Many people prefer warm showers to cold showers. However, some studies have shown that using cold water may be beneficial to physical and mental health.
A lot of the research into the benefits of cold showers suggests that the water does not necessarily need to be cold for the entire duration of the shower for the person to experience positive effects. A person can start by taking a warm shower and then switching the water to cold for a brief time. This could be anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
The act of engulfing your body into cold water triggers a fight or flight response, releasing a surge of ‘stress hormones,’ including cortisol, norepinephrine, and adrenaline (the adrenal hormone that raises your spirits). Cold water can also make us feeling invigorated and energized. Part of this is due to the release of endorphins that help lead to feelings of well-being and optimism
Researchers have found that taking icy showers may heighten your immune system and make you more resistant to illness. A clinical trial in the Netherlands found that cold showers led to a 29% reduction in people calling off sick from work. Also, exposing our bodies to extreme temperature can create 'positive stress' and help relieve negative mental tension. In essence, the idea is that positive stress methods help you build up tolerance, so that day-to-day stresses seem less challenging.
Cold showers can also stimulate blood flow, essentially forcing our heart to pump more efficiently. Improved circulation means better heart health, mental performance, immune system and metabolism. If you are pregnant, suffer from a heart condition or have any illness that impairs immunity, it is NOT recommended to start cold showers without consulting your physician first.
Are you brave enough to try to turn the taps to cold?