First, I just want to say that, in my opinion, the most transformative benefit of taking cold showers is the invigorating sense of strength, power and confidence that comes not only immediately after the shower, but becomes a permanent fixture of who you are.
In a previous article I detailed how I got into taking cold showers. And things were going fine and I was enjoying them very much, and then winter approached.
But this wasn’t just any winter, this was a winter without heat.
I live in southern China and it actually doesn’t get that cold in the winter, at least compared to what I was used to growing up in the Midwest in the U.S. But, this winter I did not have any heat in my apartment and the temperature inside my home would get as low as 45° F (7° C) inside.
As it got colder and colder in my home, I began to long more and more for hot, or at least warm, showers. Eventually, I succumbed and sighed in relief as I enjoyed a hot steamy shower.
Over the next few weeks, I began to take more and more hot showers. However, I noticed a lot of changes: I felt more tired after showering, had less motivation, felt less confidence, did not sleep as well and needed more sleep, felt mentally fuzzier, noticed more thoughts of worry and seemed more susceptible to colds and flu. At first I attributed it to the fact that it was just the winter and it was cold.
One day, in the depths of the winter, I realized that I missed my cold showers and the surge of energy and strength that I got from them. I slowly moved the faucet from hot to cold. As I adjusted to the colder temperatures, I moved it more and more towards the cold until ice water was barreling out of the shower head onto me.
My body took some time to re-adjust and I had to consciously slow my breathing (be cautious trying this yourself because if you are new to cold showers and do not calm your breathing you can get quite dizzy, which is not a good thing in the shower). But after finishing the cold shower, I remembered why I had stuck with them for so long: even though they can be tough at the beginning, the positive benefits and feelings of strength, confidence and power that result far outweigh the initial struggle.
I decided to start taking cold showers again. However, what I noticed was that it was really uncomfortable and difficult at the beginning of a cold shower in the winter. It wasn’t so bad after a few minutes after adjusting, but the beginning was almost unbearable.
So, I started experimenting.
I tried starting out hot and making it slowly colder and colder (like James Bond did in the movies), I started out cold and made it hotter and hotter as well. I tried starting hot and immediately switching to freezing cold and vice-versa.
In the end, what I discovered that seemed to work the best for me when the weather was cold was this: start out with a normal, comfortable hot shower and, once I felt nice and warm (which was usually 2-3 minutes in), cool the temperature so that it is cool (not cold) for a few seconds, then, once you have adjusted to the cool temperature, go to col for a few seconds until you adjust and, then go all the way to ice cold, and finish the rest of the shower in the cold water. In this way I’d spend about the last half of the shower in cold water.
In doing this, it seems that I had built up enough warmth in my body to be able to deal with the icy cold water. And this left me with the same invigorated feeling I would normally feel after a cold shower, but without leaving me shivering in the winter. Doing this actually left me feeling warmer after my showers than any other method.
And, I noticed that the benefits of cold showers (which had left me while temporarily succumbing to hot showers) returned. I felt more awake and aware, slept better and required less sleep, felt more confident and mentally clear, had less thoughts of worry and could see that my immune system boosted.
I did, however, notice that the benefits didn’t fully return to the extent that they were when I only took cold showers. A few weeks ago, I returned to 100% cold showers and have since seen the benefits completely restored.
One warning I would like to issue is this: I have been working with taking cold showers for quite a while and I do not recommend you to start taking cold showers in the midst of the winter. As of the day of this writing, we are nearing spring and now could be a good time to start taking cold showers. Of course, if your home is well heated, then I suppose you could start any time as long as it is a comfortable temperature inside.
That being said, I cannot praise enough the benefits I have seen personally from taking cold showers. You can read more about how cold showers can change your life here.
How do you feel about taking cold showers? Have you tried it before? Share your experiences or opinions in the comments section below.
And if you have never taken a cold shower…you don’t know what you’re missing. Go for it 🙂