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
) 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.