Updated December 26th, 2018
They sound terrifying if you’ve never done one. They sound amazing if you’re a veteran.
I talk a lot about cold showers around here. I’ve used them to get in shape, start a blog, and launch a business. They come with a ton of benefits, including clarity of mind and fearlessness. In the past I’ve focused specifically on the mental and psychological aspects of cold showers but, as it turns out, there are quite a few scientifically proven health benefits of taking cold showers as well.
There seems to be quite a bit of misinformation and folklore surrounding cold showers, so I’ve tried to comb through that and sort out the scientifically backed facts from the urban legends.
The Health Benefits of Cold Showers
Better Immune System
There are countless studies that show that exposure to the cold improves your immunity.
Cold water immersion has been shown to increase metabolic rates because it causes shivering and activates your immune system. Experiment participants who participated in six weeks of immersions benefited from an increase in plasma concentration, as well as T helper cells and lymphocytes.
In Sweden, it’s common practice to let small babies take naps outdoors in the cold. It has been shown that these babies end up more resistant to disease and that they sleep deeper and more soundly.
(Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21537988 & http://herkules.oulu.fi/isbn9789514296673/isbn9789514296673.pdf.)
In Siberia, they take it one step further and dump a whole bucket of cold water over children’s heads in a ritual called Rodnichok or cold springs. They do this year-round for children between the ages of two and six. Again, this is in Siberia. These kids are tough. It’s been shown that about 95% of the kids who participate are healthy through the flu season. On the other hand, only 75% of the the children who don’t participate in this ritual stay flu-free.
Lesson learned: if you want to be healthy, stick to the cold setting on your shower!
When your body is exposed to cold, it requires more heat to warm you up. To heat you up, it has to process more energy, which means it has to burn more fat more efficiently than normal. Being cold can also activate brown fat, which is a sort of good fat that helps generate heat, boost your metabolism, and burn fat.
Over time, cold water exposure improves circulation. Since exposure to cold causes your blood flow to be redirected to your vital organs, your body is forced to circulate your blood more efficiently.
Regular cold showers help to reduce heat loss, decrease your core body temperature, and regulate your overall body temperature.
Relief from Symptoms of Depression
Cold showers have been shown to help relieve symptoms of depression. Due to the high density of cold receptors in the skin, taking a cold shower sends an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which can result in an anti-depressive effect. So, if you need a pick-me-up, jump in the shower and turn it to the blast setting.
Healthy Skin & Hair
Cold water helps to close pores. Closed pores keep your skin looking smooth and healthy, without drying your skin out as hot water can. The cold water helps keep your hair shiny and your skin soft, rather than itchy, ashy, and dried out.
A 1993 study conducted by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England showed a link between having cold baths and having high testosterone levels. We don’t have the direct link to the study, but try it out for yourself and see. We promise that, after spending five to ten minutes in the freezing cold water, you’ll at least feel like more of a man.
As you can imagine, an increase in testosterone can lead to an increase in fertility. Hot baths and showers drastically decrease sperm count. So, if you’re looking to pop out a few mini-mes, and want to give your little swimmers a fighting chance, make sure to turn your shower to cold.
Besides the fact that there’s nothing quite like ice cold water to wake you up, cold showers can actually boost your energy levels. When you jump into a cold shower, the nerve endings in your skin stand up because of the ice world you just entered. Your heart starts racing and you start breathing rapidly as your body adjusts. That’s a response that the best cup of coffee in the world can’t beat.
Your lymphatic system takes waste away from your cells to help you fight disease. It’s separate from your blood vessels, but it’s moved around by the contraction of your muscles. Cold showers cause your entire body to contract and this forces your lymphatic system to push lymph fluids throughout your body, stopping them from pooling in one part of your body as they would if the lymphatic system were compromised or inefficient.
Ice baths have long been used by elite athletes to help reduce inflammation after a workout. They alleviate DOMS by constricting your veins, thereby removing toxins from your blood. When you get out of the bath, your system is flushed with fresh, nutrient-rich blood that can help repair muscles and tendons.
Cold showers can get you to breathe deeply by forcing you to pause and hold your breath as a sort of automatic reaction when the cold water hits. This helps open up your lungs (just like physical exercise does), bringing in more oxygen.
Remember the sleeping babies from earlier? Well, they’re not the only ones sleeping better at night thanks to the cold. Insomniacs are often advised to take cold showers. This might be because after the initial shock of the shower, your body calms down and relaxes.
Personal note: I’ve noticed that I sleep better and deeper when I take cold showers.
Tolerance to Stress
In general, exposure to the cold gives your body a higher tolerance to stress. Over time, this leads to the strengthening of your body and immune system (as we talked about earlier).
