Ever jumped in a cold body of water and suddenly felt a shock to your system? It definitely takes you by surprise, and that initial gasp, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and blood pressure are known as the cold shock response. But soon enough, you adjust, swim around, warm up and feel invigorated.
And that’s because for hundreds of years, humans around the world have been practicing cold therapy in some form or another. As far back as 3,000 to 5,000 BC, cultures that include the ancient Romans and Greeks, utilized cold therapy, and it's even mentioned in an ancient medical text known as the “Edwin Smith Papyrus.”
Circa current times, cold therapy is available in a variety of forms, from Whole Body Cryotherapy to polar plunges for charity. But for our purposes here, we’re taking a general look at waking up in the morning, and opting for a cold shower over a hot shower.
Why would I want to take a cold shower?
1. For the same reason as jumping into a cold body of water: It wakes you up!
Cold water sends electric impulses to your brain, which jolt your system to increase alertness, clarity and energy levels. Endorphins are also released, providing for a feeling of wellbeing. This not only wakes you up; it may provide you with an anti-depressive effect. And in clinical trials, cold showers for up to five minutes, two to three times a week, relieved symptoms of depression.
2. It may help improve metabolism
As your system struggles to maintain core temperature, it expends energy and burns calories. Repeated exposures to cold water can even out hormone levels and heal the gastrointestinal system, which could lead to weight loss.
3. It improves circulation
Water that’s colder than our normal body temperature causes our body to work harder to maintain its core temperature. If you’ve jumped in cold water and felt like you’ve immediately gone into a cardio workout, you've recognized the increased circulation. Repeated exposure to cold showers can make our circulatory systems more efficient.
4. It builds immunity
Leukocytes are blood cells manufactured in bone marrow and found in blood and lymph tissue. When you take a cold shower, you stimulate leukocytes in the bloodstream to help fight off common illnesses, like colds and flu. Meanwhile, a study in the Netherlands found that cold showers led to a 29% reduction in people calling out of work, so unless you really hate your job, cold showers could make you more immune-hardened for the daily grind.
And in case cold showers sound like a terrible idea (trust us, we understand), you can also mimic the good effects of cold showers by visiting Restore for our Whole Body and Local Cryotherapy. It’s less of a shock to the system since it’s dry, and it will provide you with a good Instagram post!