If you are someone who loves to steam up the bathroom mirror with a long, hot shower, a cold shower might sound crazy. But while cold showers are probably not your preference, there are many cold shower benefits to consider before writing them off completely.
There are benefits to both hot and cold showers, depending on your individual circumstances. A hot shower can definitely be relaxing after a long day, but a cold shower can help jump start your morning, soothe sore muscles, and much more.
Keep reading to learn the benefits of cold showers for men and women as well as the best methods for a cold shower.
Cold Shower Benefits for Your Health
For a lot of people, cold showers are an unfortunate side effect for being the last to shower after all the hot water is gone. You may be surprised to learn, though, that there are people out there who take cold showers on purpose. In fact, there are some circumstances where health professionals actually recommend taking a cold shower instead of a hot shower.
People have been using water therapy methods for hundreds of years, including bathing or showering in cold water. While chilly showers are not considered treatment for any specific ailment or illness, cold shower benefits can provide symptom relief in some cases and improve your overall well being.
But what does a cold shower do to your body? And are cold showers actually good for you? We’ve rounded up the top health benefits of cold showers for men and women below.
Wake Up Faster
If you struggle to get out of bed in the morning and start your day, a cold shower may be the kickstart you need. It is probably not surprising that cold showers can serve as a shock to your system. The cold spray of water can help increase your heart rate and oxygen intake. It can also help you feel more alert.
Cold showers can even help improve your mood in the morning by increasing endorphins. Just five minutes in a cold shower two or three times per week can help alleviate symptoms of depression and increase your energy levels. Even if you dread taking a cold shower, it can improve your overall well being and increase your level of optimism.
Soothe Your Skin
If you have sensitive or itchy skin, one of the best cold shower benefits for skin is that cool water can help combat the urge to scratch. For some people with skin conditions, cold showers can be added into their daily routine to alleviate symptoms and calm the skin. It is important to always talk to your doctor before making a drastic change in your routine, but they might be able to shed more light on the benefits of cold showers for your specific condition.
Cold water can be uncomfortable, but it can also boost your circulation and leave you feeling invigorated. Improved circulation is one of the top cold shower benefits and is why cold showers are often recommended by experts. Blood vessels near the surface of your body constrict when they are met with cold water in order to maintain the right body temperature, and your blood has to circulate faster.
The cold temperature of the water can get the circulatory system in gear, which reduces inflammation and can even help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Reduce Muscle Soreness
You will often find hot tubs and steam rooms at the gym, leading you to believe that hot water therapy is the best medicine after a workout. However, if you’ve done a particularly challenging workout, a cold shower might be the best treatment to reduce muscle soreness. Think of it as an easier-to-accomplish version of the ice baths many pro athletes take after a game or training session.
Cold water can help your muscles relax, allowing them to repair themselves after your workout. Still, it’s important to note that cold water therapy may not always be the best fit for workout or athletic injuries, and you should consult your doctor before choosing a therapy.
Promote Weight Loss
One of the top cold shower benefits is that they can help promote weight loss and improve your metabolism. Along with appropriate diet and exercise, cold showers can help give your metabolism a boost and contribute to weight loss.
While the weight loss benefits of cold showers are still being researched, many experts agree that taking a cold shower two or three times during the week can contribute to weight loss. Cold showers can also impact your hormone levels and gastrointestinal system, leading to more effective weight loss.
Improve Hair Health
The evidence regarding the impact of cold showers on your hair is mainly anecdotal, but some experts believe that cold showers can improve the health of your hair. Hot water can dry out the sebum layer, which protects your hair and provides natural lubrication. Cold showers, on the other hand, do not dry out the sebum layer. Cold showers can also strengthen the cuticles of your hair, which can cause your hair to become stronger over time.
When Should You NOT Take a Cold Shower?
If you are already cold, a cold shower is probably not best. The cold water temperature will do nothing to help you warm up and you could cause your body to become colder, making it more difficult to get warm. If you are sick or recently released from the hospital, you should probably skip a cold shower as well. Cold water temperatures can be tough on your immune system, and a cold shower could lead to worsened symptoms.
Keep in mind that for many cold shower benefits, science is still not definitive and cold showers cannot replace your existing treatment or medication prescribed by your doctor. It is also important to talk to your doctor about the specific benefits and risks cold showers can have for your health before creating a habit of taking cold showers.
Best Ways to Take Advantage of Cold Shower Benefits
Many experts recommend easing into a cold shower, especially if you are new to the habit. Take your shower like normal and start lowering the water temperature at the end. When the water is cold enough that you start to feel uncomfortable, leave the temperature alone and stand under the water for about three minutes.
When standing in a cold shower, remember to take deep breaths. Each time you try a cold shower, you can make the water a little bit colder or stay under the water for a minute or two longer. After about 10 times, it will be easier to take a cold shower and you won’t have to start with warm water anymore.
Wim Hof Method
Another common strategy for incorporating cold shower benefits into your daily life is the Wim Hof Method. Wim Hof, a Dutch extreme athlete often called The Iceman, founded the method after breaking cold exposure records. His method is built on three pillars: breathing, cold therapy, and commitment.
The Wim Hof Method is a popular health practice that includes cold therapy. The method involves exposure to cold and is designed to help improve fat loss, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, and produce endorphins. While there is a whole course that details Wim Hof cold therapy techniques, you can get started with just a cold shower.
Best Temperature for a Cold Shower
A cold shower is considered to be any shower with a water temperature below 70°F. There are several research studies which conclude that about 68°F is the ideal or target temperature to get the most cold shower benefits. However, you may not start with the water this cold right off the bat. It is important to slowly expose yourself to the cold water and find the right temperature for your body.
How Long Should a Cold Shower Be?
Cold showers do not have to last long. Just five to 10 minutes is usually long enough to reap the benefits of a cold shower. When you first start taking cold showers, you may find that you only last about 30 seconds in the cold water. It is perfectly fine to take a quick cold shower of 30 seconds to two minutes when you are starting out. Over time, you can lengthen the amount of time you spend under the cold water.
Enhance Your Cold Shower Experience
Not all cold showers are created equal. If you have an old or outdated shower head, you could be experiencing fewer cold shower benefits.
A quality handheld shower head can ensure you make the most of your cold shower experience, allowing you to better control the direction of the water. A rain shower head, on the other hand, can give you a fully immersing shower with wide coverage — maximizing the cold shower benefits.
A newer shower head can also ensure you get the water pressure you want, whether you want a multi-function shower head that allows you to vary the spray or you’re looking for a low-flow shower head to use less water.
No matter what your cold shower needs, visit The Shower Head Store today to find the perfect handheld shower head to enhance your cold showers.
Healthline - healthline.com/health/cold-shower-benefits
Medical News Today - medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327461
Wim Hof Method - https://www.wimhofmethod.com/practice-the-method