in any doubt, speak to your GP before you give cold showers a try.
What are the benefits of having a cold shower?
Taking cold showers can have several potential benefits for your health and well-being. Here are some of them:
Improved circulation: Cold water can cause your blood vessels to constrict, which can increase blood flow and help your body deliver oxygen and nutrients to your cells more efficiently.
Reduced inflammation: Cold water can help reduce inflammation in your body, which can help alleviate pain and promote healing.
Boosted immune system: Cold water exposure can stimulate your immune system, increasing the production of white blood cells and other immune cells.
Increased alertness and energy: Cold showers can help wake you up and increase your energy levels, thanks to the stimulating effect of cold water on your body.
Improved skin and hair health: Cold water can help tighten your skin and close your pores, which can reduce acne and other skin problems. It can also help make your hair look shinier and healthier.
Reduced stress and anxiety: Cold water exposure can trigger the release of endorphins and other feel-good hormones, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. (More on this below)
What is a good routine for taking cold showers?
Start gradually: If you’re not used to cold showers, it’s important to start gradually. Begin by turning the water to a slightly cooler temperature than you’re used to, and gradually decrease the temperature over time. This will give your body time to adjust to the cold water.
Set a timer: It can be helpful to set a timer for your shower so that you don’t stay in too long. A cold shower for 2-3 minutes is usually enough to experience the benefits without overstaying your welcome.
Breathe deeply: Breathing deeply and calmly can help you relax and adjust to the cold water. Try taking slow, deep breaths as you step into the shower and as you continue to stand under the water.
Focus on your body: Rather than trying to distract yourself from the cold water, try to focus on the sensations in your body. Pay attention to how the water feels on your skin and the sensations in your muscles.
End with warm water: If you find it too difficult to take a full cold shower, try ending your shower with a blast of cold water. This can still provide many of the benefits of a full cold shower while making the transition easier.
Remember to listen to your body and adjust your routine as needed. If you feel lightheaded or uncomfortable, it’s important to stop and warm up. With time and practice, you can establish a good routine for taking cold showers and experience the many benefits they offer.
Who can benefit from taking cold showers?
Cold showers can provide a number of benefits for people of all ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels. Some potential groups of people who may benefit from taking cold showers include:
Athletes and fitness enthusiasts: Cold showers can help reduce inflammation and soreness in the muscles, aiding in recovery after a workout or competition.
People with chronic fatigue: Cold showers have been shown to increase alertness and energy levels, making them a potential aid for those with chronic fatigue.
Those with skin conditions: Cold showers can help improve circulation and reduce inflammation, making them a potential aid for those with skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. (More on this below)
Those with high blood pressure: Cold showers have been shown to help lower blood pressure, making them a potential aid for those with hypertension.
People looking to improve their mental health: Cold showers have been shown to have a positive effect on mood and can potentially help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Are cold showers good for your skin?
The advice on this website does not constitute medical advice and is for information purposes only. Always consult a GP before making any changes to your diet or fitness routine.