12

votes

What is the deal with cold showers?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 26, 2010 at 4:32 PM

I've read some paleo blogposts where the writer talked about cold water therapy. What is it, why should I do it, and how do I do it?

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on February 23, 2014
at 06:07 AM

Very interesting. Ive always found a dip in the cold ocean reduces muscle aches after a lot of exertion, in fact quite dramatically. I am just about to start an exercise regime, and this information might be pretty darn handy...

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 01, 2012
at 11:22 PM

Funny, I always thought James Bond showers were steamy and with supermodel actresses.

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 01, 2012
at 11:22 PM

Funny, I always thought James Bond showers were steam and with supermodel actresses

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 01, 2012
at 11:21 PM

Funny, I always thought James Bond showers involved steamy showers with supermodel actresses.

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 01, 2012
at 11:21 PM

Funny, I always thought James Bond showers involved hot, steamy showers with supermodels.

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 01, 2012
at 11:19 PM

I thought the James Bond shower involved bringing in your girl for a steamy 'cleansing'.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on January 01, 2012
at 09:11 PM

I can only laugh when I read the title of this thread... "What is the deal...with COLD showers??!"

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 01, 2012
at 10:30 AM

Running in the snow? Never heard that (I'm from Finland). We roll in the snow. Yes, naked.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 03, 2010
at 12:20 AM

prof de vany is trying to take the cave out of cave-man. he is taking the cro out and leaving the magnon.

0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on June 02, 2010
at 01:21 AM

vany can only do legs- I thought that was funny- stick your head in there Art.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 28, 2010
at 09:10 PM

i think it's fun to poke fun at, but unless you have some real background and experience behind you, how can you judge other people's answers? i only got a '2' for my brown fat answer, and it was certainly better than the post that got '4'. robb wolf and richard nickoley are both de vany proteges (although they don't follow him exactly). feelin the chill is for brown fat that the ancestors had. end of story. points please.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on February 28, 2010
at 02:48 PM

Perhaps you'll find the opposite, that you're more clever and articulate than you thought you were. We're all here to learn, and the more you participate--by reading and by formulating questions, answers and comments--the more you will learn. The reputation points system can be intimidating, but I'm sure it's intended to be a fun sidelight to the website.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 28, 2010
at 02:09 PM

but i don't want to learn that. hence, my problem with the reputation thingy.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on February 28, 2010
at 02:53 AM

vmary, good point about brown fat. Don't worry about your point score. A few hundred reputation points and US$5 will buy you something at your local Starbucks. Anyway, it takes 5 down votes to cancel one up vote, so the scores are ratcheted upward. I've learned very quickly that I'm neither as clever nor articulate as I thought I was. Cheers,

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 28, 2010
at 02:37 AM

Sauna + dip in cold pool or running in the snow is said to be super good for you in several cultures. I lived in Sweden and enjoyed it and felt awesome afterwards.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on February 27, 2010
at 01:33 AM

I've heard that the idea is to stimulate "fight or flight" responses in the human body and not to use it as a method of cleanliness. I'm looking forward to hearing some responses that expound on the physical fitness reason for cold water therapy.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 26, 2010
at 11:23 PM

Most far northern peoples used saunas and sweatlodges to clean themselves rather than actually bathing in cold water.

5cd18bfcafadc56292971e59f2f1faf6

(2475)

on February 26, 2010
at 07:59 PM

Interesting question. I wonder how a population like the Inuit approaches bathing in cold water? Do they consider it a refreshing part of everyday life or do they avoid it like the plague?

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15 Answers

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29
F0978a2a1c37d2a3d4ec6344c0c4ff82

on February 27, 2010
at 03:58 PM

It is a technique to increase recovery, decrease post workout soreness and according to Robb Wolf, increase insulin sensitivity. The alpinist and trainer Mark Twight whose very CrossFit-like training facility Gym Jones was made famous with its remarkable physique transformations of the cast of the movie 300, is a proponent of this technique. From Mark Twight's book Extreme Alpinism:

Invented by the French and used by virtually every elite athlete on the planet, it is often confused with some kind of torture. Right after working out, hop into the shower. First, cook yourself for no longer than 5 minutes in hot water, relax, get those blood vessels well dilated. Then slowly add cold water to the mix until it's so cold you can't stand it. Endure it. Focus the water on the back of your head and the muscles you just worked. Feel the blood vessels constrict. Stay under it for as long as it takes to really cool off - 2 to 3 minutes. The time it takes to cool down will increase as you adapt, and the temperature for cooling will decrease. Then, switch the hot water back on. The blood vessels will dilate, and inrushing blood will flush the lactic acid out. Start the cooking process again. Repeat at least two cycles and finish on cold. This induces a tonic effect and you'll rebound, flushing again as your body warms up in your clothes.

