In recent years, cold water therapy has gained serious traction thanks to its numerous health benefits. These include reduced inflammation and muscle soreness, increased metabolism and better sleep.
When practised regularly, cold water therapy can even positively impact your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems. It has been used for centuries to take advantage of our body’s tendency to adapt to harsher conditions. As a result, our bodies become more resistant to stress.
One of the most prominent proponents of this practice is Wim Hof. Also known as The Iceman, the Dutch extreme athlete is known for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures. The Wim Hof Method is a simple, yet powerful method based on the foundation of three pillars; Breathing, Cold Therapy and Commitment.
It has now been embraced by biohackers, performance coaches, and recovery specialists around the world. Adaptations of cold water therapy include ice baths, cold showers, outdoor swims and cryotherapy. Daily cold showers are the most convenient ways to reap the rewards of this practice – all from the comfort of your own home!
Here’s how cold water therapy can benefit you:
- Helps relieve symptoms of stress
- Increases alertness, clarity and energy levels
- Releases endorphins (the happy hormone)
- Helps improve metabolism
- Activates brown fat cells, which burn calories and keep us warm
- Improves circulation
- Promotes lymphatic drainage
- Decreases muscle inflammation and speeds up recovery
- Can help build resistance to common illnesses such as colds and the flu
- Helps reset the body’s temperature control
If the thought of taking a cold shower has you shivering, start by easing yourself into the habit. At the end of your usual shower, lower the temperature of the water to the point that you feel a little uncomfortable. Stay underneath the water for at least 2-3 minutes, focusing on taking long, deep breaths. Each time you try it, make the water slightly colder and stay in there for another minute or two. Conditioning your brain and your body to embrace cold water immersion may be challenging, but the benefits to your health are worth it!