The James Bond Shower: A Shot of Cold Water for Health and Vitality

by Brett & Kate McKay on January 18, 2010 · 195 comments

in Health & Sports

As a kid, I was a big James Bond fan. Saw all the movies and read all the books. One thing I noticed about the book version of James Bond was that every time he took a shower, he would start off with the water nice and hot, and then turn it down to cold for the last few minutes. Perhaps this little detail of Bond’s personal bathing regimen was a subtle way for Ian Fleming to illustrate Bond’s Scottish ancestry, as this type of shower is commonly known as a “Scottish Shower.” Who knows.

Being an impressionable kid, I started doing it too. I didn’t know the proper name for this type of shower, so I just called it the “James Bond Shower.” Taking a shower that started hot and ended cold proved to be quite invigorating. It woke me up and added a bit of pep to my step throughout the day. I’ve continued the practice of the James Bond Shower into adulthood. Along the way, I’ve discovered that cold water baths have been used for centuries as a way to treat various ailments and that modern studies lend credence to the health claims associated with this age old treatment.

Below we give a brief rundown on the benefits of the James Bond Shower.

A Brief History of Cold Water Therapy

“Nothing like sitting in an ice cold bath with nothing but my bare bum in it while reading the latest Dickens novel to invigorate and enliven the senses. Tally ho!”

James Bond wasn’t the first to enjoy the benefits of a shot of cold water. In ancient times, hot water was a luxury. People had to live near a hot springs in order to enjoy the comfort of a hot bath, so for most of human history people bathed in cold water. But even when the Ancient Greeks developed heating systems for their public baths, they continued bathing in cold water for the health benefits.

The Spartans, hard-asses that they were, felt hot water was for the weak and unmanly. When they did take baths (which was, like, once a year) they used only cold water because they thought it tempered the body and made it vigorous for ass kicking.

During the first century, Finnish folks would sweat it out in saunas and then jump into an ice cold lake or stream, a pastime which is referred to as “avantouinti” or “ice hole swimming” and is still enjoyed by modern Finns and others wild and woolly Scandinavians.

Those Finns are so crazy! Or are they?

Many cultures incorporated a cold water dousing into their religious ceremonies. Some Native American tribes would alternate between sitting in a sweat lodge and jumping into an icy river or snow bank. Ancient Russians also took frequent plunges into ice cold rivers for health and spiritual cleansing. Japanese practitioners of Shinto, both in ancient and modern times, would stand under an icy waterfall as part of a ritual known as Misogi, which was believed to cleanse the spirit.

In the 1820s, a German farmer named Vincenz Priessnitz started touting a new medical treatment called “hydrotherapy,” which used cold water to cure everything from broken bones to erectile dysfunction. He turned his family’s homestead into a sanitarium, and patients flocked to it in the hope that his cold water cure could help them. Among his clientele were dukes, duchesses, counts, countesses, and a few princesses to boot.

Priessnitz’s hydrotherapy soon spread to the rest of Europe and eventually to the United States. Celebrities and other famous folks took to it, like, well, a duck to water and helped popularize the cold water cure with the masses. For example, Charles Darwin (a chronically sick guy and owner of an awesomely manly beard) was a huge proponent of hydrotherapy. The first hydrotherapy facility opened up in the U.S in 1843, right when the sanitarium craze hit America. By the the end of the 19th century, over 200 hydrotherapy/sanitarium resorts existed in the U.S., the most famous being the Battle Creek Sanitarium founded by John Harvey Kellogg. You know. The guy who invented corn flakes. And believed in the awesome power of enemas and a “squeaky clean colon.”

The popularity of hydrotherapy began to decline in the 20th century as many in the medical field moved to drugs to treat illnesses. As doctors concentrated on conventional medicine, more holistic methods began to be seen as quackery. While hydrotherapy was prescribed less and less to cure illnesses, doctors continued to use it to treat injuries such as strained muscles and broken bones. You’ll find athletes today taking ice baths to speed their recovery from injuries and intense workouts.

Benefits of Cold Water Showers

While doctors may no longer instruct their patients to take a cold bath and call them in the morning, a shot of cold water can still impart real health benefits:

Improves circulation. Good blood circulation is vital for overall cardiovascular health. Healthy blood circulation also speeds up recovery time from strenuous exercises and work. Alternating between hot and cold water while you shower is an easy way to improve your circulation. Cold water causes your blood to move to your organs to keep them warm. Warm water reverses the effect by causing the blood to move towards the surface of the skin. Cold shower proponents argue that stimulating the circulatory system in this way keeps them healthier and younger looking than their hot water-loving counterparts.

Relieves depression. Lots of great men from history suffered bouts of depression.  Henry David Thoreau is one such man. But perhaps Thoreau’s baths in chilly Walden Pond helped keep his black dog at bay. Research at the Department of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine indicates that short cold showers may stimulate the brain’s “blue spot”- the brain’s primary source of noradrenaline — a chemical that could help mitigate depression. I guess a bout of the blues isn’t so bad after all.

Keeps skin and hair healthy. Hot water dries out skin and hair. If you want to avoid an irritating itch and ashy elbows, turn down the temperature of your showers. Also, cold water can make your manly mane look shinier and your skin look healthier by closing up your cuticles and pores.

Strengthens immunity. According to a study done in 1993 by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England, individuals who took daily cold showers saw an increase in the number of virus fighting white blood cells compared to individuals who took hot showers. Researchers believe that the increased metabolic rate, which results from the body’s attempt to warm itself up, activates the immune system and releases more white blood cells in response.

Increases testosterone. During the 19th century, many doctors and ministers recommended that young men take baths in cold water to reduce the sin of “self-pollution,” i.e. whacking off. Cold water was thought to extinguish a man’s flaming carnal desires. There was even a ghastly device invented on this principle.

How wrong they were! The same study by the Thrombosis Research Institute cited above showed that cold water showers actually increase testosterone production in men. Increased testosterone levels not only boost a man’s libido, but also his overall strength and energy level. If you’re looking to increase your testosterone, instead of juicing up like Mark McGwire, hop into a cold shower.

Increases fertility. Trying to become a dad? Cold showers are good for your little swimmers. Your testes aren’t meant to get too hot; that’s why they hang outside your body. Sperm counts decrease when the temperature of a man’s testes increases. Experiments done in the 1950s showed that hot baths were an effective contraceptive. Men who took a 30 minute hot bath every other day for 3 weeks were infertile for the next six months. More recently, the University of California at San Francisco did a study with men who were exposed to 30 minutes of “wet heat” (hot baths and such) a week. When the men cut this exposure out, their sperm count went up by 491%, and their sperm’s motility improved as well. While switching from a hot to cold shower may not have as dramatic an effect, if you’re trying to create some progeny, it surely won’t hurt.

