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Hot or warm showers are part of most people’s daily routine, while cold showers are usually restricted to rare occasions when we are craving to cool off in the middle of boiling summer days. And all this is not surprising: letting warm water run down your back gives a relaxing sensation which makes showering a lot more appealing, even tempting after a long and stressful day. Did you know though that showering every day with 35 or even 40 degrees water is not good for your health? You do much more for your immune system and your skin by introducing cold showers into your daily routine.
Why regular hot showers are unhealthy?
There is one scientific fact that everyone who has ever washed a dish knows about hot water, which is that hot water degreases much more efficiently. Try washing a really yucky plate with freezing cold water and you’ll see: nothing will happen.
But what does this have to do with your health? As you might know, a thin layer of sebum (an oily substance) covers the skin, which keeps it naturally hydrated, makes it waterproof and protects it from bacteria. So, whenever you take a hot shower, as a result of the degreasing potential of hot water, you damage this thin layer of sebum and make your skin much more vulnerable and sensitive for the cold and diseases. If the amount of sebum is not sufficient, your epidermis gets dehydrated and loses its elasticity, which will result in tiny little cracks appearing on the surface of your skin. Does this description sound familiar? Much like your hands and facial skin in wintertime?
Well, this is where regular cold showers can help, especially in cold weather. Challenging yourself with standing under freezing water might not bring you the most relaxing showering experience, but it will help your skin prepare for the cold weather and stay hydrated throughout the year. Read on and find out how exactly.
Benefits of taking cold showers
In order for it to be worth the sensation of being poked with a thousand needles, showering with cold water must have some extraordinary benefits to convince people they should opt for them regularly. Unlike the alkaline water trend, cold showers actually live up to the hype. In an experiment of just 30 days, a study of over 3000 participants showed that a hot-to-cold shower regimen results in a 29% reduction in sickness. Now let’s just collect the most important benefits of regularly taking cold showers. Among other things, cold showers
How to get started?
If you are seriously considering introducing cold showers into your daily routine – which you definitely should, there are many different ways to get started. Which method you choose depends entirely on your personality.
If you are a real go getter, the next time you take a shower, set the temperature to the coldest possible right at the beginning, and try to do everything the way you usually do it in case of a regular shower. You are probably going to notice that you finish showering much faster and that you use a lot less water (hurray for the planet!). Later on, try gradually extending the amount of time you spend standing under cold water.
If you do not like quick changes, it is also ok to decrease the water temperature gradually (either day by day or during the shower). This way, it is not going to be such a shock, but you can still enjoy the benefits of cold water.
Another method you can try is quickly alternating between warm and cold water. Start off by simply ending your showers with a splash of cold and work your way up to a full 30 seconds. Then when you are ready, alternate 30 seconds hot and 30 seconds cold for 3 rounds. By the 3rd round there is no more screaming, and you may even find yourself leaving the cold on longer just to show yourself how tough you've gotten. Pro tip, start a 30 second interval timer before you hop in. This is exactly how Judit does it after a workout and a sauna session. More about saunas in a future article. Over time you will find it easier to handle the cold periods longer and longer, until finally you will be able to leave out the warm periods altogether. This not only builds your immune system, helps you reach your glow potential but it also builds character.
Want to go even further? Try the Wim Hof method!
After having tried taking regular cold showers, if you like its effects, there is always room for further development. Have you heard of the Wim Hof method? The method itself is named after its inventor: Wim Hof, the “iceman”, who, with long years of work and research, developed a method that helps people around the world live a healthier and more balanced life. The method combines 3 pillars: cold therapy, breathing and commitment. You can find step-by-step descriptions and instructions about how to properly practice the Wim Hof method, in order to enjoy the benefits of it, which include:
Find out more about the Wim Hof method on the official website,
or from this TED talk:
When should you NOT take cold showers?
In case you are already cold, it might not be the best idea to stand under freezing water, as it will just further lower your body temperature and make the process of warming back up a lot longer.
The same goes if you are sick, as extremely cold temperatures will not help your already weakened immune system in the recovery process. Wait until you get better, and start taking cold showers again only if you feel at 100% again.
Start living a healthier life today!
Every beginning is difficult, but they do not always lead to such beneficial endings. If you are up for a new challenge and want to improve your general well-being, cold showers are just the right thing for you. The first few days may be difficult, but after getting used to this new sensation, the numerous benefits of cold showers will quickly outweigh the temporary discomfort you might feel at first. Give it a try, because this is something you will not regret!
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