I like to think of it as Cold Water Therapy.
Like most things in life, it is often the things we refrain from doing that are going to be the best for us.
I feel like I do a lot of funny little things in my daily rituals that are more than likely incredibly weird and wacky to my fellow humans but I swear that they are pivotal for my wellbeing…
Things like tongue scraping, oil pulling, vedic meditation, kundalini yoga, sound healing, chanting (kirtan + Satsang), pranayama / kriya breath work, chakra cleansing, brewing up funky herbal concoctions and the general day-to-day detoxing + cleansing rituals.
But my latest favourite has got to be COLD SHOWERS. Let the record show, that I am not a fan of the cold AT ALL! I hate it, and I really really really FEEL the cold. I am constantly searching and seeking for the comforts that come with being warm..
Right, so in saying that. I LOVE icy cold showers (If it follows a scolding hot one)…Yes even in the freezing cold unpredictable Melbourne weather. It’s madness! This morning when I did, I just could not be assed, was feeling a bit flat and dark in my thinking, feeling a bit stuck in life actually, not particularly motivated really. And then I just made myself do it. Telling myself all the normal self-motivating pep-talk to get me to turn the faucet from scalding hot to icy cold… so simple.
When I got out of the shower I was friggin’ pumped! Physically, psychologically and physiologically.
Psychologically it is interesting because….We get an idea in our head, or ‘create a story’ about what it is going to be like. How horrible it will be, how we will suffer…that we forget about how wonderful it will feel afterwards.
Its about the discomfort that we associate with having a cold shower. But it is like anything in life, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. It becomes a habit, it becomes something you actually enjoy doing. During it, you will scream and then you will laugh a little too! It is a massive confrontation of emotions and feelings.
(side note: A profound thing that Abraham-Esther Hicks has said and has stuck with me, an audience member asked (thinking it would be a dumb question, almost a joke. “Why do dogs stick their heads out the window only to swallow a whole bunch of bugs” (something like that). Abraham was so delighted and said it was possibly the smartest question anyone had ever asked in relation to ALL things we do in life….”because the bugs are worth the joy of it”…)
Plus it toughens you up! I read that “Conditioning your brain to accept, survive, and embrace discomfort is one of the practices that can greatly impact the rest of your life”
Here is an interesting Ted Talk about cold showers + how they can change your life, alter the way you look at fear and approach + deal with discomfort.
Cold showers can activate your body’s natural healing powers to properly support your physiological and mental state of being! Plus they have been used to reduce chronic pain, body aches and inflammation, improve hair health, regulate the nervous system, deepen your breathing, boost immunity and help fight fatigue and improve quality of sleep.
Anthony Robbins (the world famous performance coach to people such as Bill Clinton, Serena Williams, + hangs with som eof my favs Marie Forleo, Oprah + Richard Branson and Tim Ferriss.) apparently jumps into an icy plunge pool every morning. Now this is a man with boundless energy, vitality and brain power! He is one hell of a dynamic man…
The main benefits:
INCREASES ALERTNESS + ENERGY LEVELS
The shock of the cold water will make you hyperventilate initially, essentially! Causing your heart rate to increase, pumping the blood through our bodies at a more intense (but safe) rate. This shock to the system forces you to deep breathe, pausing at the top of your inhale which opens up the lungs + helps with the intake of more oxygen, allowing you to self-generate energy for the day.
Plus this deep breathing warms you up and calms the nervous system, inadvertently forcing you to regulate your breathing. It is actually GREAT for your NERVOUS SYSTEM as you will have to consciously calm your breathing down to adjust.
HEALTHY HAIR + SKIN
Increases circulation. Your skin will be flushed red after a cold shower. Thats because all the blood rushes to the surface of the skin, and flushes the system with fresh, oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood. This removes toxins from the blood.
Cold water does not dry out skin, like a scolding hot shower will!
For the hair, we all know that rinsing with cold water can give you the appearance of shinier, stronger healthier hair as it flattens the hair follicles and ‘forces’ the hair to grip to the scalp.
MUSCLE RECOVERY / DECREASES INFLAMMATION
If we relate it to Cryotherapy, it switches on the anti-inflammatory and repair receptors. Athletes use this kind of therapy for muscle soreness, cramping + recovery all the time. Again, your system is flushed with fresh, nutrient-rich blood that can help repair muscles and tendons. Inflammation is heat in the body. The cold alleviates that heat!
MOOD BOOSTER aka Makes You Happier
Cold water triggers a flood of mood-boosting neurotransmitters. The skin being the largest organ and incredibly sensitive, and protective, when confronted with icy cold water will send an intense electrical impulse from the peripheral nerve endings to the brain. Giving you a boost, a pick me up!
“When your body is exposed to cold, it requires more heat to warm you up. To do so, it has to process more energy and, in doing so, helps you burn more fat, more efficiently. It increases the metabolic rate.
REGULATES BODY TEMPERATURE
Cold showers help to regulate our inner core temperature. The body’s natural reaction to being subjected to freezing cold temperatures is to, well warm itself up! From the inside. Regular cold showers help limit heat loss, decrease core body temperature and regulate overall body temperature. Plus boost immunity!
The old MYTH about catching a chill if being too cold, or ‘dont go out in the cold with wet hair’ kind of thing. I am not a big believer in that anyway unless your immunity is really low as it is. Being exposed to cold stimulus (in short doses) can allow your body to increase and release gluthathione, an antioxidant that keeps all other antioxidants performing at their optimal levels. Increasing immunity.
Hot tip. Its best to just do it, and for as long as possible (if you don’t have major health concerns). If thats too scary just start with your hands/feet, then put your legs in…etc. Its the Upper body thats the hardest!
You will see what I mean about the body heating up, after a short period the water will no longer feel cold, and you will get out of the shower and feel warm!
Crazy amazing bodies!
‘Water is the driving force of all nature’. ~Leonardo Da Vinci.