Increases energy and well-being. Every time I end a shower with cold water, I leave feeling invigorated and energized. Your heart starts pumping, and the rush of blood through your body helps shake off the lethargy of the previous night’s sleep. For me, the spike in energy lasts several hours. It’s almost like drinking a can of Diet Mountain Dew, minus the aspartame. And while it hasn’t been studied, many people swear that cold showers are a surefire stress reducer. I’m a believer.

Getting Started with Cold Water Showers

If you’ve spent most of your life taking hot showers, suddenly turning the dial in the other direction can be a big shock to the system. I took a break from the James Bond Showers for a few months. When I decided to get started again with them, my heart almost jumped out of my chest, and I nearly passed out from hyperventilating when the cold water hit my body. Too much, too soon.

My suggestion (based on personal experience) is to gradually decrease the temp of the water so your body can adjust.

Which reminds me, some people with certain conditions should avoid cold showers because of the shock to the body’s system. If you have the following conditions, you’ll have to harness your inner 007 another way:

  • Heart disease. If my normal, healthy heart felt like it was about to explode, imagine how a diseased heart will feel.
  • High blood pressure. The contraction in your blood vessels caused by cold water could cause a stroke. Apparently.
  • Overheated or feverish. Your blood vessels need to dilate in order to release heat. Cold water causes them to constrict.

Okay. If you’re healthy enough for a James Bond Shower, here’s how it’s done.

1. Start off with the hot water.

2. Wash your hair with some Pinaud Elixir shampoo, just like 007.

3. When you’re ready to rinse, just turn it down to cold. Bond would spend a few minutes under the cold water, meditating about a lost love or on how awesome his job is.

4. As you walk out the shower, kill the hitman that’s been hiding in the closet using nothing but a towel and a Scotch tumbler.

5. Say a pithy one liner; proceed to put on tux.

You’ll start seeing the benefits right after the first shower, and it only gets better as you continue. While cold water showers won’t give you the charm or skills of 007, you’ll feel like a new man.

{ 185 comments… read them below or add one }

101 sam June 5, 2010 at 10:52 am

my granddad has taken cold showers all his life and he is so healthy and strong

102 Jeff June 15, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Best post I have read in a long time! I too take cold showers regularly and it always gets the day started

103 Jonny Smith June 17, 2010 at 5:09 am

I started taking cold showers (very cold, daily) about 18 months ago. I’ve not had a cold or virus of any kind since I started doing it. It also helps me to recover from strenuous exercise (of the old fashioned manly variety with very heavy weights). Great article.

104 Milton June 30, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I LOVE ICE COLD SHOWERS! Most definitely wakes you up and clears your mind. Maybe it’s because you’re too damn cold to focus on anything else haha. I have a question though! Is it better/worse/same to just take a cold shower all the way through?
btw thanks for creating such a great website. I just started visiting it and it’s incredible. kudos my friend.

105 Richard Rivers June 30, 2010 at 1:16 pm

As an aspiring physician, I have to say I’ve been pretty disappointed with the quasi-scientific claims that find their way into a lot of articles here at AoM. This article was so terrible that I had to comment. It takes the cake, definitely.

“Cold water causes your blood to move to your organs to keep them warm.”

No. Cold water acts as a cutaneous vasoconstrictor, causing the skin to get less blood flow. This doesn’t translate into blood “moving to your organs”. Blood follows the same vessels either way. The difference is really that your blood pressure will be higher after exposure to cold water, an effect which is generally considered unhealthy.

“Cold shower proponents argue that stimulating the circulatory system in this way keeps them healthier and younger looking than their hot water-loving counterparts.”

Nonsense. There is no such thing as “stimulating the circulatory system” just as there is no such thing as “boosting the immune system”. What you’re actually doing is stressing your body by lowering your core temperature, forcing the body to expend calories to maintain thermal homeostasis. By the way, if your core temperature drops below around 95 F, you’re hypothermic, and that’s a medical emergency. The first sign is usually uncontrollable shivering, followed by tachycardia — rapid heartbeat — and an immediate urge to urinate. Such conditions are also absolutely terrible for the liver, and doing it regularly might eventually trigger type 2 diabetes.

“Research at the Department of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine indicates that short cold showers may stimulate the brain’s “blue spot”- the brain’s primary source of noradrenaline — a chemical that could help mitigate depression.”

Nikolai Shevchuk is basically a charlatan. The study you cite was done by him, and it flies in the face of basic science. While the locus caeruleus is being studied in relation to such things as depression and panic disorder, there’s absolutely no physiologic reason to believe cold water on the skin has any particular effect upon it, or that it ever could.

“Hot water dries out skin and hair. If you want to avoid an irritating itch and ashy elbows, turn down the temperature of your showers.”

This is an argument for warm showers as opposed to hot. Not an argument for cold showers at all.

“Also, cold water can make your manly mane look shinier and your skin look healthier by closing up your cuticles and pores.”

This is merely cosmetic. To “look healthier” is culture-bound, and not necessarily the same thing as actually being healthier. There is no particular health benefit associated with “closing up your cuticles and pores”. Cuticles don’t open or close, and pores don’t open or close so much that it has any great effect on one’s dermatology either way. One can still get blackheads with “closed pores”, and one will still sweat the same amount. What other possible benefit could this produce?

It also seems that I need to remind the group that neither hair nor the outermost layer of skin are actually alive. Hair was never alive. It’s a proteinaceous waste product of the body, conceptually similar to feces, though thankfully not chemically similar. And, all humans are covered with a good bit of dead skin, which protects the more sensitive living skin underneath. The human epidermis is divided into five layers, the first two of which are dead (the strata cornerum & lucidum). The next layer, the stratum granulosum, is in the process of dying. This is perfectly normal.

“According to a study done in 1993 by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England, individuals who took daily cold showers saw an increase in the number of virus fighting white blood cells compared to individuals who took hot showers. Researchers believe that the increased metabolic rate, which results from the body’s attempt to warm itself up, activates the immune system and releases more white blood cells in response.”

Absolute nonsense. There is no such thing as “activating the immune system”. It is always on if you have a working one. Some people don’t. Even if the study you mention actually supports such a conclusion and was rigorously done (which I can’t determine because you don’t provide enough information to identify it), this is a mere correlation. To jump from a correlation to a particular causal relationship is fallacious without more substantial evidence.

