Since hearing about the Ice Man, Wim-Hof, I have been intrigued with cold water therapy. Wim-Hof talks about the benefits of ice baths and cold showers and how cold exposure can clear the mind and heal the body. It seems like such an easy practice until I'm faced with the prospect of actually getting in cold water!
I'm not ready to step in a cold shower yet, the best I have been able to do is turn down the hot water at the end of my shower. This doesn't have the same benefits as running into a freezing cold lake in Canada in late December, but it does have advantages nevertheless.
The first thing I notice when the water goes cold is that I feel more alert, how could I not be alert standing in cold water? But I'm not just aware of the water, I feel alert to the process, and more alert to my surroundings and "in the moment". I believe the reason I feel alert is that cold water can activate the vagus nerve. This is the largest cranial nerve and it controls things like digestion, heart rate, breathing, and reflexes. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5859128
Through years of research Wim-Hof has discovered that cold showers and cold water therapy can enhance the immune response, increase willpower and help the body develop brown fat which burns calories and lead to weight loss. Cold can also help with mood and ease depression and anxiety according to www.wimhofmethod.com
I use cold water to help ease muscle soreness after a workout and to help reduce inflammation. I feel that I get many benefits from this practice and meeting the challenge of standing under ice cold water makes me stronger, and when I do make it to my chilly two minute goal, I feel like I have started off my day with a win.
Cold showers are not for everyone. They are not recommended for those that have heart disease because they can be over taxing. As with everything, use caution and do your own research.
I wrote this article based on personal experience, this is for information only and not meant to replace medical advice. This is not a sponsored or promotional article. For more information on cold showers and the Wim-Hof method check out these websites. www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/vagus-nerve www.wimhofmethod.com/benefits-of-cold-showers