Cold Showers & Mental Health

In the first part of this series I talked about some physical benefits of cold showers; better immunity, increased testosterone and reducing inflammation. Well the list doesn’t stop there. You can check out that blog by clicking here. 

 

Mental benefits

 

 There may also be some mental benefits to the cold shower too. Depression can be very restrictive on a person’s life and if you have struggled with, or are battling depression you are probably trying to find ways to mitigate the severity of it. A study at The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine indicated that cold showers may positively affect your body’s production of noradrenaline, a chemical that can help with depression, by firing up the ‘blue spot’ in the brain. Obviously depression is more complex than a cold shower being the solution. But, implementing as many strategies as possible is only going to help.

Poor sleep can make depressive symptoms worse, and depression can affect your sleep quality, which can be a vicious cycle leading to lower energy and lower mood. A cold shower in the morning can give you a boost of energy to get kick started, but a cold shower about an hour before bed can actually do the opposite and help you sleep! That’s because your body needs a cooler temperature to fall asleep, which is why sleep in the summer can be much more restless.

I find that conquering the cold first thing in the morning it is a great mental exercise. It assists in overcoming the feeling of discomfort that the water bestows. Although seemingly insignificant it somehow empowers you to face the day ahead

You will almost certainly find it hard to breathe in the colder water so focus on deep controlled breaths. This controls your heart rate and take your mind off of the discomfort. Life is full of difficulty and uncomfortable situations. Something as simple as starting your day with a cold shower can help fortify your mind and body to take life head on.

 

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Cold shower | Björn Söderqvist | Flickr

Could Cold Showers Be Good For you

It’s time to make friends with the cold. It may be hard to believe but there are quite a few benefits to having a cold shower. The idea of using cold water as a therapy has been around for thousands of years. Even after the Greeks developed running hot water for bathing they would still use cold bathing as a mental and physical therapy. Taking a dunk in an icy lake after a sauna is a common activity in Finland and the other Scandinavian countries and Rickson Gracie, a legend in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, would often sit in cold water as part of his training and recovery.

So what benefits might you gain from such a masochistic activity?

 

Physical benefits

 

The Thrombosis Research Institute of England put out a study with some evidence linking the increase in metabolism due to the body fighting the cold to a stimulation of the immune system, increasing white blood cell activity. The same study also indicates an increase in testosterone. A hormone essential for particularly for men in regard to libido, fertility, strength and energy, but also an essential hormone for similar reason in women.

Many athletes use various cold therapies to aid recovery and reduce inflammation caused by their training. Alternating between hot and cold in the shower can aid circulation. Because, cold water causes your body to restrict blood flow and send it to your organs and away from your extremities and hot water does the opposite.

Taking a cold shower daily can be a cheap (or should I say free) and less harmful (please read the warning at the end) than regularly taking anti-inflammatory pills if you suffer from chronic pain and inflammation.

 

Get started

 

I recommend you start by having a normal shower. Over the course of a week spend the final 15 seconds in a progressively cooler temperature until you are using the coldest possible water.

Then go from spending 15 seconds to 30, then 45, then 1 minute and so on. I have found that once you get used to the cold it is no longer a shock to your body. Then you can start to actually look forward to the cold!

An extra bonus is that you can save on your water bill as I guarantee you won’t be spending as long in the shower!

BE WARNED: if you suffer from heart disease or high blood pressure then this may not be for you. The shock of using cold water can put extra strain on the heart. Please take extra caution and try doing progressively cooler showers instead of going straight to cold.

 

Your Trusted Auckland Chiropractor

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Chiropractor Auckland

To Schedule your FREE CONSULTATION at Revolution Chiropractic E-mail or Call us on 09 418 3718.  

You can also book online here !


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164-365 (Year 6) Cold shower :( | My shower runs cold, a plu… | Flickr