Cold showers have also been used to reduce chronic pain, body aches, and inflammation, improve hair health and kidney function, regulate the nervous system, deepen your breathing, help fight fatigue, and improve sleep quality. Whew!
Health Benefits of Cold Shower Therapy™ Video
One of the main benefits of taking cold showers is developing the ability to subject your body to a certain level of stress in a controlled environment. By doing this, you teach your body to adapt to stressors and become stronger. Whether it’s respiratory, circulatory, or simple temperature regulation, you’ll find your body becoming stronger.
Of course, these are just the physical health benefits of taking Cold Shower Therapy™. I personally think the mental and psychological health benefits of taking cold showers alone make it worthwhile.
TLDR: Take cold showers. They might just change your life.
The Official CST App
My Cold Shower Therapy™ TED Talk
What Does Cold Shower Therapy™ Actually Do?
Cold Shower Therapy™ Sources & References
For more on cold showers and their benefits, check out the links below.
- Siberian Times
Photo credit: adarshr | seanmcgrath
I have done this for about a week and I already feel stress off my shoulders and better sleep, amazing next steep is strengthing and burning that fat.
Hey I have chronic back issues and just kind of pain and migraines with this help me with my back pain
This is an awesome article! I’ve taken the thirty day challenge and am only two days in, but it feels great and allows me to focus better throughout the day. Warm water is for wimps!
This challenge is not even a challenge?
Great job man!!! i hope you still helping people . Its amazing , you are right, this can change your life !!! . Thanks from Argentina. !!!
I was interested in the article until I got to the part about babies sleeping outdoors in the cold in Sweden. I’m swedish and I can tell you that is totall bullshit. I have never heard about that. If people left their kids outside in the cold to sleep child protective services would come and take their babies straight away. Assuming the kid didn’t die from the cold.
Joel Runyon says
Check the referenced article. It’s not all day/night. It’s just for naps.
I’m also swedish and I can confirm that this behaviour exists in Sweden 🙂
Dani Eilertsen says
I’m from Norway and letting babies and kids, up to three y.o sleep outside in winter is very common practice in all modern kindergardens.
Can confirm that too about Norway. I have actually never heard of a kindergarten which does not let the babies sleep outside!
Modern kindergartens in Norway build special facilities for that too including security cameras!
One more thing, now that my kids grow up.. they also play football matches in cold snow, rain, wind .. you name it (yes they are only 7 years old! 🙂
I’m from Siberia and have a rich experience of cold showering. I confirm every word in this article, all listed benefits are pure true.
In Russia it is widespread practice to let baby nap outside, especially if it is a winter (baby is warmly dressed and under supervision of course).
I had a long periods out of this healthy habit and I assume that life with cold shower is much brighter than without it! 🙂
Marius Pranskunas says
I’m from Lithuania and we use to do cold shower (bucket of cold well water) as children. And it felt great, will take one week challenge now.
Im from Poland and have been doing it for 3 months. i feel 10 times better phisically and mentally. Cold shower forever 😉
The Swedish babies sleeping in the cold IS TRUE !! Just checked with a Swedish colleague. However he stressed this is not done in the middle of winter for obvious reasons. It is however a practice done in Sweden.
We do let our babies sleep outside in Denmark…..also in daycares. When mine were small I too did that. It is also common here to sleep with our windows open no matter what the temperature is outside.
Melissa Calder says
I am a nanny in Nelson, BC, Canada and I leave babies outside in the cold for their naps, because I noticed that they sleep longer and deeper than bringing them inside. They are in blankets, of course, in their strollers. 🙂
I’m Norwegian and here it’s totally common, especially in kindergartens. 🙂
I don’t know about Sweden, but I studied in Denmark and they absolutely do this. They even leave the babies outside the grocery store while they are shopping. And they can do this because there is such little crime.
TIESHA MAY GIVENS says
When my son was an infant we lived in Chicago. On impulse one day, I wrapped him up and set him outside in a stroller in 20 degrees below zero one day for 15 minutes because we had been inside for 2 months and “I” was climbing up the walls. Well after 15 minutes, I brought him inside, and he had a massive fit. He screamed, and stretched out in lumber stiffness as he yelled and struggled. So, I gave up and put him back outside where he became immediately happy. He stretched and screamed just as he had done before when I tried to take him back inside. So I gave up and let him stay. This time, I let him stay for a total of an hour. When I brought him in again, THIS TIME, he went right to sleep, and slept for 2 hours. NEVER before had he taken a nap that long. Thereafter, I would put him out everyday for an hour. The kids in the neighborhood became aware of him, and they would play running his stroller up and down the street. They loved it, and I think he loved it more. Over the years, I did not try to stop him when he would want to play out in the cold and rain. What I did was dress him warmly with what I thought was OK, and let him go. BELIEVE ME, I cannot remember if ever that kid had a cold or was sick. Only now am I putting those memories together to conclude that those times when I would let him play in so called bad weather, it HAD to have done something good for him. PLUS, he over the years, developed a strong sense of independence and will. I can only say that times when I followed my instinct about him against what was the so called “norm”, it had to have allowed him to grow up much more of a free person than I was. I am forever grateful. It had to have been God guiding me, because NO ONE EVER advised me to do that with him. As a matter of fact EVERYONE who commented to me about it, ALL thought I was crazy. That’s my understanding. No one has to believe me, because my son is now a 50 year old man now, and I am immensely proud of him.