“The same study by the Thrombosis Research Institute cited above showed that cold water showers actually increase testosterone production in men.”

Still being unable to identify the study, I can’t rebut in detail. Nevertheless, the mere fact that the same study sought to test both immune response and testosterone levels of men after different types of showers suggests to me that there’s some pathological science going on here, and a detailed examination of the methods would expose flaws in the experiment. I’d bet money on it.

“Trying to become a dad? Cold showers are good for your little swimmers. Your testes aren’t meant to get too hot; that’s why they hang outside your body. Sperm counts decrease when the temperature of a man’s testes increases. Experiments done in the 1950s showed that hot baths were an effective contraceptive. Men who took a 30 minute hot bath every other day for 3 weeks were infertile for the next six months.”

Okay, this is just stupid. You’re relying on the vague usage of the word “hot” to imply that the hot showers an average person takes could do this, which is flatly false. One would have to take a literally scalding hot shower — burning the skin — to have any chance of inducing invirility (funfact: the word “fertility” only applies to females, the male equivalent is “virility”). A standard hot shower at around 100 F is not going to reduce sperm count, particularly if you don’t spend several hours per day in such water. A shower at 130 F might, but then you’re going to be covered in first degree burns as well. Your hot water tank shouldn’t be set to exceed 120 F to begin with.

Also, there’s a fallacy involved in the idea that, because a scalding hot shower causes invirility, therefore a cold shower causes excessive virility. It’s non sequitur. It doesn’t follow logically. It could also be the case, for all YOU know, that both extremes of heat and cold cause invirility. You didn’t bother checking, did you? Looking only for confirming evidence and remaining intentionally ignorant of disconfirming evidence is how things like homeopathy and chiropractic neck manipulation get invented.

“While switching from a hot to cold shower may not have as dramatic an effect, if you’re trying to create some progeny, it surely won’t hurt.”

Neither will not bathing at all, on that front. So what? Pointless aside masquerading as an argument. “Do it because it won’t hurt” isn’t very persuasive. For the most part, licking a dog’s ass won’t hurt you: they’re usually cleaner than human hands. Nevertheless, I’m not going to be doing that any time soon.

“Every time I end a shower with cold water, I leave feeling invigorated and energized. Your heart starts pumping, and the rush of blood through your body helps shake off the lethargy of the previous night’s sleep. For me, the spike in energy lasts several hours. It’s almost like drinking a can of Diet Mountain Dew, minus the aspartame. And while it hasn’t been studied, many people swear that cold showers are a surefire stress reducer. I’m a believer.”

Perhaps that’s the basic problem here. You’re a “believer” rather than an “investigator”. This is apparently akin to a religious conviction for you, and so you’re more interested in a presentation which persuades by dint of rhetorical misdirection than by dint of real evidence.

As I already mentioned, your heart “starts pumping” due to borderline hypothermia, which induces tachycardia, which is absolutely NOT a good thing to repeatedly induce. Likewise, far from reducing stress, it causes it. Vasoconstriction -> hypertension -> stress. Regular bouts of hypertension also cause damage to internal organs, particularly the kidneys.

So the only real incontestable point you’ve made for the entire article is that a cold shower produces, for you at least, a subjective feeling of vigor. Not exactly impressive or convincing.

106 Zach July 6, 2010 at 7:57 am

It’s not just the Finnish who ascribe to the hot sauna followed by a cold dip. Several Asian countries (particularly Thailand, Korea, and Japan) have a long-standing cultural affinity for hot/cold baths for health, vigor and, in the Korean mind, male “stamina.” Since I live in Korea, I’ll give a short breakdown of the Korean traditional bath.

Traditional Korean bathhouses, called jjimjjilbang, are so popular as to be almost ubiquitous. Every town will have at least one local jjimjjilbang, and in the larger cities, each neighborhood will have their local (more simple) houses, with enormous super-houses featuring more ameneties like manicures, “Zen” rooms, special tea houses, and the like. Many smaller towns will feature specialized jjimjjilbang. Some, as in Jeollanamdo (a region famous for some of the worlds finest green tea), will have green tea baths or soaps, while others, famous for sulfur springs or beneficial mud (i.e. Daecheon, a small coastal town famed for its mud), will feature these specialized baths.

The experience works something like this. Start with a wash in hot water, scrubbing thoroughly, then sit in a hot (ranging from 35-45 C degree) pool for 10-15 minutes. Move to the cold (about 12 C) water shower and plunge. Repeat as necessary, adding in massage, full body scrub by an Korean grandfather (a bit strange the first time, but the Grandfather scrubs with a vengeance, and your skin will never feel cleaner or softer), sweat in a wet and/or dry sauna, or dip in an herbal tea/sea salt/mineral water bath as you like. Take one last plunge in the cold bath, and finish a shower, (self) scrub down, and nap in a dry, warm room.

Koreans do it at least weekly, and I can see why. It’s absolute magic after a night drinking the Korean firewater (soju), or on a Sunday afternoon to start the week off right. Your body feels totally relaxed and your skin will feel like silk. All for about $15.

Even at home, I’m a firm believer in ending a wash with a progressively colder stream. Also useful if you live in a tropical climate and have little-to-no Air Con to lower your core temperature.

107 R.A. Stewart July 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Thought I was gonna die.

“Wow, I just tried this and I have to say that I almost passed out. It was like my blood stopped and did a 180 degree turn. I feel strangely good though.” (Michael January 22, 2010)

“I did a silent scream cuz i couldnt even make a noise at that point

“but i felt so good afterward!” (saeed January 24, 2010)

Yeah, like that. Maybe it’s a case of “It feels so good when it stops!”?

On the assumption that the weather will indeed be cold again some day (whoever started the whole idea of Chicago’s summers being short obviously felt differently about summer than I do), it will be interesting to see if this helps ease the transition from warm house to cold yard. Assuming that the family hasn’t found me stiff and blue in the shower stall and planted me by then.

108 sophia July 12, 2010 at 11:08 pm

>>>Richard Rivers June 30, 2010 at 1:16 pm:
Nikolai Shevchuk is basically a charlatan. The study you cite was done by him, and it flies in the face of basic science. While the locus caeruleus is being studied in relation to such things as depression and panic disorder, there’s absolutely no physiologic reason to believe cold water on the skin has any particular effect upon it, or that it ever could.
>>>

you don’t know what you are talking about. there is a world of literature showing that lowering the skin temperature increases wakefulness and activates the sympathetic nervous system and the locus ceruleus.

