What Can Cold Showers Do For You?

Cold+showers+may+be+unpopular%2C+but+the+habit+has+its+benefits.+Photo+by+Jill+Burrow+on+Pexels.

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Cold showers may be unpopular, but the habit has it’s benefits. Photo by Jill Burrow on Pexels.

C. Andrews, Managing Editor

When I go to take a shower, I always turn the temperature almost to its maximum heat. I love showers at hot temperatures, so the entire bathroom steams up. I’ve done this since I was little. 

A few months ago, however, I saw a TikTok where a woman was trying to adapt to taking cold showers because she read online that showers below 70 degrees Fahrenheit bring your stress levels down. This made me curious. I started to research online and began experimenting with the theory myself; from then on, I’ve been taking cold showers. 

Before this, I would only take cold showers when I had no other option–it was usually either a summer camp running out of hot water or a situation where all the hot water was gone or unavailable. Now, I take these showers willingly. 

Here’s what I’ve found through my research and my first-hand experience:

Blood Circulation

Cold showers improve your blood circulation. For example, athletes often use cold water for healing after a sports injury. This is also why someone uses ice to break down the swelling and inflammation when they tear a muscle or experience other types of injuries. By bringing body temperatures down, freshly-oxygenated warm blood arrives quicker. This can speed up injury recovery times. People with bad circulation, such as those with high blood pressure and diabetes, may benefit from this.

Skin

Water that is colder than our body temperatures causes our bodies to work harder towards maintaining its natural temperature. This is why, when done regularly, low-temperature showers can increase the efficiency of our circulatory systems. There are also claims that this better circulation results in better-looking skin. 

Metabolism

Metabolism involves breaking down the foods we eat. Our bodies gain energy through the sugars, fats, and amino acids in our food. These compounds also have many other functions, such as building new cell structures. 

Most of our fat is white fat, which stores extra energy. When someone has too much white fat, they risk obesity, heart disease, and similar conditions. Brown fat also plays an essential part in our health. Once activated by exposure to cold temperatures, this fat breaks down molecules to help maintain body temperature. Since cold temperatures activate brown fat, it directly relates to your metabolism. This may help fight obesity over time as researchers have been harnessing brown fat’s activity to treat metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity.

Illness and Mental Health 

In addition, there have been indications that cold water can help your resistance to common illnesses. This is because hard water stimulates leukocytes, which help fight infection in the body. Healthline’s study even linked cold showers to certain types of cancer resistance being improved. A similar indication came from a clinical trial in the Netherlands that showed a 29% reduction in people calling off sick from work. 

Researchers found that cold showers may work towards relieving symptoms of depression, and others believe it could be used as hydrotherapy for people with anxiety disorders. However, both these fields need further research.

Risks

While cold showers benefit health, they are not something to rush into lightly. It takes some time for the body to adjust to it. 

While cold showers improve your circulation, they also raise your blood pressure and your heart rate; that’s a dangerous change for individuals with heart issues. Experts also believe that your body’s shocked reaction to a sudden burst of cold water adds stress to your heart, which could lead to an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia. And, of course, anybody who has been sick recently should not take cold showers because of the strain put onto the immune system. 

Even though cold showers may help with depression or anxiety, turning down the temperature is not an instant cure. Anybody taking medication for their mental illness should not turn to cold showers as a replacement for their current treatment.