brian shaughnessy says
I just took my first cold shower, that was painful, but I must admit I feel very good right now, I have committed myself to the 30 day challenge.
I’m glad I came across this website, keep up the good work
Mark Eichenlaub says
Joel, I love the comment about stress reduction. Once you stop letting cold water send you into a panic you can build a resistance to normal stressful situations during your day. You can distinguish the feeling and impose relaxation on it.
I read a similar article to this about a year and a half ago, and just as this article suggests, decided to commit to a 30 day challenge.
Cold showers were definitely a stark change, but i was psyched on the idea and that seemed to outweigh the detraction of the cold.
After the 30 days, i decided that i was on a roll and why not just continue, after all, i knew it would take longer than 30 days to start seeing any real physiological benefit.
So now, its been a year and a half, and through the premise of ‘well i’m on a roll… i cant stop now’, i have continued everyday for that time. Not one warm shower.
In summary, you get used to it -ish. The water is never comfortable, but its more familiar. The only time it really sucks is when its winter and you are sick, then the process is harder.
Regarding the physiological benefits though, i would have to say iv seen none. My resistance to cold is still about the same, i still get the typical cold once or twice a year, and i didn’t see my skin or hair become healthier (if anything, you avoid washing your hair because it makes a cold shower that much less pleasant.)
In the first month of the test i thought my resistance to cold was increasing, but i now believe that was because i was just still super pumped on the idea. Now that its lost that novelty factor, i think i can assess it more objectively.
However, i did save energy and help the environment, so that’s always a plus!
So end message: id encourage you to all try cold showers, and even enjoy one intermittent with warm showers during summer, but don’t think the health benefits will be drastic and apparent.
they forgot to mention the benefits of saving on water. when i take warm showers (especially after waking up), i’d spend almost 20 minutes at minimum because of its relaxing attributes. however, when i took cold showers, i spent no longer than 10 minutes. sometimes, my quickest showers took 5 minutes thus saving water!
my electrical bill dropped im healthier , cleaner, and lost 14 pounds those devils want us sick,dried up and almost dead just alive enough to make money on us
Yes Eric, I’m fully with you on that one, I too used to take 20 mins in the shower, and I wished many times to find some method to speed up but contantly failed until I discovered and mastered the cold water shower (or the Samurai shower as I like to call it 😉 ). Now days I much rather the cold water method than the hot, because I’m easily down to less than 5 minutes, and as you mentioned, we can be happy to save water. But what I’ve found is that we also save wasting that burnt gas. I’m at the point where I’m ready to disconnect from gas supply altogeather as it seems pointless to pay standing charge while my meter is standing still and counting zero units used 😉 . So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that if the word can be somhow widely spread of all the benefits both healthwise and saving money wise, then perhaps we might be able to oneday gather togeather enough budding Samurai to go into global battle to save an old climate from change 😉
johnny bocchetti says
1991 brought me to a cabin in the cascades, while I started taking cold showers after a long hike. Still taking them exclusively for some years. I love the lift it gives me in the morning and again after a long hike..
Wesley Wong says
Hey I’m 16 years old, and friends and I decided to try the 30 day challenge. I just took one and i was like ASDFJAFDKZVSDFJGJMK when the water hit me but after it was ok, felt good. I believe that this will be great for my body 😀 THAAAAAAANKS
Brendan K says
This concept is so beneficial that it should become common sense! I always feel like a new man after cold showers!
Cheryl Spencer says
My fiance is always telling me about the benefits of cold showers. I usually have the same response: “I can’t tolerate cold that early in the morning!!” But after reading this article I am actually looking forward to experiencing the benefits. Excellent article. I plan to share the outcome as soon As I can. Thank you for this wonderful article!!
quick note: burning of brown fat may not be great for everyone — http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702123352.htm
What temperature should the water be?
Should one start this in summer or in winter?
Joel Runyon says
As cold as freaking possible. 🙂 You should start it now.
