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Do Cold Showers Really Have a Health Benefit?

Jan 27, 2021 | Emotional, Mental, Physical

Lose weight, improve your mood and fight arthritis.

I first heard about Wim Hof’s cold shower method and the benefits, both mental and physical, two years ago. The small amount of information I had read about it convinced me it was not only plausible but seemed relatively easy. So why not try it?

My Saturday afternoons often include a relaxing 15-minute sauna at my local gym. It was then that I tried out the highly rated cold shower dream. Feeling relaxed and up for a challenge, I turned the tap fully to cold and enthusiastically hopped in. I’ve always enjoyed the facilities at the gym; the large shower heads mounted on their ceiling ensures every part of you will benefit from its powerful downpour.

Before I could get comfortable, I felt the icy water bleed into every inch of my scalp, excruciatingly covering the entire circumference of my head. It followed with an agonizing trickle down the back of my neck, along my spine, jarring my body into a frozen spasm. Time stood still. I wondered how I had found myself at the hands of such a torturous act, a deliberate infliction of intense suffering. Overwhelmed with nausea, I swung the shower door open and darted out of the shower, squealing with horror. I struggled to imagine how this method could bring any benefit, let alone a physical or mental.  

A year later more of my friends were following Wim Hof and giving testimonials about how rejuvenating they felt and thrilled to be enduring a two-minute cold shower! Two minutes?!? What!

The competitive side to me needed to investigate further. I had to believe I was tougher than this! My mother has always told me I was the spoilt one, but really? Does spoilt equal soft? No ways, I will have none of it!

I went to the source directly, Wim Hof’s website, and downloaded the three quick videos. The first is a video on breathing exercises which are imperative, the second a demonstration on how to introduce your body to a cold shower and the third, the power of your mind. Here is the good news: the starting point is 15 seconds, which still frightened me, but the 15 seconds is not exposing your full self to freezing cold water, but introducing your body, one part at a time. First the extremities, your hands and arms, then one foot and leg, followed by the second. Slowly introduce your shoulders and the rest of your body and gently step out. No drama!

I have signed up for the 20-day cold shower challenge starting today and invite you to join me. The first five days involve 15 seconds of cold water, the second 30, the third 45 ending with one full minute of enduring freezing cold water on the 20th day.

I’ll see that when it happens! Other than seeing if I can actually do this, I will note any effects on my various complaints and let you know in 20 days.

20 Day Cold Shower Challenge

Before I leave you, here is a snapshot of my favourite benefits listed by Wim Hof.

Physical Benefits:

  • A natural anti-inflammatory.
  • Creates better sleep.
  • Boosting of immune system.
  • Arthritis relief.
  • Migraine relief.
  • Post treatment Lyme disease.
  • Lower your blood pressure.

Mental Benefits:

  • Increase willpower.
  • Helps deal with depression.
  • Mood lifter
  • Relieves stress.

I am hoping to test this with my sleep, joint pains in my hands, lift my mood and increase my willpower. A friend explained the biggest thing we should be able to take from this is tapping into our own body’s robustness! This has appealed to me, as seeing, and feeling my reaction to that initial cold shower alarmed me. I’ve got to be tougher than this.

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