J.S. Baffi and M. Palkovits, Fine topography of brain areas activated by cold stress. A fos immunohistochemical study in rats, Neuroendocrinology 72 (2000), pp. 102-113.
A. Beley, P. Beley, L. Rochette and J. Bralet, Time-dependent changes in the rate of noradrenaline synthesis in various rat brain areas during cold exposure, Pflugers Arch 368 (1977), pp. 225-229.
L. Yuan, C. Brewer and D. Pfaff, Immediate-early Fos protein levels in brainstem neurons of male and female gonadectomized mice subjected to cold exposure, Stress 5 (2002), pp. 285-294.
A.P. Mahapatra, H.N. Mallick and V.M. Kumar, Changes in sleep on chronic exposure to warm and cold ambient temperatures, Physiol Behav 84 (2005), pp. 287-294.
G.G. Giesbrecht, J.L. Arnett, E. Vela and G.K. Bristow, Effect of task complexity on mental performance during immersion hypothermia, Aviat Space Environ Med 64 (1993), pp. 206-211.
G. Flensner and C. Lindencrona, The cooling-suit: case studies of its influence on fatigue among eight individuals with multiple sclerosis, J Adv Nurs 37 (2002), pp. 541-550.
R. Fronczek, R.J. Raymann, N. Romeijn, S. Overeem, M. Fischer, J.G. van Dijk, et al., Manipulation of core body and skin temperature improves vigilance and maintenance of wakefulness in narcolepsy, Sleep 31 (2008), pp. 233-240.

I could go on about your other baseless claims, but it is pretty clear that you know nothing on this subject because you are not citing any sources.

109 Bee July 15, 2010 at 8:40 pm

It all comes down to perception, beliefs. If you think cold water will benefit you then it will. If you believe it won’t do squat for you then it won’t. Also the body is very adaptable to such treatments. So hypothermia can be overcome once the body adapts to the cold water.

110 Louise July 16, 2010 at 9:16 am

Well, I have no central heating and no way to heat water, cold showers for me are out of necessity (and I’m not talking any of your ‘with a little hot water so it’s lukewarm’ nonsense, no, I’m talking full on cold tap from the mains). Having such showers is tolerable in the high summer (which is very short in the UK), the rest of the time, not so much. In the winter, when showering daily under icy cold water, in an icy cold house, you experience something that cannot be described effectively in words.

So, I couldn’t help but laugh at coming across this article! People voluntarily taking cold water torture showers! “Health benefits”?!?! Pffft! Sure, it’s was invigorating when I first took them lol, but the novelty wares off pretty quickly when you realise your toes are about 90 secs away from frostbite!

Oh, and I’m a woman – does this now make me an honorary ‘manliness man’? ;)

111 Dave Ridarelli August 6, 2010 at 1:53 am

I’ve always enjoyed the alternating shower when I wake up and after my workouts. 30 seconds cold followed by a minute hot for about five rounds. It’s The Best…

112 Rodger August 17, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I had a Quadruple bypass 3 years ago and have been having a cold shower for the past year .
My method is to start with a warm /hot shower , soap , gel , shampoo etc and then slowly turn the hot water off , I spend a few minutes under a very cold shower.
I feel so fantastic ,my body shines , hard rubbing with a rough towel, man you can’t beat it.
Oh I haven’t had flu or a cold for a year
cheers

113 george renner September 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

That doctor doesn’t realise that corrupt corporate goons make up the med school curriculum. What a moron, prescribe some pills doc that will fix us right up. Cold showers are good for you no debate, modern usa doctors are very bad for you.

114 Cornelius Cavendish October 6, 2012 at 3:47 am

A warm shower followed by a cool one then a cold none works really well for me. It does feel invigorating.
The problem with Richard Rivers’ comments is that he is assuming that we are all going to take icy showers for 15 minutes or more. Now that would be taking things too far. Some people would damage themselves by doing that. But I’m assuming that most of us here are not going to that extreme.

115 Daniel C October 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Make what you will, I’ll finish on the cold shower to wake me up. Other than that I’d like to hope that Mr. Rivers becomes more the doctor he is inspiring to be. I’d be happy to trust his advice based on hard facts and proof.

116 Daniel October 16, 2012 at 2:57 am

I punched and kicked for the first minute or two, then it felt really good! This was my first voluntary cold shower in my life, I think. I took it as soon as I was done reading this article. Thanks a lot!!!

117 Ru October 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I work out for 20 minutes, go for a 15 minute run, come back in and hop straight into a cold shower. And I mean cold, cold tap only. I find if I take a warm shower after a workout I just keep sweating and then feel fatigued. I used to wash like this when I lived in a shack in the tropics with no air-con too. Cold showers make me feel alert enough to enjoy the rest of my evening, squeaky clean, and ready for bed when I get there.

I find the best method is to turn the shower on pointing at your feet and then work up your body until you can hook it onto the stand. Shoulders and upper back is the worst spot, followed by breasts, but I guess men don’t have that problem quite so much.

118 tomilay October 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Like has been mentioned elsewhere, once I started taking cold showers(not lukewarm) on a regular basis, I just felt great.

The way I do it, I take off my clothes, turn on the cold faucet and let it run for a few minutes so it gets really cold. Then I casually and calmly walk in – the way I’d walk into a closet or a store. Without skipping a breath.

Its a good feeling.

119 Justin November 3, 2012 at 11:42 am

Just started taking cold showers about a week ago. I think some of it like the confidence boost part could be mental, however, I certainly feel an energy boost for several hours after and feel more alert taking a cold shower.

120 Everardo Ocampo November 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Id think Mr. Richard Rivers is one of those doctors that western medicine has brainwashed into dismissing anything that doesn’t agree with western medicine practices. Instead of being critical of this site like most doctors, he would be better of to realy investigate himself, why cold showers are good for you. I know cold showers increase your circulation safely as long as you have common sense and avoid a hyperthermic state its good for you because its better to have your blood moving than stagnent (the beginning of all disease) . Increasing your circulation detoxifies your body faster by cleansing out fibrin,cellular waste, dead cells, potein debri, bringing your body out of an acidic state 5.8 ph to an alkaline state of 7.8 ph. This is called activating of your lymphatic system through cold showers, eating more alkaline foods and water, lymprathic stimulation, craniosacral therapy, (CST). Thats what Richard Rivers should be telling you, but I’ll bet he knows nothing of that because his never looked in to it.

121 CARLA November 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm

There is no such thing as “stimulating the circulatory system” just as there is no such thing as “boosting the immune system”.

Please explain.

