Can Cold Showers Save the World?

Either a cold shower or a slap to the face…

Cold Water Therapy Around the World

Ice water immersion is a more intense experience than a cold shower. But cold showers are more accessible for most us.

Scandinavians have known it for centuries – plunging into ice-cold water is good for you. Here’s how it feels to take a dip in the ice in Arctic Sweden – and where you can try this tinglingly fun form of swimming yourself. __ Ice Swimming Girl

Ice swimming is an old tradition in Scandinavia, Russia, the Baltic countries, Canada, parts of China, and more. Cold water immersion affects the human physiology in profound ways.

Comparing water immersion at different temperatures.

Mild warm to tepid water (32°C) immersion for one hour lowered heart rate and blood pressure, and also lowered levels of the hormones renin, cortisol, and aldosterone. Cool water (20°C) immersion also lowered heart rate and blood pressure — along with lowered renin and cortisol, but unchanged aldosterone levels. Cold water (14°C) increased heart rate and blood pressure, and raised the metabolic rate by 350%. Cortisol decreased, aldosterone increased, and renin was unchanged. Urine output increased after cold water immersion. More:

One hour head-out water immersions (WI) in various temperatures (32°C, 20°C, and 14°C) produced various effects. Immersion at 32°C did not change metabolic rate (MR) and rectal temperature (Tre), but it lowered the heart rate (HR) by 15%, systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) by 11% and 12%, respectively, compared, with controls at ambient air temperature. Along with HR and blood pressure (BP), the plasma renin activity, plasma cortisol, and aldosterone concentrations were also lowered by 46%, 34%, and 17%, respectively, while diuresis was increased by 107%.[3]

Immersion at 20°C produced similar decrease in plasma renin activity, HR, SBP, and DBP, in spite of lowered Tre and increased MR by 93%. Plasma cortisol concentrations tended to decrease, while plasma aldosterone concentration was unchanged. Diuresis was increased by 89%. No significant differences in changes in plasma renin activity, aldosterone concentration, and diuresis compared with subjects immersed in 32°C.[3]

Immersion at 14°C lowered Tre and increased MR by 350%, HR, SBP, and DBP by 5%, 7%, and 8%, respectively. Plasma noradrenaline and dopamine concentrations were increased by 530% and by 250%, respectively, while diuresis increased by 163%, which was more than at 32°C. Plasma aldosterone concentrations increased by 23%. Plasma renin activity was reduced. Cortisol concentrations tended to decrease. Plasma adrenaline concentrations remained unchanged. Changes in plasma renin activity were not related to changes in aldosterone concentrations.[3] _ N. American Jnl. of Med. Sci. 2014

What About a Cold Shower?

Consider one person’s experience:

The water hits, and biology asserts itself. You are not a tired balloon of cerebral activity; you are a body, and you are being challenged. You gulp air; your pulse thumps. Your brain, meanwhile, your lovely, furry old brain, goes glacier-blue with shock. Thought is abolished. Personality is abolished. You’re a nameless mammal under a ravening jet of cold water. It’s a kind of accelerated mindfulness, really: In two seconds, you’re at the sweet spot between nonentity and total presence. It’s the cold behind the cold; the beautiful, immobile zero; a flame of numbness bending you to its will. Also—this is important—you can still lather up in a cold shower, and get all your washing done: hair, body, everything.

Then you get out, and you’re different. Things have happened to your neurotransmitters that may be associated, say the scientists, with elevated mood and increased alertness. You’re wide awake, at any rate. Your epidermis is cool and seal-like. Your nervous system is jangling—but melodically, like tiny bells. __ Atlantic

Or consider this list of the benefits of cold showers:

  • Cold Showers Build Strong Will Power
  • They Improve Emotional Resilience
  • They Reduce Stress
  • Cold Showers Increase Alertness
  • Stimulate Weight Loss
  • Cold Showers Increase Testosterone
  • Cold Showers Improve Circulation
  • Cold Showers Improve Immunity
  • And They Drain Your Lymphatic System
  • Cold Showers Speed Up Muscle Recovery
  • They Wake You Up (and Put You to Sleep)

List Source (with links and supporting arguments)

Anti-psychotic Effect of Cold Showers?

Adapted cold shower might have antipsychotic effect similar to that of electroconvulsive therapy because it could work as mild electroshock applied to sensory cortex. Additionally, cold shower is example of stress-induced analgesia and would also be expected to “crowd out” or suppress psychosis-related neurotransmission within mesolimbic system.[31] __ N.Am.Jnl. of Med. Sci 2014

Cold showers are also reputed to have anti-depressant effects.

Why warm showers cool you down in summer

Hydrotherapy and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Cold Water Showers and Cold Water Immersion Grounding Effect

There is something real and immediate about the brain signals a person receives from ice-cold water. One gets a similar effect from a slap to the face, but the cold water seems somehow less personal. It is the feeling of reality stepping in and pushing the daydreams and default mode network aside with force.

My first exposure to hydrotherapy and temperature therapy was in my youth, when I learned to alternate steam/sauna baths with ice water baths or ice cold showers. I was too young to question the benefits, so I just adapted to the extremes and learned to enjoy the experience.

Why Cold Showers (or Slaps to the Face)?

The ability to separate the important from the trivial, to make sense at a practical level of the barrage of information thrown at us by self-interested media robber-barons, is being leached out of us. We have been immersed in the cacophony of clashing propaganda for so long that most have forgotten how to go beneath the surface disinformation to the prime truths that reside in deeper levels.

The problem is far worse for more recent generations of school children and youth, who are not learning to separate logical narratives from the data barrage in the first place. Sadly, they are too often programmed to take thepath of least resistance and accept the received wisdom as it comes from teachers, professors, and “authority figures.” This is no way to raise future generations of leaders, innovators, and productive citizens.

And that is why Dangerous Children © are grounded in various forms of reality from the earliest times of their lives, and never stop being grounded. As a form of pre-verbal, primordial grounding to reality, it is difficult to beat the ice-cold shower.

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