Michiel Dankers says
i am also interested in the preferred temprature, especially yours. i have been doing it for over a year now, and i am just curious what temprature your water is. Mine’s most of the time just around 20C
Joel Runyon says
Great article and i love cold showers, but I’ve got to point out that the whole cold water closes pores thing is a myth. Pores don’t open and close based on temperature of air or water. People often think steam makes them open but in reality what it does is loosen up particles in the pores.
heat DOES open your pores its not a myth or question your simply incorrect
I will try this.
Thanks from Paraguay!
Geraldo Franco says
It’s incredible, but true. Local South districts gas systems had to be substituted, in 2002; we spent two/three days w/out water heating energy sources. No matter that, I went showering and came out another person! That stupid back pain which followed me for centuries went away — like magic! Call it thermic shock, whatever, now I take only cold showers, and feel quite diferent! Is it magic?
In the beginning I simply thought you were a bit crazy (which is true, but that’s fine). Then I have tried it myself…and, I can say, the feeling after a freaking cold shower is just too damn great! Now I take a cold shower twice a day.
Cheers from The Netherlands!
P.S. Also in the winters, though!? That will be an amazing challenge!
Heard about 30 day challenge and decided to give it a try.first few times pretty tough i always try and stay in for anywhere up to five minutes.I have always suffered with anxiety linked to having a mild stammer and have noticed a vast improvement in the way I feel about myself now.i have been taking cold showers for 6/7 months and would recommend it to anyone with issues with nerves or anxiety.by forcing ur body to go through stress on a daily basis other areas of ur life get seen less challenging.
I enjoyed the article, thanks! I take cold showers more often than not, largely because I live on my sailboat and don’t have a water heater. There’s no question that I sleep better, have a brighter outlook and have more energy. Hot showers just make me feel dragged out.
Trevor LaRene says
Joel, THANK YOU for this challenge! It is awesome! On day 5 and fired up for the rest of the challenge and beyond!
If anyone is curious, right now our water temp is 63F/17C.
I am promoting the site to my students and on my blog.
I started taking cold showers first because I read that rinsing with cold in shampooing would make my hair softer and more manageable (I admit to vanity w/ respect to my hair). Then I read a newspaper article about trials being done to see the effect on mood. According to the article, early results were published before the end of the trial because the positive effect was so apparent. When we camp, the showers are sometimes such that you have to have warm; I do not like this. In the winter, when the cities water tanks get colder, the cold gets really cold, and I love it; the colder, the better!
cold showers don’t open your pores to clean them out though. That is the whole point of taking a warm shower.
I started this 6 months ago and it’s almost completely cured my eczema I suffered horrendously with for 17 years. I have come off steroids as a result of simply doing this. I always suspected this and used to read about famous people in history doing this. It makes a lot of sense when you think about the dualism of Hot/Cold.
I would highly recommend if you have skin troubles to give it a go.
Eward Wong says
I’m a chinese, and I once have taken cold showers for one total year. Then stoped a year because of bad physical situatinon. While now I tried it again and I’m pretty sure there are a lot of benefits of cold showers. Here is one question, many people around me admitted that it’s great to wash your body with cold water, but not suggested to wash your hair with cold water. What’s your opion abt that?
Ed Chu says
About the latter part, don’t listen to them. In fact, try it out; it feels invigorating!
Showering your hair WITH cold water IS POSSIBLE, and the more you do it, the more your head will be used to it (it’s just like the body)!
Tried my 1st Cold shower today.1st minute was hell!After that slowly got used to it for about 3 mins.
Felt really invigorated afterwards and even did some early morning sprints,which normally I’m too lethargic to do.Will try and keep it up!
There is no TRY. Only Do or Do Not!
I take cold showers and I think they are great; however, I just found a study saying that testosterone levels decrease when taking them. Take a look:
You will notice too that cold water increased LH- the hormone that stimulates the production of testosterone in the testes. So it seems that cold showers decrease testosterone but increase the hormone that produces it, oddly enough. What do you guys make of this?
Great therapy mate, no stress, brand new when i get out of a cold freezing shower.
Tony Ryan says
I’ve been taking cold baths (submerged in freezing water up to my neck) for 5 months. I am really glad I started this. I had never done it before and possibly never thought that I should, could or would ever do it. I saw a post on here saying that it does not work. For some maybe it does not because of other individual lifestyle or physical circumstances but I must add that I do train regularly and this perfectly complements and supplements my established fitness regime. The benefits are great, both physically and psychologically. Every positive attribute mentioned in this article has happened for me. My skin, hair and fitness are improved. It also provides me with deeper focus, sleep and meditation. The coldest I have felt in the water is in the winter when my skin was literally feeling physical pain but the rationale is that when you endure the discomfort you are increasing your mental and physical tolerance to the cold. No gain without some measure of pain. Simple logic but scientifically robust. Sometimes it’s easy to do and at other times it’s quite difficult and challenging, if truth be told. I guess what doesn’t defeat you makes you stronger. Bring on the ice, COLD IS NOTHING!!!