Robb Wolf in addition to the link already provided by Tim, talks about ice baths briefly in his February 9 2010 podcast The Paleolithic Solution - Episode 14. He states that they dramatically improve insulin sensitivity but doesn't really elucidate the mechanism for how they do so.

As you probably are already aware, paleo blogger Richard Nikoley is also fond of cold water exposure and blogs about using a 40 degree F cold dip at his gym after workouts and losing 5 pounds in a day. I think he was exposed to this idea by Art DeVany through his Evolutionary Fitness (EvFit) model.

Mark Sisson, author of the Primal Blueprint, wrote an extensive post on Cold Water Therapy as did Stephan Guyenet, Ph.D of Whole Health Source under the topic of hormesis. I recommend reading both posts but especially Mark's since he does quite an extensive review of all the possible benefits.

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on February 23, 2014
at 06:07 AM

Very interesting. Ive always found a dip in the cold ocean reduces muscle aches after a lot of exertion, in fact quite dramatically. I am just about to start an exercise regime, and this information might be pretty darn handy...

12
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 28, 2010
at 02:10 AM

if i remember correctly, professor de vany likes to elicit a shivering response via rinsing his legs in the shower with cold water or going on a motorcycle ride on a cold day without a jacket. he talks about brown fat and how it produces heat, and the way to get it is to periodically expose yourself to cold. he feels that surfers have a lot of brown fat. he says other stuff- but i forget :( please don't hurt my reputation point score.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on February 28, 2010
at 02:53 AM

vmary, good point about brown fat. Don't worry about your point score. A few hundred reputation points and US$5 will buy you something at your local Starbucks. Anyway, it takes 5 down votes to cancel one up vote, so the scores are ratcheted upward. I've learned very quickly that I'm neither as clever nor articulate as I thought I was. Cheers,

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 28, 2010
at 02:09 PM

but i don't want to learn that. hence, my problem with the reputation thingy.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on February 28, 2010
at 02:48 PM

Perhaps you'll find the opposite, that you're more clever and articulate than you thought you were. We're all here to learn, and the more you participate--by reading and by formulating questions, answers and comments--the more you will learn. The reputation points system can be intimidating, but I'm sure it's intended to be a fun sidelight to the website.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 28, 2010
at 09:10 PM

i think it's fun to poke fun at, but unless you have some real background and experience behind you, how can you judge other people's answers? i only got a '2' for my brown fat answer, and it was certainly better than the post that got '4'. robb wolf and richard nickoley are both de vany proteges (although they don't follow him exactly). feelin the chill is for brown fat that the ancestors had. end of story. points please.

0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on June 02, 2010
at 01:21 AM

vany can only do legs- I thought that was funny- stick your head in there Art.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 03, 2010
at 12:20 AM

prof de vany is trying to take the cave out of cave-man. he is taking the cro out and leaving the magnon.

5
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on February 27, 2010
at 02:27 AM

Cold water has been used therapeutically by many cultures, including Shinto samurai, traditional Chinese medicine, northern Europeans, and the Romans. The reputed medical benefits of cold water showers include boosting the immune system, reducing pain, improving circulation in the legs, and increasing the body's tolerance to stress ( http://ownyourhealth.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/cold-showers-whats-the-evidence/ ). Cosmetically, cold water causes vasoconstriction in the skin, which temporarily tightens pores and reduces dark circles under the eyes. Modern "water circuits" are a type of hydrotherapy based on ancient Roman bathing traditions. A water circuit alternates bathing in hot and cold water. Here is a link which explains how you can do a water circuit at home: http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/get-fit-by-taking-a-bath-216625/

3
7b7ebe08c25d5a911f9c15c5e50092b9

(337)

on February 26, 2010
at 10:33 PM

Humans (and even monkeys) have always soaked in natural hot springs. Therefore, I'm going to continue taking hot showers. :)

2
0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

on February 27, 2010
at 04:55 AM

Contrast therapy:

http://robbwolf.com/2007/09/07/recovery/

Once in a while, I will take a 5 minute cold water only shower after a fasted workout, maybe once a month. Makes me feel peppy all day long.

