You might hate the moment when there’s no more hot water, and you’re still showering, but being covered with bone-chilling cold water for at least 30 seconds can be advantageous for your health. Shivering with anger and discomfort, especially in the cold winter days, is not the only thing you’ll get from taking the “Scottish Shower,” or more known as the “James Bond Shower.”
It means ending your regular shower with a 30-second cold shower, which will provide amazing benefits for your body and skin.
1. Improves Alertness
Although the very thought of taking a cold shower and feeling the cold water pouring down over your body might not be so pleasant, it’ll cause a series of beneficial effects. First, your body will be shocked by the sudden change in the temperature, and it’ll make you breathe deeply to keep your body warm.
This will increase your overall oxygen intake, which in turn will increase your heart rate, releasing a rush of blood through your body.
Doing this trick while taking your morning shower will provide you with energy for the entire day. The New York Times reports that the urologist and pioneer in social hygiene Thomas Norval Hepburn has recommended this cold shower to the Hollywood actress Katherine Hepburn. Ever since she tried it, she never stopped taking it and recommending it to others. Her high energy levels support her claim.
2. Refines Hair and Skin
One of the best natural ways to refine your skin and hair is taking cold showers. The reason why cold showers are preferred over hot ones is that hot water dries out the skin, whereas the cold tightness the pores and cuticles, preventing them from being clogged. In this way, the cold water in a way closes the scalp and skin pores, thus preventing dirt from entering.
The board-certified dermatologist Jessica Krant says the lukewarm or ice-cold water can prevent the skin from losing its healthy natural oils too early. Although the cold water tightens the skin temporarily by constricting the blood flow, it doesn’t shrink pores.
Hair can also benefit from cold showers. The cold water will flatten the hair follicles and improve their ability to grip the scalp, making the hair stronger, shinier, and healthier.
3. Improves Circulation and Immune System
Cold water increases the blood supply in the body. This is important because having a better circulation means a better ability to fight various skin and heart problems. The natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola explains that increased circulation makes arteries pump blood more efficiently, thus improving the overall heart health. This can also help clear blocked arteries, reduce blood pressure, and boost the immune system.
4. Encourages Weight Loss
There are two types of fat tissue in the human’s body: white and brown fat. If you consume more calories than your body needs, you’ll accumulate a white fat that will pile up at your lower back, waist, thighs, and neck.
Since you don’t burn the calories in white fat for energy, you’ll end up struggling to get rid of it. On the other hand, brown fat is the one you need to keep your body warm, and the one referred to as good fat. According to Joslin Diabetes Center, your body activates the good fat when exposed to freezing temperatures. Therefore, cold showers can stimulate brown fat activity.
In 2009, a group of researchers analyzed the brown fat activity in 24 participants when exposed to extremely cold temperatures. The results showed the brown fat activity has increased by 15 times in all participants. This means a person can lose up to 9 pounds in a year if s/he keeps practicing this habit.
5. Relieves Muscle Soreness and Speeds Up Recovery
Taking a quick cold shower after your workout at the gym can help reduce muscle soreness in the same way as athletes take cold baths after training. In 2009, a group of researchers analyzed 17 trials with more than 350 participants. Some of them immersed themselves in cold water, while others rested after running, cycling, or resistance training.
The study discovered that taking a cold water bath for 24 minutes successfully reduces sore muscles 1 to 4 days after exercises, with a water temperature of 10-15 C or 50-59 F.
6. Relieves Stress
Going into the ocean without gradually acclimating to it or taking a shower without allowing it to heat up can increase tolerance to stress and various illnesses. In 1994, one research discovered that the levels of uric acid in 10 participants exposed to a cold stimulus was significantly reduced during and after the cold exposure. These people were healthy and swam in ice-cold water during winter on a regular basis, so they were adapted to repeated oxidative stress.
What’s more, their levels of glutathione have also increased, and this is important as glutathione is an antioxidant which ensures an optimal function of all other antioxidants.
7. Reduces Depression
The cold receptors in skin react to cold showers by sending huge amounts of electrical impulses all the way up to the brain. This has been shown to help relieve depression symptoms and improve mood.
The analgesic effect of cold hydrotherapy has been proven by a 2008 study, which didn’t find any side effects or risk of dependency. It means taking 1-2 cold showers, 38 F, which should last 2 to 3 minutes proceeded by a 5-minute gradual adaptation.