Sometimes a spring shower outdoors is better than a hot one indoors.

I bet most people are like me – they do not like nor take cold showers. I can stand cool water on very few occasions, but not cold. However, there are many health benefits to taking a cold shower.

Cold Water & Health Cold is relative to everyone. When I am comfortable, most everyone around me is not. I like a nice 95-degree day with lots of humidity and an overnight low in the mid-80s. I do not want to be outside when the temperature drops below 75 degrees. My absolute minimum temperature to swim in my pool is 86 degrees. Those are my preferences.

However, after living in Germany for two years, I found that I could swim for a half-hour or longer in a pool in the high 60s and spend up to five minutes in a cold dip pool in the low 40s for up to five minutes. It took me months to work up to enjoying, actually enjoying the cold water.

The first thing I noticed was that a switch was turned on after a couple of minutes in cold water. I would spend twenty to thirty minutes in a 212-degree sauna (yes, 212 degrees) and leave to another sauna – same temperature, but different aromatics – I loved the aroma of melissa (lemon balm). After an hour in the hot sauna, I would take a dip in the cold water for two to five minutes, depending on the temperature of the water.

Hormones & Cold Water

I did not realize it at the time, but the cold water stimulated the production of endorphins and noradrenaline – My sympathetic nervous system came to life with adrenaline running through my veins. I was ready to hit the boiling hot saunas for another hour. My personal record in a 212-degree sauna is 51 minutes without leaving the sauna. I could do 45 minutes many times, but 51 minutes was my max – I did it twice, trying to last one hour in a boiling hot sauna.

Mood & Metabolism – Cold Water

My mood switches from the doldrums to supercharged after coming out of the cold water. I come out of a hot shower today, and I feel semi-supercharged, but not to the same degree as I did after a cold dip. The cold water affected my mental, emotional, and physical being.

Brown fat is burned more quickly in colder temperatures than white fat burned in warmer and hotter temperatures. Cold water causes your body to burn more calories – Burning more calories at the same rate as physical activity improves your metabolism.

Immunity & Cold Water Several studies conclude that cold water three times a week for six weeks improves immune function. I prefer my extended fasts to do the same thing, but not everyone can fast for days without eating. When our immune systems are charged, we fight off infections more efficiently.

When we do succumb to a disease, the recovery time can be shortened with cold water therapy. How many athletes have you seen using ice packs on an injury followed by heat? I do this routinely for any type of joint injury. I find using frozen peas or corn to be the perfect cold wrap for an injury because it molds nicely to the body. A gallon bag of hot water does a decent job of treating an injury with hot water.

Lymphatic System & Cold Water,waste%20out%20of%20the%20area. Cold constricts, and hot dilates. Constricting the lymph system with cold water forces lymph fluids in the body to flush out toxins and other waste products.
A side benefit of cold water is that the immune system triggers the production of white blood cells to scavenge the body to attack and destroy and unwanted foreign invaders.

What About Hot Showers & Health? Most of us use hot showers to relieve a tired, stressed body. I can feel the tension leave as the water gets hotter and the longer I stay in a hot shower. Sweating cleanses the body, and I am probably one of those few people who love to sweat. After muscle relaxation, hot showers can open airways and loosen phlegm and nasal passages.

After a long, hot shower, the skin will dry out, and you may experience some minor irritation. I have yet to have that problem, but I am aware of it. Hot water is a great way to counter the itch of any kind of bug bite or rash. Extremely hot or cold water tamps down the histamine reaction in the skin and returns everything to near normal.

My daughter had a severe itch reaction after the birth of her second child. I happened to be in the recovery area with her as she was going through agony with itching all over the top half of her body. I suggested that the nurses use hot washcloths or towels to lay over the area – they did, and the itchiness vanished. The itch came back ten or fifteen minutes later, and another round of wet, hot cloth treatments knocked it out again, and it never returned.

I see two downsides of a hot shower. One is that it can increase blood pressure. The second is that it can disrupt the natural balance of skin moisture from the natural oils, fats, and proteins that keep skin healthy. I use unrefined coconut oil as a natural underarm deodorant and any other skin treatment type.


Is a cold shower better than a hot shower for long-term health? Probably a bit more healthy for a cold shower than a hot one. They both have health advantages. Using both is probably optimum. But, in the end, it is still a personal preference. When I started adapting to cold water in German spas, I could cold-adapt by truly short cold periods, then hot, followed by more and longer cold soaks, then more hot soaks.

After several months, I could easily spend minutes in Cold (below 55 degrees). I looked forward to my cold soaks after an hour in the boiling hot saunas because it acted like a light switch that rejuvenated my entire body and mind. If I planned a trip to include Germany later in the year, I would start cold-adapting three or four months out to enjoy the mineralthermes fully.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –



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