Every word of the article is true. am 57. Never in life had hot water bath. Do not remember when I had cold or fever last. God is gr8. All the best and thanks for confirming my belief.
Sunil Charla says
Always been having cold water baths…and always have my family disagreeing with me…glad my opinion has been ratified by so many more….happy to discover this site…must visit regularly…thanks guys!
I’ve tried this over the years to no success really.
I didn’t feel any benefits afterwards and I was beginning to get really sick of this routine so I switched to a hot-cold shower therapy instead.
It seems to work better for me. The only cold shower routine is too much for me.
can you do this every morning whilst still having a hot evening bath?
My water heater busted yesterday and because I got work during the day and Iack the funds to pay some guy to install a new water heater it will be a few days before the hot water will be back on line. I already took a cold shower because of this and it was horrible. So in an attempt to help ease the pain I looked up the benefits of cold showers. I’m glad I did. Moreover, I did have a nagging neck pain before I took the cold showered. And I laughed when I noticed it was gone after. I’m not looking foward to tomorrow’s shower but knowing the benefits makes it a bit easier to accept. I still wish my heater hadn’t busted.
I’m sufferring from a severe bout of depression/addiction withdrawal. I take meds and am seeking other help. My brother in law swears by cold showers for sleep.
I’ve always “feared” cold water but last night managed to gradually go from warm to just cold water over a few minutes. Can’t say it “fixed” anything but it did help relieve the depression/obsessive thinking, even if only for a few minutes. Did feel refreshing as well.
As I am pretty mentally desperate at the moment, I plan to give it a go again each time I have a shower.
Cold showers can also cause heart attack. Not everything is always perfect and peachy:
Emmanuel MINKO says
Understand that these heart attacks primarily come from “SHOCK”. Which is why the very link you posted gives the example of falling into an icy lake. The reason for the heart attack is that the contact with freezing cold water is involuntary and unexpected. Cold water immersion is actually used to build tolerance and prepare for such moments in these areas. CST is based on your ability to build up the necessary amount of will to go through a mentally and physically challenging experience.
Don’t come here scaring people out of doing something that could be beneficial to them. If you’re scared and you don’t like it, just stay away.
Janice Belcher says
I agree. I just started the challenge last week. The first day was hard and I pulled back but I felt defeated. The second morning I was determined that I would win! It has been so wonderful, when I found out it would also help you sleep, I tried it at night. Now two cold showers a day!
I have suffered from insomnia on and off for about 9yrs
(post menopausal) I have been sleeping sooooooo good. I’ve never seen anything to make me sleep like this and not wake up groggy at all. I am also feeling more energetic throughout the work day. This is about changing me in regards to self discipline! On to the 30 day challenge! I am determined that I will be in control of me. Set goals and make them happen. Thank you so much for passing this on. I am trying very hard to encourage others to try it. It’s hard but someone is gonna take the plunge!!
Discovered cold showers by accident when the hot water tap was busted a few days ago and I just needed a damn shower.
Man, I felt and looked like a Spartan after. This stuff is legit.
“There are countless studies that show cold exposure improve immunity”
Please can you reference me these studies. So far I’ve found none.
Joel Runyon says
Check out the studies at the end of the post.
Quick question: What temperature range would you recommend for these cold showers? My shower gets pretty damn cold, especially in winter
Joel Runyon says
As cold as your shower goes.
What about shaving? I can’t imagine shaving in a freezing cold shower! This is making me cold just thinking about it, but I’m going to give it a try!
Adrian Ljungqvist says
After more than three months of taking cold shower twice a day, today was the first day I took two warm showers because the vigor and energy boost that I enjoyed on the first day of cold shower, which was the main motivator for me to continue cold shower, has waned away as time passes with regular cold showers. I have started to wonder whether some benefits of cold shower (improved immune system, circulation, metabolism, testosterone, etc.) claimed in many different articles are valid, although I believe from my experience that cold shower is in fact healthier for the skin and hair. At the same time, resistance to cold shower increased gradually. The thought of taking cold shower has slowed me down before I get in the shower. For example, rather than getting up immediately in the morning to take cold shower, I snoozed some. Should I start cold showers again tomorrow? If anyone can assure me the benefits of cold shower to justify continuing cold showers, I would appreciate it.
Joel Runyon says
Anytime the question is “should I take a cold shower” – the answer is yes.
Thank you so much for this article!!! This is a great motivation for me!!
Just a question about testosterone…Does women’s body also produce some of this hormone after a cold shower?