0
6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

on February 23, 2014
at 09:00 AM

The English boarding school tradition was very cold showers and early morning runs. Whilst that might indeed be good for you I will continue to avoid it. Except we always as children went swimming in very cold seas and rivers in the wilds with my father and I do that occasionally. Wild water swimming. Even so I am not going to turn my shower to cold or keep the house cold.

Apparently a cold house helps you lose weight but I'm not going to try that either.

0
E7f09005fda1f3ac29ad3718ff4ada3b

on February 23, 2014
at 05:49 AM

Becker posted an interesting update this month about irisin, a newly discovered hormone that is activated by cold temperatures and exercise to produce brown fat

http://gettingstronger.org/2014/02/what-cold-showers-and-exercise-have-in-common/

0
E7f09005fda1f3ac29ad3718ff4ada3b

on February 23, 2014
at 05:29 AM

Becker posted an interesting update on Getting Stronger this month about irisin, a newly discovered hormone that stimulates the growth of brown fat in response to cold showers or exercise:

http://gettingstronger.org/2014/02/what-cold-showers-and-exercise-have-in-common/

0
Medium avatar

on January 01, 2012
at 05:26 PM

During colder weather (winter), people who seek cold water are oriented differently from people like me. I don't care how "good for you" cold showers may be. Give me hot water showers and baths when the calendar says January and it's not Maui.

I don't doubt the cold-water-benefit hypothesis may have value for those so inclined. Go for it, improve yourselves, reach your full cold-water-health potential.

Hot water Bubble Bath time for me. Where's rubber ducky?

0
7767e05a8c4504f6be03f13ee40815cd

(1299)

on January 01, 2012
at 09:12 AM

Wim Hof has learned to control his autonomic nervous system and immune system primarily through cold exposure and breathing exercises. His cardiovascular health is excellent. I wonder how much is directly due to the cold water. I have personally started doing cold showers and his breathing exercises to see what I can experience.

0
0d83a31f4066514252a2b6fb81f05b48

(907)

on January 01, 2012
at 07:34 AM

I have taken cold showers everyday for the past three months after reading the information from Todd Becker on www.gettingstronger.org and looking into the benefits. I was mostly keen because there was research on the benefits of cold therapy for depression and I have battled clinical depression for five years and any extra tools to add to my kit seemed worthwhile. I now prefer cold to hot (never expected that) and find I feel more energetic and lively as opposed to sleepy after showering. Plus there can't be any harm if it proves to increase brown fat in the body either! This is a reasonable introduction page http://gettingstronger.org/2010/03/cold-showers/ .

As for starting out you could just alternate between warm and cold burst in the shower - or do what I did and go straight with the cold. PS: Get under the shower head before turning on the icy blast, kind of saves the wasted water used as one hesitates and fights chickening out before they get it.

0
13a566091646c4d728852400429a3cc0

on January 01, 2012
at 05:30 AM

Www.gettingstronger.org has great info on stress to make you stronger

0
0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on June 02, 2010
at 01:23 AM

try this link:

http://artofmanliness.com/2010/01/18/the-james-bond-shower-a-shot-of-cold-water-for-health-and-vitality/

cold showers are the best after washing. take the plunge.

I always figure- what kind of warrior can you be if a little cold water makes you cry.

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 01, 2012
at 11:22 PM

Funny, I always thought James Bond showers were steamy and with supermodel actresses.

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 01, 2012
at 11:21 PM

Funny, I always thought James Bond showers involved steamy showers with supermodel actresses.

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 01, 2012
at 11:21 PM

Funny, I always thought James Bond showers involved hot, steamy showers with supermodels.

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 01, 2012
at 11:22 PM

Funny, I always thought James Bond showers were steam and with supermodel actresses

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 01, 2012
at 11:19 PM

I thought the James Bond shower involved bringing in your girl for a steamy 'cleansing'.

0
8d4352f99dbb40312ad219a201d488f3

(25)

on June 02, 2010
at 12:12 AM

i love cold showers*** but its just theres is no money to pay the heat.. and the bill...and the earth cloimate crisis done by the rich internet users.

i like cold , but need to warm up.

0
84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on April 27, 2010
at 12:55 PM

I usually shower with warm water but in the end, I use low-flow showerhead over my head. First I do itfor 10, 15 seconds with really hot one and then 5-10 with really cold one.

All good but I found out that I my ear started to hurt after a week of doing this ? Anyone felt similiar ? Can this rapid temperature shift effect the ears ?

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