Are Cold Showers Good For Your Health?

Are Cold Showers Good For Your Health?

Listen to any number of podcasts these days and you’ll likely hear someone talk about their ice bath or cold plunge. Health gurus and average Joes alike swear that submerging their bodies in cold water promotes better mood, more energy, heightened recovery, and less anxiety. The benefits may change from person to person, but one thing is for certain: cold plunges are not accessible to everyone. 

It’s safe to say that the average person doesn’t have a few thousand dollars to drop on a cold plunge. It’s also safe to say that nobody wants to go buy bags of ice at the store every day, nor do they want to buy a commercial-grade ice maker for a makeshift cold plunge. That begs the question: can you achieve the same benefits by standing in a cold shower? Experts believe that cold showers count as a form of cryotherapy, so long as the temperature is cold enough (between 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of cryotherapy. 

It May Boost Metabolism

When you expose the body to cold temperatures, you can increase the metabolic rate and activate brown adipose tissue, both of which aid weight management. According to a 2022 study, immersing the body in cold water seems to transform adipose tissue, in addition to reducing insulin resistance. The combination of these benefits may also have a positive effect on cardiovascular health and metabolic diseases. 

It May Enhance Circulation

Doctors explain that cold exposure prompts immediate vasoconstriction followed by vasodilation, which improves blood flow to all organs. That is why a lot of people use cold plunges to accelerate exercise recovery. Although cold seems to reduce muscle soreness, it is unclear if the cold benefits muscle function. Improving circulation, regardless of athletic level, is beneficial. When you improve blood flow throughout the body, you help deliver fresh blood and oxygen to major organs, which helps them function optimally.

It May Beautify You

Cryotherapy will not turn back the hands of time, but it may positively impact your hair and skin. Cold water seals hair cuticles and helps lock moisture into hair strands. Additionally, the cold helps the scalp retain moisture content, while hot water strips it of its natural oils. The cold temperature strengthens hair cuticles to strengthen them and keep them healthy over time. Cold temperatures may also benefit people with inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea. Hot water can dry out the skin and cause slushing, which may pronounce redness in those struggling with it already.

It Can Encourage A Breathwork Practice

When you are in the cold, you have to steady your mind and control your breath. The power of controlling your breath can help you embrace the cold and know how to stay calm in the water. When you can control your breath, you can regulate your stress and stay calm in extreme conditions, such as the frigid water. The more you expose the body to cold and breathe through it, the easier it becomes. 

Are Cold Showers Cold Enough? 

Most of the existing research on cold water immersion therapy is focused on cold plunging or being in a cryochamber for a few minutes. Some studies have found that cold showers are a legitimate form of cryotherapy, provided the water temperature can be between 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Some experts believe that cold showers fall under the cold water immersion umbrella.

Getting in a cold shower will have a similar effect to entering a cold lake, ocean, or pool. You don’t get cold as quickly as if you were to enter a cold plunge, but you can still reap some benefits. The last thing to remember is to have access to a heat source after stepping out of the cold shower, so that you can bring up the body’s core temperature to normal range. If you don’t bring core temperature back up after any type of cold immersion therapy, you increase the risk of hypothermia. 

How Long Do You Remain In The Cold Shower?

Typically, you remain in a cold plunge or cryochamber for three minutes. Since a shower does not get as cold, how long do you stand in the water? One study found that 10 minutes of cold exposure can aid muscle recovery, but that’s a long time to just let water run. If you want to reap the brain boosting benefits, the study found that you may only need five minutes or less in the cold. Other research says that two to three minutes of cold exposure is sufficient. Start off with less time in the cold and gradually increase the time.

2024-04-05T14:26:15-07:00

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