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Feeling Depressed? Take A Cold Shower

Research proves that taking a cold shower relieves depression and anxiety

Did you ever experience taking a plunge in a pool of cold water? Do you remember emerging feeling a rush go through your body? Sheer exhilaration replaces the initial jolt of the cold after a few seconds.   The reason is that as your body temperature quickly drops, your blood travels from your body surface to the core. This flushes your brain and organs with fresh blood while cleaning out your system. Research shows that taking a cold shower is a great and straightforward way to relieve you of anxiety and depression without any ill effects. Besides these conditions, the cold water pouring on your whole body does wonders to your other bodily functions. Get to understand how and why.

Research shows that taking a cold shower is a great and simple way to relieve you of anxiety and depression without any ill effects.


The scientific basis  

Cold Shower 1In a study done by molecular biologist Nikolai Sheychuk, subjects with depression demonstrated an improvement in symptoms after regularly taking cold showers. The explanation for this is that exposure to cold water activates the body’s sympathetic nervous system and facilitates elevation levels in the blood of noradrenaline and beta-endorphin. Noradrenaline hormone allows the body to react well to stressors and cope with their effects through increased heart rate and blood pressure.  On the other hand, beta-endorphins shield the body from pain. In some cases, they even cause a feeling of euphoria. In a nutshell, cold showers serve to disturb the cold receptors in our skin and send a rush of electrical impulses to the brain. This results in an anti-depressive state.

My best ideas come in the shower, where I’m not just showered with water, but also ideas.” Ryan Lilly

The good news about taking a cold shower regularly aside from treating the symptoms of depression and anxiety is that it also benefits our body in more than one ways. 

Improvement of circulation

Shower1Because of the blood rush triggered by the cold water sensation, circulation is enhanced. Good circulation redounds to good cardiovascular health. A healthy blood flow facilitates the body’s recovery time from strenuous activities. According to studies, switching between hot and cold water while showering is a good way to improve circulation. Cold water sends the blood to the organs to keep them warm. On the other hand, warm water reverses the effect by enabling the blood to travel towards the body surface.

Strengthening the Immune System

Cold Shower 3Studies have revealed that people who take cold showers on a daily basis increase the count of their white blood cells compared to those who take warm baths. These cells are responsible for fighting viruses. Because the body attempts to warm itself up after the cold showers, the metabolic rate of the body increases, thereby enabling the immune system to produce more white blood cells.

Skin health

Warm water tends to dry out the skin and hair and cause itching and irritation. Cold water closes up skin pores and hair cuticles, resulting in healthier-looking skin and hair.

I shower in the dark, barely able to tell soap from conditioner, and tell myself that I will emerge new and strong, that the water will heal me.” Veronica Roth, Insurgent

Increased energy level

There is an earlier century and perhaps popular belief that cold shower lowers testosterone levels. Contrary to this, studies have discovered the effect is the exact opposite. Higher testosterone levels mean increased energy and strength in men. For both men and women, cold shower invigorates the body. This is because of the stimulating effect of the adrenaline rush caused by the cold sensation. People who enjoy taking cold showers agree that the experience is one great way to reduce stress.

Note that not all people may be able to tolerate cold showers. Take caution if they have the following underlying conditions:

High blood pressure

Those who suffer from hypertension may have to be careful because cold shower causes blood vessel contractions that may trigger a stroke.

Heart disease

People who have a heart problem should consult their cardiologist first. Bathing in cold water sends blood rushing to the heart (and other organs), causing it to pump at a faster rate than usual.


When your body is afflicted with fever, the body temperature rises as it fights off the infection. In this condition, the blood vessels need to dilate to release heat. Cold water causes the opposite by constricting the vessels.

So, how do you get used to cold showers? Start by taking your usual warm showers then gradually bring down the temperature until you get accustomed to the cold.


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