I have been taking cold showers for a couple months now. BUT, I would start off warm/hot for about 4 to 5 minutes and wash myself up, and then only have it cold for like 45 seconds to a minute and a half. lol. So I wasn’t feeling much benefits from it. I just took a cold shower for about 4 to 5 minutes from start to finish and am still shivering 10 minutes later(not badly.) It definitely feels refreshing and I plan on keeping it up. It definitely wakes you up. haha. It would be hard to do it on a -20 degree day though or something like that,heck, in the winter at all would be hard. Ii think I’ll still take cold showers then but just not have it freezing cold like i do now. But I will definitely plan on keeping this up. Sure it can be hard to “want’ to take a cold shower, but when you suffer through it and are shivering when you get out, it always feels great knowing your body is getting all those beefits.
Hi, I arise each morning at 4am and go to work, Im back home around 11am and I submerge myself in a bath of cold water for 10 – 15 minutes (my head isn’t under that long of course, just a few seconds) I can honestly say I go and do other jobs in the afternoon and feel well and refreshed and energetic. Im a 77 y/o and sleep very well from about 10pm to 4am. A cold water bath for me seems to work fine.
gosh…. the best ever!!! Cold showers is really and truly wonderful the experience itself is literally breath taking. Convinced relatives and close friends to take upon the challenge,yet they looked at me with disbelief. Until the thought itself consumed there curiosity…
Most skeptical of all my girlfriend not sharing insight to wanting to give it a try,until the she cought the flu bug and i convinced her then to try out a cold shower. Results she loved it…
Ladies and gentleman get out of your comfort zone and try some new especially if the health benefits is this great. COLD SHOWERS is awesome and i ain’t never going back.
Cold showers are the bomb. Followed my intuition and started taking them 20 years ago without knowing anything about any related health benefits. I recommend skipping the warm and just diving in cold. I love it when it’s winter around here and the water gets extra cold. The colder the better. Squeaky clean- in fact, warm showers make me feel nasty greasy by comparison. And homeboy’s right about it waking you up better and longer than any caffeine. Beginners should just start cold, get in, splash it on their hair and wash it. Then move to the pits and the bits and by that time your pretty used to it- and it’ll also be time to get in there the rest of the way to rinse it all off. I feel like it stifles bacterial growth better than any soap. I use honey and lemon for shampoo/conditioner and soap (and a shower snack), and cold water. The best tip for beginners and pros alike is to get all the way under there, especially the head, and smile. Think about the best thing in your life and smile to it. Sounds crazy, but you’ll see what it does- the massive energy amplifies the focus and intensity of the smile (which you kind of have to fight to maintain- which is also good in that it teaches you to find and use a sincere smile, as that is all that will maintain it under those conditions); and the end result of it all is the most beaming, bombing smile in a while. For those who don’t know, smiling does more for you than I could sum up here. Try it. Cold showers for life. One of the main keys to health- right up there with meditation/prayer, a natural diet, fasting, exercise, drinking enough (pure) water, correct sleep, positive thinking, yoga, etc. Dial it in. Nobody who tries it for real says anything but 10 stars about it. Hot water showers and baths as a commonality are a relatively new thing- we’re made for cold ones. Buddhist Monks use extended cold water meditations to break through to higher meditations. As usual, use your common sense in taking it to extremes- but don’t underestimate it. Break off your hot water knob. You’ll live a longer, much better life. And try the smiling thing- aim it at Jesus for max effect; seriously, if you’re open-minded. Peace
Chris Steyn says
I’ve been doing this cold showers for 7 years now, at least every morning, summer and winter. Only cheated on visits to Russia and Germany, in winter, where I started with medium temperature, but ended with cold water. Cannot describe how fresh you feel after a cold shower in the morning, specially winter. It is all in the mind, once you experience the feeling, you will never stop.
Hello and thank you for this article.
I am a 44 yo healthy male and I started doing cold showers every day three weeks ago with great success and immediate well-being effects. I first do a regular lukewarm shower and then turn to completely cold water. In my household, temperature of cold water is 18 C, so not quite a swim in a frozen lake. I started with 1 minute of cold water in the end and extended by minute every week.
Last week, however, I began noticing that the feeling of energy and well-being waned off and did not appear anymore after cold showers. Instead, I began feeling down and drowsy afterwards, with hands and feet feeling cold for hours. Also my intolerance of outside cold seems to have increased. Although I have developed resistance to cold shower, it just doesn’t feel right anymore. What could be the reason for this sudden change? Thank you in advance for your opinions.
I started my cold showers yesterday. I actually tweeted it to you 🙂
I have a question.
