Author Topic: Cold showers  (Read 22811 times)

Offline jared33

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Cold showers
« on: March 14, 2010, 12:46:26 PM »
I like the new post on cold showers.  When I lived in Maine, I would swim in the ocean, which everyone thought was crazy.  But I definitely got used to it and built up a tolerance for it.  I have occasionally taken cold showers after running or other exercise, but never as a regular thing.  So I think I will try this and report back.

Offline MallyHen

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2010, 07:41:02 PM »
I've been taking the cold showers for three days now.  I have to say it really was quite uncomfortable at first, so I backed off a little  and started with lukewarm water, then turned it down cold for the last 30 seconds or so.  I used to do this when I had longer hair to help keep the shine on.  Yesterday, I managed to start up on cool water and it wasn't so bad. I think I lasted about 3 minutes. And today it was amazing, I only felt a brief discomfort, and then I started actually getting a warm feeling.  It was really nice especially getting out of the shower (I made sure to have the bathroom warmed up).  It does definitely improve my mood in the morning. I don't know about long term effects, but I like this and think I will continue this.  

I'd be interested to hear what others are finding.

Offline jared33

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2010, 07:25:40 PM »
I've been taking the cold showers for a week now.  They're great.  At first, a little uncomfortable.  But you get used to it after a few days.  Every day I'm about to get in the shower, I shudder a little thinking 'Do I really want to do this? Wouldn't a warm shower feel nice'?  Especially given the cold weather last week.  But one minute into the shower and you get past it and you feel so awake.

I noticed something quite interesting yesterday and again today. When I started out, I was breathing very hard and fast for the first minutes and my heart starting pounding faster and this was involuntary.  But when I got in yesterday, even though it was definitely cold, I kept my normal breathing rate and the cold water didn't make me hyperventilate.  So I must be adapting to it.   It also gives me more overall calmness and I seem to take the day more in stride.

Offline MallyHen

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2010, 08:54:05 PM »
Jared33, that is an interesting observation about your breathing. I am noticing the same thing myself, I don't squirm and hyperventilate like I used to when I first started this. Even though I still dread the first few seconds, I stiffen myself and plunge in stoically and I keep my breathing normal.  I just pretend it doesn't bother me and that seems to work.  I even deliberately keep exposing my shoulders, arms and head to the cold water, because those are my most sensitive parts.  But now this really doesn't bother me, and I very much enjoy the last half of the shower.

I used to have a little depression, and this has totally cured that.  I would say if anything the cold showers have made me a bit more giddy and lighthearted.  I can't explain why this is, but it is.  Also, I've been checking on the Internet and there seems to be a real surge of interest in cold showers lately.  I'm wondering why this has become interesting to so many people recently, and it seems to be all over the world.

Offline Moonbeam

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2010, 05:35:38 PM »
I tried this... :o

Wow, that is really hard to do.  That is like the most intensely uncomfortable non-dangerous thing I can imagine. 

Just now as I typed this I suddenly remembered as a kid the showers to get into the swimming pool were ice-cold, and you had to go thru them to get to the pool.  Sometimes I would try to run on the very edge and not get very wet, other times we would see who could stand it the longest, and yes, it was very exhilarating; I had forgotten about that.

I'll try to remember that next time I do it.  I haven't had the nerve again yet.  It's weird how something that you know can't hurt you is so hard to do.  (For me anyway.)

Offline MallyHen

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2010, 11:57:36 AM »
I tried this... :o.  

Wow, that is really hard to do.  That is like the most intensely uncomfortable non-dangerous thing I can imagine.  

Just now as I typed this I suddenly remembered as a kid the showers to get into the swimming pool were ice-cold, and you had to go thru them to get to the pool.  Sometimes I would try to run on the very edge and not get very wet, other times we would see who could stand it the longest, and yes, it was very exhilarating; I had forgotten about that.

I'll try to remember that next time I do it.  I haven't had the nerve again yet.  It's weird how something that you know can't hurt you is so hard to do.  (For me anyway.)

Moonbeam, yes it is very hard the first few times.  But like jared33 and I have found, it gets easier with time. I will never go back to warm showers.

I just read Todd's latest post on his blog about the opponent-process theory and it makes total sense.  I think it explains why the cold showers get easier with time and why it is important to force yourself to get cold over all parts of your body and stay in for long enough.  Don't hold back, just tense yourself and go for it as long as you can stand it.  Cold showers don't do much for you if you only do it once or twice, you have to keep it up for a few weeks.  You can take an occasional warm shower if you want, but then the next cold shower will be a little harder. So I take just cold showers, even if the weather outside is cold and rainy.

Believe me, as I said above this cured my depression without taking any antidepressants.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 11:59:35 AM by MallyHen »

Offline Moonbeam

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2010, 07:01:12 PM »
Moonbeam, yes it is very hard the first few times.  But like jared33 and I have found, it gets easier with time. I will never go back to warm showers.

OK.  I may get the courage to try again at some point.

