When I was in high school, I read an interview with a beautifully-aged Katherine Hepburn, who claimed that her number one beauty secret was taking cold showers. It sounded nuts to me at the time, but I was young and impressionable and decided to try it. I’ve been ending my showers with a cold rinse ever since, and these days, I can hardly imagine leaving the shower still warm
If you’re not used to them, the idea of taking a cold shower might seem like some kind of horrible, cruel joke.
But that’s just a modern fear! For a long time throughout history, humans bathed in cool rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. Many ancient societies, including the Greeks, bathed in cold water for physical, mental, and even spiritual benefits. Some people claim we’re not even biologically adapted to warm ~ or hot! ~ water and that bathing in it can damage our skin and immune systems.
And while it can’t be argued that mild, temperate water is neutral and won’t cause harm or good, there’s plenty of evidence that cold water can be good for our overall health and wellbeing!
A German farmer named Vincenz Priessnitz popularized the concept of “hydrotherapy” ~ bathing in cold water for health benefits ~ in the 1820s, and had Charles Darwin as a huge proponent, in addition to dukes and duchesses, counts and countesses. The easy and free benefits of hydrotherapy caused some tension between natural healers and modern (Western) medicine, who disregarded it as quackery; yet even today, the benefits can’t be disputed!
Some Benefits of Bathing in Cold Water
- Many modern athletes, in particular, take ice baths and cold plunges to help their bodies heal and become stronger.
- Cold water increases circulation, which helps the body to heal from injury and overuse, but also helps to sharpen your mental powers!
- It increases your metabolic rate and stimulates the immune system.
- It’s energizing!
- It makes your hair shiny and gives you glowing, rosy skin.
- It’s been claimed that cold showers alleviate depression.
- Bathing in cold water can increase hormone production and might help with fertility.
- Cold water even stimulates your lymphatic system to remove waste!
How to take a cold shower:
I probably don’t need to explain this in excruciating detail
Take a shower at your normal temperature. Gradually decrease the hot water and increase the cold water as your shower ends. Over time, you’ll be able to turn the hot water all the way off and enjoy the cold water for longer and longer periods. A word of warning, though ~ once you go cold, you might never go back!
Stuff to Know:
- This post is not intended as medical advice. If you are suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, an eating disorder, severe sleep disruption, or any other mental state that is causing concern to you or your loved ones, please seek the help of a professional.
- Those with high blood pressure, heart disease, or a fever should not take cold showers or baths. Keep the water temperate, instead.
Do you ever take cold showers?