Many people swear by taking cold showers as they believe it has significant health benefits. This thought is not new either, because even since the days of Hippocrates, it was normal to take cold baths with the belief that illness and pain could be treated and even cured. It was a necessity for good health.
So does taking cold baths or showers actually improve health? Researchers in 2016 decided to put this to the test.
A team of Dutch researchers put together a study of some 2800 people who were split into four different groups. The first group were told to not have any cold showers. The second group were asked to have a daily cold shower for 30 seconds. The next for 60 seconds and the last group for 90 seconds. The study period was one month.
While some 80% of the participants completed the entire month, two thirds actually decided to continue taking cold showers after the study period finished. The results on those who completed the course are as follows:
- Most people said that they experienced a better quality of life overall
- About a third experienced fewer sick days compared to those who didn’t take cold showers
- Many said that they felt they had more energy
- Finally, and most importantly, the results were similar throughout all three groups who took cold showers – the conclusion of this is that you only need a 30 second cold shower as opposed to a 90 second one to achieve the same benefits!
While these results certainly show benefits to taking cold showers, the researchers have yet to find the actual reason why it is beneficial, although they have some theories. It’s possible that shivering increases hormones in the body that helps the immune system or there might be some neurological benefit. Also, it may even have been psychological as the study groups were told that the study was about looking at any benefits to taking cold showers.
What is clear, more research is needed, but it does seem conclusive that a 30 second cold shower certainly has benefits to one’s health.
Why don’t you try it and see what happens? Perhaps have your regular shower at your normal temperature and then for the final 30 seconds switch out the hot and count down. Or you could use the cold time to rinse off so you are not totally focused on the cold and are doing something at the same time.
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