Quote
I just read Todd's latest post on his blog about the opponent-process theory and it makes total sense.  I think it explains why the cold showers get easier with time and why it is important to force yourself to get cold over all parts of your body and stay in for long enough.  Don't hold back, just tense yourself and go for it as long as you can stand it.  Cold showers don't do much for you if you only do it once or twice, you have to keep it up for a few weeks.  You can take an occasional warm shower if you want, but then the next cold shower will be a little harder. So I take just cold showers, even if the weather outside is cold and rainy.

I need to read that.

Quote
Believe me, as I said above this cured my depression without taking any antidepressants.

That is excellent. 

Offline IndianVeganGirl

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2010, 09:40:12 PM »
I was wondering if instead of cold showers, can we walk barefoot at home? Since the floor is cold, I suppose it should have the same effect as a cold shower and lead to weight loss?

Offline IndianVeganGirl

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2010, 11:20:07 PM »

Offline Patrea

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2010, 04:38:02 AM »
I've found cold helps sleeplessness and insomnia - this was interesting http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/12/06/four-hour-body-review/ and "Try upping your saturated fat or using cold exposure.

A cold bath/ shower last thing at night aids sleep i find, and also tops up the overall hormesis effect, which is a bonus. About 2 minutes in a cold bath works for me.

Offline SUGARDUDE

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2010, 01:10:34 PM »
There was a story on the news last night about a guy who lost a ton of weight due to taking baths in ice cold water.

I think I'm gonna give this cold shower thing a try.

Offline SUGARDUDE

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2010, 10:41:59 AM »
I made my first honest attempt to take a cold shower this morning.  It is much more difficult than it sounds.  I could not just jump straight in and immerse myself.  I started by letting the water build up in the tub so my feet got covered. I never did make it in all all the way but I did put my head under while bending over. 

Although I had read about the rapid breathing and other involuntary responses, I was surprised to actually be experiencing them.

Tomorrow I'll try to increase my exposure.

Offline SUGARDUDE

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2010, 10:16:27 AM »
I had to try a new approach today otherwise i just wouldn't get very clean.  I started with the cold water on the feet again but I couldn't bring myself to do the shower again so I did a regular warm shower and then gradually decreased the temperature of the water until it was freezing cold.  I was able to tolerate the water for a longer period this way.

It felt like cheating but so what.

Offline SUGARDUDE

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2011, 08:22:25 AM »
I'm up to about 4-5 minutes now.  I'm also putting an ice pack on the back of my neck for 30 minutes each night as recommended in this book by Tim Ferris: http://fourhourbody.com/

Here's a link to the site for the guy I saw on the news. http://hypothermics.com/home/
His self experimentation is discussed in the ferris book.

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Cold showers
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2011, 01:39:18 PM »
I'm up to about 4-5 minutes now.  I'm also putting an ice pack on the back of my neck for 30 minutes each night as recommended in this book by Tim Ferris: http://fourhourbody.com/

Here's a link to the site for the guy I saw on the news. http://hypothermics.com/home/
His self experimentation is discussed in the ferris book.

Wow!  I have to say I'm really proud of you, Sugardude.  To go from putting your feet in lukewarm water to taking a full-on 4-5 minute cold shower within a week is quite impressive.  

I've read Tim Ferris' account of ice baths and cold showers in his book 4HB, and it is quite intriguing. He was put on to this by Ray Cronise, a NASA researcher who wanted to understand how the Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps could stay so lean and eat 12,000 calories a day.  Cronise analyzed the thermodynamics of Phelps' energy balance and concluded that this was due to the rapid heat loss during swimming.  Cold water is an extremely efficient heat transfer agent, compared to exercise "in air" like running.  Tim Ferris did some self-experimentation showing that he could improve weight loss with ice packs and ice baths.  But he realized the benefit could not just be explained by heat transfer, because the amount of heat lost during 20-30 minutes is trivial.  Tim's hypothesis is that the mechanism by which cold activates heat loss is mediated by the hormone adiponectin, which stimulates the growth of BAT (brown adipose tissue, sometimes called "brown fat") which is totally different metabolically than the "white fat" which makes up most of the fat on our body.  The white fat is efficient at storing energy -- the brown fat, by contrast, derives directly from muscle tissue and is an efficient "fat burning" tissue that produces ATP and dissipates excess calories as heat.  

This explains both the warm feeling that cold showers cause and their efficacy in jump starting weight loss.

I've lost quite a bit of fat and gained significant muscle mass and definition since I started cold showers, so concur with Tim's observations and his theory makes a lot of sense to me.  I plan to look into this some more.

I've corresponded with Seth Roberts (here and here) about cold showers recently, and he is not convinced, claiming that cold showers caused him to gain weight.  I respect and admire Seth tremendously, but I'm concerned that his conclusions are not fully warranted.  I think his showers may not have been sufficiently cold or long, and I think that the 2 pound gain he reported is "noise".

There are too many independent studies and reports connecting cold water therapy to thermogenesis and weight loss to ignore the connection. What is as yet unclear to me is the physiological basis for the weight loss effect.  I think that Tim Ferris' theory is worth exploring.

Todd
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 01:41:24 PM by Todd Becker »