122 kevin December 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I should add that cold showers should just make you say “ahhh…” not “AHHHHHHHH!!!!!” because if you’re saying the latter you’re doing it wrong and it’s too cold, and you’re not benefitting as much it you do it wrong.

123 Toby December 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I really enjoyed this!! Haha!

124 Adam December 20, 2012 at 2:22 am

I believe Richard Rivers is right about some of the things he said, such as cold water being a cutaneous vasoconstrictor – I remember reading somewhere that this does not alter blood flow at the subcutaneous layers (I think the article was about icing injuries, or not as the case may be).

What I think is being ignored is the neural effects, which Sophia sniped fairly well. I would also direct you to Mark’s article at MDA, which I think was well put: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/cold-water-therapy/#axzz2FZlx6t00
The study mentioning T-lymphocyte increase also had this synopsis: “In summary, the review of literature suggests that winter swimming (in other words, sudden immersion in ice-cold water) may pose serious risks to health and it is possible that exposure to cold can be safer if it is brief and does not involve psychological distress, inhalation of cold air, and hypothermia.” So short = good, long = bad, and we have a U shaped sorta curve for its beneficial effects.

Sounds like a hormetic stressor, eh? Like HIIT, a cold shower for a few minutes is great, but go too long or too hard and you’ll get some of those hypothermic / overly-stressed reactions (or maybe an increase in blood-brain barrier permeability and severity of neurovirulent infections, if you’re a mouse).

Nothing is ever black and white.

P.S. I think cosmetic impact of cold showers, placebo or otherwise -> improved self esteem -> improve social standing -> improved immune system. Evidence: http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2012/04/are-you-cool-enough-to-have-healthy.html Yes i did just make that extremely-stretched-connection, but ya gotta keep that mind open ;)

P.P.S. This is the organs-getting-more-blood thing that we should be talking about – shower to da’ face: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammalian_diving_reflex

As always, have nice day.

125 Marcus December 31, 2012 at 6:16 am

Great article, it works so well and the boost of energy you get from it is amazing!

126 Suds McDuff January 9, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Richard Rivers: Relax, it’s just an article for entertainment purposes. I doubt anyone is going to take anything on here as absolute fact.

127 Dawn January 17, 2013 at 2:22 am

First time today and it was Great!
Went back and forth hot to cool 3x to make sure I was really feeling this. Amazing whatever is happening. Mom read it out of Amish book, glad we know about it now. =)

128 Alonso January 19, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Great article!

129 Josh January 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Richard Rivers’ comment shut this idea down with great quickness, for me, at least.

130 Nate January 30, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I don’t know about anyone else… but i’m going to go home and try it out tonight. Mildly crazy things interest me. I’ll update with results.

131 Nate February 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm

So…I have now taken 2, count it, 2 cold finish showers and the consensus is…oh boy! Yeah…it’s kinda like that. Both times have been rather intense at first, but the edge wears off after a couple of seconds. I have only run cold for about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, but it still feels pretty good when you are finished. I give the cold shower a thumbs up!

132 Josh Hill February 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Richard Rivers wants to be a doctor someday. My 8 year old cousin also wants to be a doctor someday. Therefore, Richard Rivers has the exact same medical credibility as my 8 year old cousin. I’m much more likely to believe someone with support from actual studies from actual doctors than some internet wannabe named Dick who wishes he was really a doctor.

133 Shantimoe February 24, 2013 at 6:38 am

This was really insightful. After coming to the US from St.Lucia I have had nothing but warm showers. I had a cold shower last night after starting to read this and I had one of the most restful nights ever. I woke up this morning feeling more invigorated than ever!

I am glad you mentioned the negative impacts of cold showers (or at least hot-cold-hot-cold switching). My mom always told us to be careful not to switch temperatures too fast, but I guess what she failed to mention was that this was detrimental to the weak at heart.

Thank you for this information.

134 Ron March 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm

I always heard about healthy old folks in the neighborhood that used to take cold showers in cold weather and never got sick rather it helped them stay healthy all their lifes, I never believed this rather called it a “BS” until a few weeks ago, when I started trying different natural things to help fight my unusual fatigue symtoms at age 35. First affect of regular cold showers helps me spend an active day and feel young again but this is not what impressed me about cold showers rather it miraculously cured one of my medical condition that I had suffered since fifteen year back when I was 20, I had “MUMS” and that caused one of my testicles to shrink to the size of a peanut and shapeless, not round rather like a soft jelly, a condition medically called “testicle atrophy”. I visited all kinda of doctors(yeah who call themselves medically learned, no offense Mr. rivers) and everyone of them told me I have to live with it and it is a medically reversible condition. Upon may be past ten weeks of taking natural tap water coldest shower(winter of North New Jersy are ice cold) my shrunk testicle has recovered back to its normal size and shape and I would make it clear here that I did not take any medicine or other natural remedy during last few months. Now, how could I believe any doctor when they try to give me a medical theory that takes away the hope, instead of giving hope. Medical science is good but it still has lots of work ahead.

135 Richard March 23, 2013 at 2:17 am

No I’m not Richard Rivers before ya’ll think that. 1st of all I would like to say that the medical field can be so corrupt that its unbelievable. Ron thumbs up on your comments. Since 2009, I started to notice small pimples on my scalp since for the 1st time I shaved my head using a shaving razor then I started having problems with my scalp. I tried everything to stop this problem, my 1st stop was the pharmacy, when that did not do much to help, I then went to my doc and he failed to help me, I consulted another doc and still no luck till I was referred to a dermatologist who performed a biopsy to my scalp and the results came back that it was just a fungal infection, nothing major like cancer and stuff like that so he prescribed the most expensive pills I ever bought, Lamispor 250 (Terbinafine). There are 28 tablets inside and that costed me $67. He said I might need to get the box of 28 tables for the duration of 3 months with a woping total of $201. He also told me that after I’m done with the treatment, the pimples normally comes back again agter a few months. I listened but was kinda sceptical about that (I question everything) but I did buy the 1st box and it done some good but I could feel from my scalp that this problem will come back again. One day last year October there was no warm water at home but I had to take a shower because I had to be somewhere. I had no option but to take a cold shower but before doing that I went on the internet to find out whether that would kill me or not, lol. To my surprise I ran across al sorts of benefits then I went there with confidence that I won’t die or something. I must say after my 1st hit of cold shower I couldn’t stop, I’m still taking cold showers to this day. Okay, going back to my scalp, my stubborn scalp problem disappeared completely and its not itchy at all anymore. I also didn’t have to take take 3 boxes of Lamispor, I only took that one box, after that box was finished I bought me 14 more tablets and that was it. Till that time, my scalp is so healthy, and my skin looks flawless. I’m a 26 year old male btw. Not only that, I also used to have a fatigue problem for as long as I can remember and that used to affect my whole life. I also used to have lazy eyes and since I been taking cold showers, all that is gone, I have never felt so energetic naturally in my whole life. Before taking cold shower, I used to garble on energy drinks to help me with my fatigue problem but since I been taking cold showers I haven’t touched energy drinks ever since. Not only am I saving a lot of money, but I’m also saving my health from the bad energy drinks does to a persons health. Oh and I don’t feel tired anymore when I wake up in the morning either, I can go on and on of the good things I have experienced first hand ever since I have been taking cold showers but I will have to write a whole book of my experinces. One more thing and I promise to stop; my colleagues would have flues and fever, I had never gotten sick ever since I have been taking cold showers. Imagine how much money the medical field would lose if more and more people know the truth about cold showers. With that being said, we need them though if we need operations and those kinda serious things but if a lot of people knew about cold showers, then the money they would lose would be noticeable

