From the time I remember being able to take a shower on my own , perhaps more than 25 years back, I’ve always had a bath with Hot water. If ever the water heater broke down, I didn’t have a bath. If it was too cold, I didn’t have a bath. I would also laugh at and make fun ( in my mind 😛 ) of people who would have a bath with Cold water… At times I’d wonder, Who!!? in their right mind and Why??!! would he/she inflict this useless pain and discomfort of spraying their Body with Cold Water when Hot water is so easily available .. I never got an answer from most, except a simple ” It’s good for health”.. So I never bothered trying .. until recently when I came across the phenomenon, did some research on it, tried it, felt the benefits and have now been doing cold showers for over 3-4 months including the Winters.
Excited to share with you, the several benefits & the single most important one that I’ll be elaborating more on shortly.
Let me list down the basic benefits first :
- Improved Immunity due to controlled Stressors in the Hormetic Zone: Hormesis or The Hormetic Zone of providing any Stress to the body in any way is the zone which operates in just the right amount of stress (typically lower amounts) to generate a favorable Biological adaptive response to the Stress and thus resulting in better conditioning over a period of time. Thus, Cold therapy in the form of 3-5-10 minutes of Cold Shower , strengthens the Immune System and the Nervous system thus giving you better immunity and drastically reducing the occurrences of Cold/Cough/Fevers etc. Just the way Lifting slightly heavier weights in the gym and challenging your muscles makes you stronger, Cold Therapy in this form challenges your Nervous and Immune system and makes those systems stronger.
- Super Cool Skin & Hair: Taking Cold showers instead of hot ones, helps preserve the Natural Oils in and on the skin hair and scalp which are responsible for maintaining the glow , shine & health of the skin and hair. Hot showers will leave your skin , hair & scalp feeling dry. From the time I’ve started taking Cold showers, I haven’t felt the need to use a moisturizer after having a bath.. Honest!
- Improved Alertness: Needles to say , Cold Water on your Body , in the morning , will instantly make you more alert and ready to face the day.
- Improved Muscle Recovery : Cold acts as a vasoconstrictor. This contracts the blood vessels , which helps release toxins and Lactic acid built up in the muscles. Alternating between Hot and Cold Shower acts as a vasodilator and vasoconstrictor which further helps this cause, thus helping in Muscle recovery , especially post Workout
- Stress Reliever: Cold showers help reduce Uric Acid levels in the Body and also increase gluthathione ( an antioxidant) levels in the body, thus resulting in over all better well being and lower stress levels in general
And now.. the 6th and according to me the Most important Benefit of taking Cold showers:
Conditioning to Face the “Flinch” & Win on the other Side
Flinch (Verb) : Definition: To make a quick, nervous movement as an instinctive reaction to Fear, Pain, or Surprise.
Notice, the words in the dictionary definition .. “Instinctive” ( ingrained /hard wired in the brain) reaction to 3 biggest Discomforts in Life i.e. Fear, Pain & Surprises . This reaction , most times prevents you from facing the Fear, Pain & the Surprise in your path, thus limiting your capabilities to achieve what you want from your life , because amazing things lie on the other side of facing Pain, Surprizes and Fears that Life throws at you.
We face the Flinch in Life in several occasions which range from trivial to very important and at times Life changing… i.e. choosing a healthy meal vs dining out, taking the stairs vs the elevator, Sleeping vs Blogging 🙂 , Sending that email to your Boss vs typing it and not sending it, facing an interview, asking a question in a public forum, speaking on stage, negotiating, expressing your opinion , asking someone for help , Getting out of Bed to go to the Gym vs Snoozing and continuing to Sleep etc.
Notice that in all Cases , Victory lies on Powering through the Flinch and facing/doing what lies on the other side of it.
Julien Smith’s Book , The Flinch is an awesome read on this subject. ..
So, Ya.. coming back to Cold Showers and the most important benefit of taking them is “Facing The Flinch” head on, every morning and training yourself to power through it and get on the other side and achieve the benefits of Cold showers.
What happens is, your brain starts the day with registering a Big Win against a Major Flinch of facing the Cold Water, which You could have very easily avoided by choosing to turn on the Hot Water Tap instead of the Cold. But , you didn’t do that.. You chose the cold..the discomfort..the challenge and came out Victorious on the other side. This registers a Major Win very early on in the day… thus setting the tone of powering through other flinches as may be faced by You in the day.
Gradually over time You’ll see yourself getting into the habit of facing every flinch and powering through to the other side of it and doing what’s good and right for you .. This habit will start percolating into all areas of your life ..things like Work, Boss, Passions, Relationships etc. thus making you take constructive action every time faced with a flinch in any area of your life.. Not only that, over time, you’ll also see yourself flinching at fewer Life situations and easily walking through what could have otherwise been obstacles in your path of Growth. Eventually as you adapt , you’ll Flinch at bigger problems and face them.. then as your grow in Life You flinches will keep changing and you’ll keep growing in Life as you keep crossing over these flinches.
So, Your Flinch, and how you deal with it when faced with one, decides the path your life takes over a period of time.
Taking a cold shower is one of the most basic and easiest way to train your Body, Mind & Brain to fight the Flinch whenever faced with one and achieve Greatness that lies on the other side of it.
That’s all for now…See You Around.
Dad So Kool
Fearless,Committed,Evolved & Involved