I’m doing this as a 30-day challenge, tracked on the lift.do app. The goal is to do it each morning, however, is it ok to also do it after my workout in the evening? So essentially, I’ll be doing it twice a day 4 times a week as I workout roughly 4 times a week.
Initially, the thought of cold showers frightened the life out of me, but I decided to take the plunge (due to your articles and videos), and already I’m feeling incredible for it.
Joel Runyon says
Cold showers all day, everyday. Forever.
It looks like I’ll be sticking to this habit as I’m already benefiting!
Thanks for the inspiration.
Hello Joel and thx for the great info,
I started my cold shower/cold turkey on Aug 25,2014 and will soon be reaching my 60 day mark. I am 55yrs old and must say the first 8 days for me were difficult. Fast breathing, shiver etc… However I said yes I can do it and now it is a no brainer, no shock at all. It is a wonderful part of my life and look forward to 5 minutes twice a day now.
From my health standpoint, I had a persistent dull pain in my shoulder for several months and old knee injury, nothing serious only my body showing my age. Well, since starting the cold shower regiment, my shoulder feels great and knee is much improved. Also noticed hair growing faster, only hope it can fill in on my chrome dome, wishful thinking. Hope springs eternal.
This part is for guys, I always recall when taking a hot shower the need to pee, not so when taking it full on cold. At first it was like a turtle going back into its shell and forget any thought of the need to pee. Well now, my body has adapted and I feel a rush of warmth while taking the cold shower and the need to pee. Go figure.
Well in a nutshell it’s been a great transition so far, only concern is how cold the water will be midwinter being in a northern environment. Glad I started in August.
Did my first cold shower last night, went great after I re-learned to breath… finished up, put my clothes on, went downstairs and my wife had left the tv on (didn’t tell her I was doing this) and I sit down to start some paperwork.. look up, but what is on the TV, but 300 at the beginning.. It was great!!!
Last summer, due to the hot weather in India, I gave a thought to try cold water to beat the heat and I simply continued till this winter, just as a challenge. Now I am experiencing that I am enjoying cold water bath and would continue for life. For curiosity sake, I just went through your article and glad to note that there are so many benefits from cold water bath. Therefore, it is double bonus – good health and savings of energy and water! Great! Thanks for this very informative and useful article!
I live in France and it was by accident that I started cold showers. The hot water system pumped into our flat by the local authority was under maintenance for 3 days in August 2014. I decided, as it was Summer, to try a cold shower. I immediately felt somehow better and after several months I decided to see if anyone else found benefits. That’s how I read the above article. I have chronic sinusitis and it has certainly helped, though not cured it. The mucous membranes seem to be more effective.
And I feel more alert.
Kent J says
I have been washing in cold water for 3 weeks with the occasional ‘going under’ the shower. Working towards fully immersed cold showers. Even just washing up, not using hot water has had amazing impact. No soap/shampoo/conditioner. Wash clothe and cold water. Its winter and am experiencing no typical dryness. As a diabetic finding major release from depression. I am up all day, zero lows for three weeks.
Now if it is true that its so healthy (heck I even went with no deodorant yesterday and NO smell..).. but if its true, why did people in the black ages die at 30? Did they live vibrant healthy COLD SHOWER lives for their 30-40 meager years? I would say my quality of life in this fricking 3 weeks has been quite dramatic. Just wondering.
Joel Runyon says
The plague had a bit to do with it.
I started cold water shower 6 months ago….it’s very beneficial it seems.
I’m from Florida though 🙂
It’s so refreshing and earth friendly….. I don’t use as much water unlike hot water…;)
It’s a refreshing start for the day….every day!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have read most of the replies and see most people are doing it for health reasons. I have a reason to try it in case health reasons are not your motivator. Do it to mortify your flesh. Do it to go against the flesh & your will to enjoy pleasurable & comforting warmth. small sufferings can be offered up!
Anita Henrikson says
I refute some of the benefits of cold showers the article addresses due to my personal experience. The warm bath facility at home has been broken for long. In the past I could still go to my previous research institute to take warm baths in winter, but I couldn’t do that over 2 and half a years. So I take a cold shower even in winter, of course not every day, because it’s too freezing to be enjoyable.
Whenever after a cold shower, I feel freezing cold throughout my body for many hours and wish to have a heater to warm my body. I just feel too cold to function often so feel upset. So I disagree that a cold shower can relieve symptoms of depression.
As for ‘The cold water helps keep your hair shiny and your skin soft, rather than itchy, ashy, and dried out’, I doubt partly. Recently I used warm water to wash my elbow with hard dry skin and after that found it recovered to soft and smooth skin. The hard dry skin on my elbow had been long and I kept not being able to recover it.
