Here comes the HardCore stuff! 🙂 Cold showers.
I got introduced to cold showers 1 year ago, by the 4-hour Body of Tim Ferriss and its chapter on Cold Thermogenesis (more info below on that). And I thought, hey, it’s summer, it’s hot, why not give it a try for some days!
At first it was hard, I have to confess.. Although day by day I found some tricks to make it a LOT easier, and so 2-3 months passed and I habitualized it 🙂 But when the winter came, I continued it for a month or so, and then I stopped it, and I can’t remember why and how. I just started doing a warm bath now and then, and then started doing less and less cold showers, until I gradually stopped them.
I have a post >here< about when I started them again in the midst of winter, and how I over-did it, by also incorporating fasting and being sleep deprived due to some unexpected things that came up (aka gaming) and exams stress… Until eventually I got a cold and started warm baths again. This past summer I was on cold showers once again, and on September stopped again (exams, stress, sleep deprivation again).
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Now I gradually add 1-2 per week. Or there are times I turn it to full cold after a warm bath. I love this so much. Once you try it, habitualize it, and see the dynamic serenity on it, you will become addicted.
How Cold Showers can truly benefit the world, starting with you.
Cold showers have many health benefits as I describe below, but they also give you some side benefits that can truly change the way you move through life, and the world as the extention of it.
When you discover that they are EXTREMELY good for your health (with some WARNINGS and exclusion of peoples with some health conditions/issues), you will see that cold water is just another mental boundary that we have to overcome. A fear we haven’t overcome yet and we face it like it’s something abnormal. Although the abnormal is to do every time shower with hot water. Let me explain why.
I won’t go very far: Before the invention of heaters, how do you think that people were doing showers? In ancient times? In paleolithic times? For thousands of years they were bathing in lakes, rivers, or with only a small amount of warm water from the sun or fire.
And here comes the science (this time it’s evolutionary biology) to tell you this, that although common sense, it’s something only a few people believe:
WE ARE MADE TO SHOWER AND BATHE WITH COLD WATER, MOSTLY, AND WE HAVE FORGOT IT!
So for one more time we scientifically prove what should be -common- sense.
Oh I forgot. Common sense is not -common- at all..
So, the Cold water does the following magic:
1) First and foremost, and MOST important in the today’s societies, it makes you SURPASS YOUR FEARS and face them head on!! In other words it increases your SELF-CONTROL (or self-mastery as I love to call it :)! It puts you in your rightful place: To see that you are above and beyond your mind and its limiting beliefs.
2) It makes you feel good, alive and happy! Even if it seems paradoxical in the beginning, indeed it does lift your spirits!! It has been proven that it lowers the anxiety and depression levels in your life!
3) It increases your Libido! That is because of the increase of the sexual hormones secretion (especially the -male- ones), like Testosterone. One more reason to have improved mood 😉
4) Improves the condition of your hair and skin.
5) Reinforces your Immune System.
6) Improves your Cardiovascular System.
7) Improves the quality of your Sleep! Especially if you’ve done one just before going to sleep, for like 5 minutes, it may seem again paradoxical, as it wakes you up at first, but it actually gives you more of a kinda Zen relaxation energy. Because it lowers your body’s temperature, it makes it easier & quicker to go to deeper levels of relaxation!
8) It increases your Self-Esteem that you DID it! 🙂 Something that piles up and builds a self-image of a Disciplined Self, Courageous and Explorer.
9) Changes the whole way you see the world, and after the first 1-2 weeks, your mind starts to get used to the shock it gets from the water every time, and it instantly relaxes to face it painlessly.. (dependent learning phenomenon ?) This happens also in so many other situations; where otherwise you would get annoyed, irritated or angry and begin tou shout out, you will find yourself calming down, and facing the situation, so serene and peaceful, that you had NEVER imagined yourself capable of having.
10) GREATLY reduces the muscle soarness that comes 1-4 days after an intense workout; even more than rest would.
