We are often insulated from our environment. In the winter, we warm our homes. In the summer, we cool them. But we may be unintentionally harming our health by not challenging our bodies to deal with the ambient temperature. A panel of experts today explains how we can benefit from cold therapy, offering practical first steps for those who are new to the practice. They also cover the problems with artificial light and the importance of getting more sunlight on our skin. They share how living more in tune with nature, as our ancestors did, can help alleviate a host of health conditions and reinvigorate the body.
The panelists are Dr. Mike T. Nelson, Katie Newman, Thaddeus Owen, Christa Rymal, Heidi Sime, and Nic Zahasky.
The Benefits of Cold Showers
1. Increases Alertness
Due to the sudden change in temperature, our bodies naturally go into a state of initial shock and our breathing patterns can be uncomfortable, or we even hyper ventilate. However with deep breathing, in response to our body’s shock not only helps to keep us warm, but it also increases our overall oxygen intake. As a result, we'll get a natural dose of energy for the day.
2. Improves Hair and Skin
When it comes to hair and skin, cold showers can be highly beneficial and are one of the most natural ways to maintain your appearance. The reason for this is hot water actually dries out our skin, as it strips the skin of its natural oils that prevent it from drying out and crackles or wrinkles appearing. Cold water on the other hand actually tighten pores, which prevent them from getting clogged and prevent dirt from getting in.
3. Stimulates Weight Loss
One of the lesser known facts about cold showers is they can aid weight loss. This is because the human body contains two types of fat tissue, white and brown fat. White fat accumulates when we consume more calories than our body needs to function. Brown fat is considered a healthy fat, which is used to generate heat to keep our bodies warm and is activated when our bodies are exposed to extreme cold.
4. Improves Immunity and Circulation
Cold water can improve circulation by encouraging blood to surround our organs, which can then help combat some problems of the skin and heart. As cold water hits the body, it's ability to get blood circulating leads the arteries to more efficiently pump blood, therefore boosting our overall heart health.
5. Eases Stress
One of the greatest benefits of cold showers is they can ease stress. By jumping into the shower without letting it heat up, you can help promote hardening, increasing your tolerance to stress and even disease.
6. Relieves Depression
Cold showers can ease stress and this in turn has been shown to relieve depression symptoms due to the intense impact of cold receptors in the skin. This activity sends an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from the peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which in response produces an antidepressive effect and boosts moods, acting as a pick-me-up.
7. Speeds Up Muscle Soreness and Recovery
Researchers have observed there is some evidence that cold-water immersion reduces muscle soreness at 24, 48, 72 and even at 96 hours after exercise compared with 'passive' treatment (Bleakley, 2012).
Bleakley C, McDonough S, Gardner E, Baxter G David, Hopkins J Ty, Davison G W. (2012). Cold-water immersion (cryotherapy) for preventing and treating muscle soreness after exercise. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD008262. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008262.pub2. Retrieved 23 March 2020, from https://www.cochrane.org/CD008262/MUSKINJ_cold-water-immersion-for-preventing-and-treating-muscle-soreness-after-exercise
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