Lately, I have been hearing a lot about this kind of therapy by experts from across disciplines that I trust and they all seem to be enthusiastic about it, to say the least.
I have had light practice with it myself and can report that there’s is definitely something to it in terms of you certainly feel immediately energized.
What I’m referring to is ice baths and cold showers, also known as a form hydrotherapy.
Hydrotherapy is the external or internal use of water in any of its forms (water, ice, steam) for health promotion or treatment of various diseases with various temperatures, pressure, duration, and site.
It is one of the naturopathic treatment modality used widely in ancient cultures including India, Egypt, China, etc.
Though many countries used water to produce different physiological/therapeutic effects on different part of the system for maintaining health, preventing, and treating the diseases.
Research that has been done suggests that regular exposure to cold water (via showers, baths or swims) may have some health benefits, including:
- Preventing injury: Soaking in a cold bath (also known as an “ice bath” or “cold therapy”) is said to help reduce swelling and tissue breakdown in runners after distance runs. However, the few studies actually completed and published have been inconclusive or contradictory, so until we get more definitive findings, these claimed benefits can’t be confirmed.
- Enhancing male fertility: Here, the main argument for cold showers assisting conception is that they’re not hot showers. Higher scrotal temperatures depress sperm production, so much so that long-standing belief holds that hot baths might be an effective method of male contraception. According to a study published in 1992, the “wet heat” method of contraception has been known since the 4th century B.C. and involves placing the testes in hot water (116 degrees Fahrenheit) for 45 minutes every night for three weeks. This is supposed to provide protection for six months, but it isn’t a very practical method. And there’s no proof that taking cold showers will have the opposite effect.
Russian Doctor Says It Boosts the Immune System
According to a popular Russian doctor, Dr. Sergei Bubnovkiy, the immune system will be significantly boosted if you soak your legs in ice cold water for 15 seconds every day. He also claims that this method will also prevent colds and the flu.
Also, a study from England found that taking daily cold showers increased the numbers of disease-fighting white blood cells (compared to people who took hot showers).
The investigators at Britain’s Thrombosis Research Institute suggested that as the body tries to warm itself during and after a cold shower, metabolic rate speeds up and activates the immune system, which leads to the release of more white blood cells.
And, according to a German study, an occasional winter swim in cold water causes oxidative stress, but, done regularly, such swimming leads to an adaptive antioxidant response; in other words, the body is better able to combat oxidative stress in general once it’s accustomed to cold-water swims.
Namely, you should fill a basin with cold water, and add as much ice as you have at home in it, but the more you add, the better.
Then, put the feet in the water and keep them submerged for 10-15 seconds. Repeat every night before going to sleep.
If your immune system is too weak, repeat every 4 hours.
A recent study conducted at the University of Virginia found that the icy water actually stimulates the production of norepinephrine, which is a vital hormone for strengthening the immune system.
Other health benefits of an ice bath:
- Fights depression and elevates mood.
- Energizes the skin and tightens the pores for healthier looking skin.
- The cold water closes the follicles and makes the hair shiny and smooth.