11) Triggers LIPOLISIS! This is VERY EFFECTIVE AND IMPORTANT for someone who wants to lower his BodyFat percentage (note: not pounds or kilos: you don’t want to lose X pounds of whatever, but FAT pounds!). Brown fat cells that are triggered with cold are a special category of Fat Cells, that BURN fat and glucose to produce heat. Moreover, with cold exposure there may appear brown fat cells inside the white (the popular) fat cells.
Also, with cold exposure is increased the secretion of Adiponectin, an hormone which is produced by the fat cells that increases the fat oxidation and the glucose uptake by the muscles (leading to muscle mass increase: GOOD)
NOTE 4 Girls: Dear girls I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you DON’T have enough androgens like the levels of testosterone a man has, to become like her, so you DON’T have a CHANCE to become like that without taking any external source of testosterone… You will JUST create nice lines for your body = VERY good… 😉
The video below is of Ray Cronise, a NASA scientist who took in public this effect of cold in our body. (I learned about it from the book of Tim Ferriss – The 4-hour Body, in the Chapter – Ice Age, which refers to all these nice things and the Mister below..)
12) Many experts believe that the alteration of hot and cold water (aka the Scotch Bath/Shower) which helps the transportation of Oxygen and other elements to the internal organs, while promoting Detoxification (kicking out of body the cells’ and other bodily waste products).
13) Lowers “DRASTICALLY” the levels of Uric Acid: High levels of this have been normally correlated with arthritis, but is also known that people with high blood pressure, liver diseases and obesity, often have increased levels of Uric Acid. When it exceeds 5.5mg/dL, then you have an increased risk for many diseases including heart diseases, fatty liver or other liver diseases, diabetes, hypertension and more.
14) Increases Glutathione: is the most powerful antioxidant of our body, which keeps all other antioxidants acting in peak performance.
15) After the shower you will feel somewhat like this:
Enter Ray Cronise:
and his site is HERE.
It is best to do 1 time per day in winter, preferably in the morning when you wake up, to shake you for good, but also to fill in your recent memory what kind of person you are and who’s in charge. And 2x in summer, one just when wake up, and one just before you go to sleep to lower the temperature of your body and make a quality sleep.
Keep in mind though that you’ll get at least a week to start getting used to it. 😉 It will be probably HARD, but I believe in you, you CAN do it!
Beyond anything else, it trains your Focus, Breathing and Conscious physical Relaxation.
(for breaking through the wall of limiting beliefs and initial pain):
Try the following (this is what will bring you the Zen Relaxation energy) to see how much more painless and awesome the cold shower will become (believe me, it works, and after the 1st week, you will like it even more):
Before even the cold water touches you, relax consciously every part of your body, and start taking DEEEPer and looonger inhalations and exhalations using your diaphragm more and more (see if your belly is bulging when you inhale), and turn your focus only on one thing. This may be your breathing, or a point on the wall in front of you or anything. It will give you a sense of unimaginable relaxation and dettachment from feelings and thoughts you have in that moment and you may really feel complete serenity or what other people and scientists describe as a “Flow” experience.
These techniques go the same for walking on burning coals, on hot sand, or any other thing that gives you bodily pain. It’s not a matter of Mind over Matter, it’s just that Emotion is determined by Focus. And pain has attached an emotion. Take away the emotion and pain becomes meaningless.
For the slimmer fellas, it’s better to eat something more in general, so there will be energy to consume, and it may be better for you to do just 1 shower per day. SEE THE CAUTIONS BELOW for more info if you should/should not do it due to medical conditions.
CAUTIONS: Don’t do a cold shower without asking your doctor first, IF YOU:
- Have eatten something for the last 1-1.5 hr so there is no increased bloodflow needs from your gastrointestinal system
- Have any circulatory issues/problems, like low/high blood pressure, atherosclerosis
- Have uncontrolled problems with the thyroid (hyper-/hypo-thyreoidism) – check your thyroid’s function to see if you have any problem, and check with your doctor if you can do or not, cold showers (if you can swim in a pool or in the cold sea I guess it will be ok)
- Are Weak or have any disease that is causing you to be weaker than usual
- Are pregnant or you are in menstruation.