Why is an ice shower useful and how to get used to it?
Today, the bravest will jump into the ice-hole to celebrate the Epiphany. But if you are not a walrus, then you can try a cold shower. The benefits of contrast douches and, in particular, a cold shower have long been confirmed and documented: hydrotherapy helps with high blood pressure, pain, circulatory problems, and also stimulates the vagus nerve, improving the work of which you will become not only physically healthier, but also happier. Cold water is ideal for general hardening, which is important these days, but the habituation process must be gentle and gradual so that the body learns to perceive the ice storm as a routine and useful procedure.
However, no matter how much you read about the benefits of cold douches, those who have not learned the benefits of health-improving asceticism shiver from just thinking about it. I personally know the effect of cold douches first hand – every time I soak up under a warming shower, I douse my feet with cold water, because I have heard that a contrast shower is useful for general tone and strengthening the veins. But one thing is legs, a priori hardy objects, and another is the whole body, including the head!
HOW TO DO IT CORRECT
To begin with, it is worth delving into the theory, since there are a lot of worthy sources. For example, in the new book “Healing by Nature: A Medical Guide to Scientific Naturopathy” Professor Andreas Michalsen, head physician at the Berlin clinic “Immanuel”, describes in detail the manner of a cold shower practiced daily: fingers up to the groin and go down from the inside; then I repeat the procedure with my left leg. ” Following a similar algorithm, the professor douches his hands, then his face, chest, back, honestly admitting that the most difficult thing is to direct the shower to the back and genitals, although the chilling extreme is more than compensated for by the immediate “invigorating and refreshing effect.”
On days when he feels too tired or not ready for radical measures, the doctor adheres to a short procedure, pouring cold water on only his legs – from below and at least to the knees, which, among other things, helps with headaches. The Berlin naturopath finally bribed me with dowsing my feet, because I managed to master this part of the procedure. Inspired by my wellness literacy, I embarked on an experiment, deciding that in three weeks, I would, as expected, internalize the habit or turn into an unfeeling block of ice.
My approach differs little from Michalsen’s sequence. Every time I finish taking a shower, I switch the tap completely to cold water and gently douse my feet. Then I climb up the right leg – and further, as the doctor described. Sometimes, when I want special sensations, having reached my face, I raise the shower higher and pour water right on the top of my head. Everything happens quickly – 30-40 seconds at most, and I’m not going to increase the time, I don’t need records. While pouring, I always squeal or even scream, I can just puff, repeat “damn it” or just laugh – it happens by itself, try it and you will understand.
It’s a shock at first, why lie, and even after three weeks the process will not be pleasant. But the pleasure lies not in the procedure, but in the very “immediate effect” mentioned by the doctor. It feels like scalding cold water is flushing and restarting the system, accompanying the process with an internal fireworks of endorphins. Sounds like a powerful and fast version of what it feels like after a good workout. And by the way, I recommend trying a double effect: sport and after – a contrast shower, it’s just some kind of holiday.
AND WHAT IS THE USE OF THIS
So, for inspiration, let’s once again clarify how dousing with cold water is useful – using a shower or dropping a full bucket on your head.
1. Strengthens the immune system
Regular cold showers stimulate metabolic rate and white blood cell production, which helps fight disease, and also increases the activity of the lymphatic system, which helps to remove waste from cells and reduce the risk of infections. To achieve a therapeutic effect, extreme ice is not necessary – it is enough to regularly take a shower at a temperature of about 20 degrees for 2-3 minutes.
2. Improves mood
The flow of cold water stimulates the release of norepinephrine, a hormone that precedes adrenaline, which in turn increases the flow of energy to the muscles and improves brain activity. Research also confirms that exposure to low temperatures strengthens the nervous system by lowering uric acid levels and increasing the production of glutathione, a tripeptide responsible for antioxidant recovery.
3. Activates weight loss
Body fat is conventionally divided into two categories: brown and white. The first is considered “good” because it is responsible for heat exchange and protects the internal organs. A cold shower triggers fat metabolism, activating heat production by up to 15 times, resulting in more calories burned and less white fat.
4. Facilitates muscle recovery
A contrast shower after intense workouts improves blood circulation and helps to flush lactic acid from the muscles, which speeds up the body’s recovery.
5. Stimulates blood circulation
Among the benefits of taking a cold shower is improved circulation, which is beneficial for the cardiovascular system.
6. Improves skin and hair
Cold water helps the skin and hair to maintain its natural oil balance, and in addition makes the hair shine, soft and strengthens its roots.
7. Ensures sound sleep
Contrast dousing at night gives an effect similar to sleeping pills – you will sleep like a baby, and this is a truly invaluable bonus, believe me.