136 lilo April 27, 2013 at 11:34 am

I havent taken a warm shower this year. One ice cold one in the morning, and mostly every night.

It does not cure depression.

137 Luke April 28, 2013 at 5:08 pm

But the cold is evil!

138 L H May 17, 2013 at 9:32 am

Mr. Richard Rivers has way way wayyyyy too much time on his hands, apparently. If you are going to be a good doctor, you will want to be more open minded about alternative things that people may do for their health, that really have no negative side effects. You spent several hours composing that response when you could have been doing something constructive.

139 Brent May 22, 2013 at 12:58 am

I just wanted to say thank you for writing and posting this web page. I just started taking cold showers 2 days ago and I made the same mistake as you which was “taking too much too quick,” in other words I jumped into the cold water for 20 seconds and right after jumped out I felt dizzy and light headed. Thinking I was going into shock I panicked a little but thankfully the feeling went away. Now that I read your article I now know it was just staying under the cold water for too long.
Thanks again,
Brent

140 Gabby June 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm

All the possible negative effects pointed out by the comments above are only applicable when the human body faces extreme cold. That is not the case with tap water. It feels cold on the skin, sure, but we drink it without a problem.
If you’re curious, measure your tap water’s temperature, at it’s hottest, coldest or during a warm bath. You’ll notice the hottest is hot enough to cause damage (which is why no one uses the hottest setting) but the coldest isn’t all that worrisome.

Chill out people, maybe you could use a cold shower.
Heads up to the people feeling adverse effects like heart palpitations and light headedness: you’re overdoing it. Try a little less hot at the beggining and a little less cold at the end

141 Ryan Sweeney June 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Richard Rivers needs to take a cold shower. You can’t even compare how amazing you feel afterwards. The serotonin produced in your body makes you feel phenomenal. And any “physician” knows that serotonin is associated with affecting mood, appetite, anxiety. Such it Dr. Rivers. You sir need to live your life a little more.

142 Chris,24-6-2013 June 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Cold showers(freezing)make you feel fantastic I’ve been taking them for years, twice a day, since reading an articlel in Mens Health mag, on Hugh Jackman.Follow up with press ups.Gives you a great virile,hard, tight body.

143 John July 18, 2013 at 2:56 am

I have been showering like this for a while now and found that it woke me up quite nicely. It also seemed to make my skin feel nicer and less irritated from the hot water. I had no idea anyone else would do this as well. I am glad to see that it has some real benefits I wasn’t aware of.

144 Sharon Cooper August 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm

This is also something that I have been doing for some time. Like others have said, it wakes me up and gives me that refreshed and alert feeling I need to get going. It also tides me over until I have my routine cup of coffee in the morning. Over all I have definitely noticed a big difference in my mood in the mornings. Showering with cold water also has one other major benefit: the reduction of chlorine vapor. Showering with chlorinated water has many negative health affects. I read an interesting article about this here: http://www.berkeyfilters.com/blog/2013/07/31/five-reasons-why-your-showerhead-needs-a-filter/

145 Adam August 9, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Starting off with hot water is cheating! Just jump right in and embrace it!

146 Frank August 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I read about this very recently and I’ve only done it twice. I’m not sure what the physical effects are (there seems to be some doubt) but it does feel amazing. I found that you’re more scared of the shock than the actual temperature.

The way I do it is to start off warm-ish (still way colder than the hotness you’re used to) when you step in, and immediately turn the temperature down in one motion (avoids that initial shock). Not bit by bit, it’ll be too easy to give in. Then when you feel it’s cold enough, wait until you become used to it (I tend to move around a bit until that moment arrives), and only then turn the temperature down gradually. It even feels warm after awhile.

Whatever you do, DON’T leave the stream of water.

147 Holly August 24, 2013 at 7:17 am

I googled for reasons why swimming in the ocean takes away the constant flu like body aches I have had since beginning treatment for late stage Lyme Disease and found this article. Thanks, and I am going to pass it on to fellow lymies. That said, the Richard guy, that “aspiring physician” sounds just like the poor excuses for doctors who never tried very hard to find out why I was having seizures, severe tachycardia, joint pain, gi distress, etc. I finally found myself a specialist who cared enough to test me for absoloutly everything, and found I had a raging case of Lyme for many years! Doctors who act like they know everything and ignore you if your case is complicated make me SICK. Beware of being a terrible doctor, Richard, and check the inflated ego.

148 Bert Morris September 9, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I wasn’t aware of it until now, but I’ve been taking this sort of shower (the “James Bond” or “Scottish shower”) for a few years now. At some point I heard or read something somewhere that highlighted the fact that when the human body gets hot it activates its evaporative cooling system. we know this in layman’s terms as sweating. Just because we’re standing under running water doesn’t mean we don’t sweat when we take a hot shower. So, you’re in the shower, nice and hot, and you get out; your body is hot and your skin is hot. All sensors are telling your body that it needs to cool itself even though the temperature in the room might be a nice 72 degrees… Which suddenly feels like the North Pole.

Instead of going to the trouble of taking a shower only to get out and sweat and freeze my butt off, I take a nice hot shower to soothe muscles and relax and I follow with what I call the cool down.the cool down is basically what you described as the James Bond shower; a nice, hot shower followed by a reduction in temperature to a cool shower. my wife and I have both been doing this for a while and we both love it.

