Yes, even in Winter. (This is Brisbane, after all.)
Yes, I know it’s crazy! But bear with me…
Cold water therapy has been used by many different cultures all over the world for centuries. In Japan, it’s known as misogi. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it as part of their regular bathing practice. And those wonderful Scandos* love to swap between a nice hot sauna and a dip in the lake. Brrrrr!!
Personally, I’ve sworn by cold showers ever since I was introduced to them more than 15 years ago. Here’s why:
- The first thing you’ll notice is how stimulating it is. Invigorating, some might say. A good cold shower certainly wakes you up!
- It gets you present, HERE AND NOW! It’s hard to be worrying about your upcoming work day when you’re riveted on the rigours of thousands of chilly droplets raining down on you.
- It helps you drop your negativity and strengthen your will (see above).
- It clears your energy body – you know that fresh feeling you get after a dip in the ocean or a creek? That’s basically what I’m talking about here.
- It’s good for you physically:
As with anything new, you’ll want to ease yourself into it. You could take a regular shower as normal, then gradually decrease the temperature for a few seconds at the end. Build up to longer periods of cold. In Winter, I like to start with about 30 seconds of cold, getting my whole body wet and clearing each of my chakras, before moving on to warm and showering as normal, then finishing with a quick blast of cold again. This last part freshens me up for my day and I feel invigorated for hours afterward. In Summer, I usually keep it cold right through. You can even go cold-hot-cold-hot-cold to flush your circulatory system. Listen to your body and feel for what works, which might vary depending on the day.
The most important part, as far as I’m concerned, is how you approach it. I suggest coming to it with a willingness to be open, courageous, accepting, stronger and clearer. On days when I don’t feel like it, I make sure to slow down and really feel the coldness of the water, embracing the experience and kind of inviting it in. On days when I REALLY don’t feel like it, I just have a warm shower instead.
Of course cold showers aren’t a cure-all, and they don’t replace other healthy lifestyle factors (such as exercise, diet, sleep, meditation).
They’re also not for those with a compromised immune system or certain health conditions (such as frailty, heart problems, high blood pressure, fever, etc.) If you’re not in good health, you should definitely consult your primary care practitioner before trying cold showers. But used wisely, they may be beneficial for a range of health complaints. There’s even early research suggesting cold hydrotherapy may be helpful for depression.
Curious to know more? Start with the links above or search for cold water therapy.
*No offence meant, some of my favourite people are Scandos!