Hot showers are one of the best life`s pleasures. But, what happens when you are the last one to shower or when someone flushes the toilet mid-shower? Well, this feeling is probably familiar to everyone, as much as uncomfortable it feels. Unfortunately, we have all been left covered in bone-chilling cold water at least once in our lives.
While we find ourselves shivering with anger in such moment, it turns out that it can be beneficial for our health. Often referred to as “Scottish Shower” or “James Bond Shower”, turning the temperature t cold at the end of the shower may offer amazing benefits for both the skin and the overall health.
The Benefits of a Cold Shower – Even For 30 Seconds
1. Refines Hair and Skin
Cold shower is one of the best natural ways to nourish your hair and maintain your appearance. Hot water tends to dry out the skin, while cold water tightens both the cuticles and pores, preventing them from getting clogged. Additionally, it can close the pores in the skin and scalp, which helps prevent dirt from getting in.
According to Jessica Krant, a board-certified dermatologist, ice-cold or lukewarm water helps prevent the skin from being deprived of its natural oils. While it tightens the skin by constricting the blood flow, it doesn’t shrink the pores.
As for hair care, cold showers make it look stronger, healthier, and shinier, as they flatten the hair follicles and boost their ability to take over the scalp.
2. Increases Alertness
Taking a cold shower right upon waking up seems horrifying. But, taking deep breaths in response to this shock helps increase the overall oxygen intake. In turn, the heart rate increases and releases a rush of blood throughout the body. Then, we experience an energy boost!
Katherine Hepburn, a famous Hollywood actress, started taking cold showers on a daily basis after being pushed by an eminent urologist and pioneer in social hygiene. She used to take ice-cold baths as child and continued to do so for the rest of her life.
3. Stimulates Weight Loss
Cold showers help stimulate weight loss in quite a surprising way. Our bodies are made of two types of fat tissue: white fat and brown fat. The first one is accumulated while eating more calories than the body needs to function properly.
This fat accumulates in the waist, lower back, thighs, and the neck, and it is one of the most difficult to get rid of. On the other hand, brown fat is good fat and it generates heat to keep the body warm. According to Joslin Diabetes Center, it is activated when the body is exposed to cold.
A 2009 study concluded that exposing the body to extremely cold temperatures activated brown fat in 23 subjects by a 15-fold increase. In other words, one could shed up to 9 pounds within a year thanks to this practice.
4. Improves Immunity and Circulation
Due to its ability to stimulate blood to surround the organs, cold water improves circulation, which in turn helps fights off various skin and heart-related problems.
Once cold water hits the body, it helps the blood move around and causes the arteries to pump blood more effectively. As explained by Dr. Joseph Mercola, this helps lower blood pressure, clear clogged arteries, boost immunity, and improve the overall health.
5. Relieves Depression
It has been scientifically shown that cold showers alleviate depression symptoms, thanks to its effect on the cold receptors in the skin, which sent vast amount of electrical impulses to the brain. In turn, this helps boost mood and provide an anti-depressive effect.
According to a 2008 study, cold hydrotherapy provides an analgesic effect, without any side effects or dependence. The treatment involved 1-2 cold showers of 38 degrees Fahrenheit, 2-3 minutes long, then followed by a 5-minute adaptation.
6. Eases Stress
Having a cold shower promotes hardening, boosts tolerance to stress and it even protects against disease. According to a 1994 study, subjects exposed to cold stimulus exhibited a drastic decrease in uric acid.
They also showed an increase in glutathione, the master antioxidant that keeps other antioxidants functioning optimally. The subjects who regularly swam in ice-cold water during the winter season adjusted to repeated oxidative stress.
7. Speeds Up Muscle Soreness and Recovery
Taking a cold shower right after a workout can be extremely effective in relieving muscle soreness. A 2009 study that assessed 17 trials involved 35 subjects who either rested or took a cold shower after workout, cycling, or running.
It was found that 24-minute cold shower was effective in alleviating sore muscles 1-4 days after exercises with a water temperature of 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, or 10 to 15 degrees Celsius.