149 Carlos Figueira September 14, 2013 at 4:08 am

I suffer from a condition called ankylosing spondylities that causes stiffness fusion of the vertebrae and a bent posture associated with chronic fatigue. Two years ago I stayed in a topical country for six months and experienced after a month or so a lot of involuntary stretching of my tendons and joints I associated with the intense heat. Awhile back in England where I live I started to take the “James bond style” showers and noticed the stretching on my posture as soon ad the temperature of water starts dropping, no point of mention the energy and vitality feel as the overwhelming majority people here already mentioned, I also noticed that I am starting to cope with less or none anti inflammatory pills. Basically where I thought was down to the intense Heat I’m Africa I am starting to realize that was actually the cold showers that I had for six months… Amazing! The aspiring doctor Richard should be called the Apirine Doctor please let’s us know where your surgery will b we all stay away from it lol

150 Ilya September 25, 2013 at 10:58 am

I started cold shower therapy by buying a 2 gallon bucket. I start by dumping the bucket of water on my head, and turning on the shower after that.

151 Mimi September 29, 2013 at 9:48 am

Great article! It was really fun to read.

I started taking cold showers this summer as I found that it cooled me right down and made me feel alert. So I started taking cold showers everyday after exercising. However, on the days I wash my hair I use hot water. But I’m going to try and turn it down to cold after each hot shower.

It’s amazing how your body gets used to it. At first it took me a while to get in, I had to gear myself up, legs in then arms then full body. Now I just jump in and enjoy it. The weather’s getting colder now but I’m determined to keep on doing it through the winter. A lot of people still think that cold showers and cold weather makes you ill.

152 Tom October 2, 2013 at 7:06 am

Great article!
I’ve been doing this for some time now, as much as I love a hot steamy shower, when you come out, you just keep sweating after youve dried off. To combat this i started having the same hot shower to begin, and then graduall turning it cold for the last minute or so, come out feelin fresh!. the Mrs appreciates that i’ve left hot water for her though… she’s yet to change to cold water

153 Mike October 13, 2013 at 8:37 pm

I live on a lake in Quebec, Canada, where the water is only warm for a few weeks of the year. The rest of the time, in Spring and Fall, the nighttime temperature is only a few degrees above 0 cel. The ice only thaws last week of April.

I’m in that gorgeous fresh water right out of bed first thing for all three seasons. I don’t dunk my head to protect my ears, but otherwise a bare naked dip right out of the sack ranks among the greatest and most alive experiences ever!

154 LLLiendo November 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Nice Article, I have been doing this for a while now and was wondering if it was good or bad for my health, glad I ran into this article, I count all the way to 100 after the water gets the coldest, and in the mid of winter, I noticed I am able to count damn fast.
By mid summer I rely on a bucket from the refrigerator…

155 Jake November 7, 2013 at 7:48 am

Ok I am a 27 year old man. I’ve had a number of ailments I don’t like. From minor to major hyperhidrosis (sweating under arms for no reason). To minor eczema around my nose and acne on my face and body from eating shitty foods that don’t respond well with my body I assume. I also have been in a deep depression for like a year or more with anxiety.

Ever since i been taking cold showers only for the past month I feel like a NEW MAN. I workout for like 30 minutes or so give or take. Get my blood flowing and heart rate up. By the time I make to the shower Im hot,sweaty, and minor fatigued. I go straight to the shower and turn it on warm then turn it pretty darn cold like pretty serious cold. From the workout my body is able to ease into it much easier then just jumping straight out of bed into a cold shower.

With all this said, ever since the cold showers every day and no more warm or hot showers I really feel rejuvenated. I don’t sweat much at all anymore. I feel like my energy levels are through the roof with a nice alertness. My depression is basically cured. My skin has never looked better. I mean cmon, this shit is like the fountain of youth. You just have to man up and go for it. You know what they say, nothing comes easy in life. Hot showers feel good but putting yourself through the fire of a cold shower will have positive affects on you, at least for me it’s changed my life. So any doctor can say this and that, I don’t give two shits. From my personal EXPERIENCE this is has been a godsent. I used to have NO motivation, now im constantly on the go and not in a bad stressed out way.

156 Jake November 7, 2013 at 7:56 am

I also wanted to add. Go check out Mixed martial arts fighters. When they train all day you build up waste product or lactic acid in your muscles. MANY of these professional fighters after the training for the day jump in sometimes a trash can filled with ice cold water and ACTUALLY pour ICE in on top of you. What this does is help recovery tremendously, allowing them to train and perform at their peak levels the next day of hard training without losing energy and strength. And this isn’t a cold shower guys, this is a ICE BATH where some these guys can barely breath while there in the tub of ice for like 10 minutes.

So obviously their is a science behind it and not some bullcrap that cold water is bad for you. Go youtube mixed martial artists ice bath and it’ll show you.

157 Laura November 8, 2013 at 8:00 am

I recently started do this because my husband is a health nut. It does feel great afterwards. Getting in the water is the hardest part. I’ve documented my experience in my blog.
http://www.allisonest.com/indrid-cold/

158 Charles Lynch November 29, 2013 at 2:49 am

Start off with a tepid shower, then move to a cold shower for a couple three minutes. It is cold here now! Don’t like to go outside after a hot shower with my pores opened up. Have been doing the cold shower routine for about three weeks. Feel like a new man! Energy all day long, my work requires me to be outside also, I can be out there for a long time and not even feel the effects of the cold weather!! My coworkers think I’m nuts. Works for me. Give it a try do not think you will regret it… Even take a shower in the evenings when I come home from work, I do think I’ll sleep better now!!!

159 Ragnar Lodbrok December 15, 2013 at 7:35 am

Been cold water showering and bathing since I was about 8 or so. Scandinavian of course…I think it´s healthy. Try to keep the head warm in case it´s to hard to go under water in the beginning. There´s a russian styled hat you could get or a big wool hat that would be good. It´s also a good way of recovering faster once you´re up from the water – and you can have them on in the sauna as well. But don´t overdo this, one or twice a week for cold showers, and occasionally for cold water swims.

160 joao December 19, 2013 at 9:18 am

I have been doing that since i was 17. In my home country we did not have hot showers, so i started taking cold showers. Then when i moved to the states, i went on to take a hot shower and finish it with a cold shower. I find it very invigorating.

161 Ray December 20, 2013 at 1:56 pm

It’s awesome so many people have been having cold showers and finding it beneficial. I also wrote it about in this blog.
http://www.loodibee.com/cold-water-therapy-a-good-kind-of-stress/

162 David December 29, 2013 at 9:20 am

I have been looking for ways to naturally raise testosterone. Cold showers are one of them. I just did that today. It’s freaking cold here in Northern Europe so I can’t turn the water all the way to cold. I’m starting with lukewarm shower at around 16 C. I’ll gradually decrease the temperature over time.