The article says “Insomniacs are often advised to take cold showers.” Come on. I have suffered insomnia often due to worries. A cold shower exacerbates my insomnia because after a cold shower, I often feel my feet are too freezing to fall asleep for long; sometimes even after I wear stocks, I can’t keep my feet warm for long.
As for the effect of the cold shower in helping fight fatigue, I think it does the opposite. When I feel too cold to function for a period, I start to feel sleepy.
April Desouza says
If the only things that make you feel happy and comfortable are modern inventions created to pacify babies and geriatrics then it sounds like you’re a lost cause. Evolutionarily, it would seem, you weren’t meant to survive. So, maybe, don’t.
Wow, reading here people’s opinions on cold showers. Then I see your mean and nasty comment. My opinion is that you should never have kids because such nastiness can spread from parents to kids. The world, however, does not need such people. We need fair, kind and honest people.
Please disregard April’s comment. It amazes me at times how some people can make it so far in life with neither sense nor decency.
I can personally vouch for cold showers. I’ve found them helpful and often recommend them to others. With that said, just like so many other things in life, it’s not one-size-fits-all. Judging solely off your last name, would I be correct to guess that you live in a place where “cold” means “near or below freezing”? There is a huge difference between taking cold showers in Southern California versus taking one in the dead middle of winter in, say, Sweden.
If you find that you gain no benefit from cold showers and that they are simply making you miserable, I recommend either not taking them or not going as cold as the faucet allows. That doesn’t make you weak or less of a person. What does make one weak and less of a person, however, is writing awful comments to total strangers over the Internet…
Hi and thanks for the article. Do you recommend refraining from hot showers, or just adding cold showers into the routine IN ADDITION to hot showers? I’m asking because my instinct would say that hot bathing is necessary to open pores and release toxins from the skin. Do you have any information about this either way? Thanks, Alan
I started taking cold showers at the beginning of 2015 and so far it has had a very positive effect on my life and wellbeing. The immediate effect was the energising boost first thing in the morning which lasts for a good few hours and the feeling of accomplishing something which is good for me. Over the following months, now in April, I have noticed subtle changes in my body both inner and outer. For many years I have suffered with skin complaints mostly itchy skin which is really annoying and made my skin look horrible. The first thing I experimented with was to stop using soap products and gels and creams. This helped a lot but I wanted to pursue any other ideas which may help even more. I can’t remember how I got into the cold shower thing but I’m so glad I did. I have noticed that my itchy skin has totally gone and now feels amazingly soft. My skin tone has changed making me look healthier. I used to suffer with aches and pains throughout the day and just thought it was all part of getting older, I’m now 50, I don’t get them anymore. The next thing is how strong physically I feel. I have never been one for the gym but my muscles feel rock hard and my moobs are getting smaller. I also noticed all the little skin tags have disappeared which I used to get around my neck area. This cold shower therapy has really changed my life and I will continue to take them for evermore. I put my main power shower right down until it won[‘t go any further and stay in the shower for at least 5 minutes but want to get up to 10 . It is truly amazing!
wow, this is one amazing article. Thanks from South Africa
I am an advocate of cold showers. For me, cold showers have helped improve my ability to handle stressful situations. It has become a daily cleansing ritual for me, and I will continue with my cold shower routine until the effects wear off, which I hope is never.
Juan Escobar says
Hey man. Is is normal that it started to hurt after 2 minutes?
Joel Runyon says
if by hurt you mean “it’s cold” – then yes. If it’s worse, then you might have a problem.
Cold shower is generating too much stress for me. I have already 4 workouts per week with cardio, 1 day cardio, 1 swimming pool, 1 day rest, and on every day I also make buddhist practice Nyndro – prostration for about 20 min and then power breaths / cold shower for about 35 sec in the morning. I already got sick when I started cold showers after workouts in January. Last Sunday after 1 min cold shower and taking out to shop I back to home and get 40 degree fever. I’m eating clean and enough, but just I have not enough regeneration for this system. When I did the same in the past without cold showers I was healthy. Should I resign from this activity?
Joel Runyon says
If you’re looking for a reason to quit, you already have your answer.
i have problem to take a deep breath if i will start to take a cold shower i will be after that to take a deep breath i mean after the cold shower i will be able to fill my lungs and throught with air?
I have been taking cold showers for 3 months, Morning and Night. It’s not only true that you will experience many benefits. I was a Diabetic and had problems with my Kidneys
However over time I noticed an improvement, so much in fact that I was eliminating these
problems. Also I was reducing my weight.
I am very enthusiastic to take Cold Showers for life..At 81 yrs young and understanding
what this is doing to your body–I personally prefer to live as naturally as I can.
Also, I would like to mention my skin is very soft and I have few wrinkles.
Cold showers with daily exercise & proper diet will contribute to your longivity.