The shower did make me feel great afterwards. I’ll continue doing this!

163 Robert January 5, 2014 at 7:34 pm

I recently started reading The 4 Hour Body and the James Bond hot/cold shower is listed partly to induce a shivering effect for fat loss and mental alertness and mood benefits. Its’ a lot easier to just say you’ll put it off until shower before bed or the next day but it has definitely made me far less sluggish in the morning.

164 GeneralLeonaidus January 15, 2014 at 7:00 pm

@Richard Rivers

I will answer you half seriously, since you state you are an aspiring physician, yet feel the need to appear as an intellectual deconstructing the advice in the article. Although I admit that the method in which the article is written is not very scientific, this does not therefore take away from the points made in the article. You should note that it is written in this manner to appeal or to relate to the average person of little intellect.

Most of what you state is essentially straining at gnats, or arguing terms and lack of citations, which you must understand is arguing for the sake of arguing, perhaps to make yourself appear intelligent, as I recently cited in the previous paragraph.

I could go through your points and post arguments for each line to show you your many errors, but I will simply say that there are many well-written articles on the internet, with many citations and observable science, that backup the claims of the benefits of cold showers.

Of course anything can be abused, particularly if nutrition and proper blood flow is lacking (I admit that the cold takes away blood, so someone with poor circulation could experience negative long-term effects, unless they change the variable to help increase the blood flow to the skin thereafter, this especially seems to be a common problem in the foot region)

Anyways, please don’t discourage others from the benefits of cold showers, until you exhaustively research yourself and therefore come to the same opinion as mine, which is the only correct one. Thanks.

165 Peregrine John January 17, 2014 at 11:10 am

Tried cold showers. They feel like hate. Pass.

166 Lauren January 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm

After getting every flu that came with each year’s new strain, (I prefer not to take a flu shot) I spoke with a friend who hasn’t had the flu or a cold for nearly 20 years. His secret–the cold shower. I started taking cold showers three years ago and have had neither the flu nor a cold. I still can’t do the full cold shower all at once–it is to cold. I turn the show to cold and stick one leg in–then the other, same with my arms and face. It works for me.

167 Lu January 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm

I began using the hot to cold method in the military. It s better than a whole pot of coffee or any energy drink at waking you up quick. I still use cold showers to recover from workouts or if I’m groggy in the morning.

168 John January 17, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I’ve not yet tried a cold shower, but have done “Polar Bear Plunges” on New Year’s Day for the past 8 years. Certainly, those plunges are borderline hypothermic! However, I’ve had the occasional experience with bathing/rinsing with cold water. I’m intrigued enough to give this a try.

That said, I wonder if low-grade exposure to cold weather (like shorts in the winter, even our recent Polar Vortex here in Tennessee) could impart some of these benefits? Could just be correlation rather than causation, as I’ve only been sick a handful of times in my life.

Here’s to an open mind, though!

169 Michael January 17, 2014 at 3:56 pm

I do it the Kneipp way: starting from the legs you pour cold water first on the limbs, then the rest of the body. It has the same positive effects, but the strain for the circulatory is lower. Best done with a hose rather than a shower. That’s what these hoses are for in the sauna, if you ever asked yourself …

170 Eric January 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I took colder showers and started feeling better in general. I have stopped for a few months and now am felling lethargic. Back to the cold showers. Allons-y!

171 tanasap January 17, 2014 at 9:31 pm

I bet you would feel just as alert if I burned you with the red hot cherry of a cigar right after you woke up. As for those claiming it cured depression, they almost certainly never had it to begin with (self- and/or misdiagnosed) OR aren’t listing other important changes that contributed to their recovery (diet, exercise, removal of allergens, etc). Feeling sad, down, blue or whatever you personally call it is not the same as bona fide clinical depression–it’s normal human emotion. Also, just because you haven’t gotten sick since you have been taking cold showers does not mean that the cold water is making you impervious to illness. Guess who also doesn’t get sick? People who consistently use drugs like coke, speed and opiates everyday (though they may if they suddenly stop). That doesn’t mean the key to avoiding the flu is binging from late fall until spring.

I’m not saying cold showers are nonsense. I think that they do help get your energy level up in the morning. I also think the cold water is good for the skin. The placebo effect can be very powerful, so perceived benefits (like increased test, or even more attractive skin) can lead to real benefits. Pretty much if it works for you, do it.

All that said, I have yet to see a solid rebuttal of the guy-who-wants-to-be-a-doctor’s argument, point by point. There was one person who did make a meaningful refutation of one of his points, so hats off to that individual. Other than that, I see a lot of instant dismissal with no explanation as to why. Pretty much exactly what the proto-doctor did, except he at least laid out the reasons for his dismissal.

Go ahead and skewer me now, I’m off my soapbox.

172 The Horse January 30, 2014 at 4:39 am

@Richard Rivers

Excellent display of your knowledge not only on your science but on fallacies, biases and misconceptions that lead to false conclusions. Hats off to you sir!

Horse

173 Walter Bowen February 2, 2014 at 9:11 am

I, too, read all the James Bond novels as a boy. And I, too, have been finishing every shower with a cold water rinse for over forty years. A guaranteed immune system builder!

174 Pete February 3, 2014 at 11:28 am

At our Scout camp, there is a new shower house with hot water, but it’s about 1/4 mile walk to it at 5AM. At each campsite is an older nature latrine with COLD water only shower. I used this 1 time and almost went into cardiac arrest. Is there a way to slowly get used to cold water showers?

175 Mickey February 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm

I like taking 10-30 min. cold baths in a Rubbermaid 100 gal. tub in my garage. Temp is 53 deg. F, it is not easy to start out, but it gets easier over time. I sleep much better and feel strong and energetic. plus, my crossfit workouts kill and the cold helps put out the fire in my sore muscles and joints. Do it. Oh, and DNA identical caterpillars, one warm climate dies in 1 year, one in cold climate lives 10 years. Nuff said.

176 Divyesh Gopal February 20, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Richard Rivas, why are you even trolling on Art of Manliness when you disagree with most of the articles? There are Eastern science that predates Western science that would counter your argument. Cold showers has helped individuals with concentration, meditation and clearing the clutter in the mind. It has also proving to assist individuals with eczema. Every research you attempt to sight would would be countered by other research. Therefore, instead of writing a novel in the comment section, you should just move on.

177 Doug February 24, 2014 at 11:37 am

I have been taking 5 minute cold showers for the last week. The amount of energy I get is a great boost and I’ve noticed I am able to sleep through the night. Yeah, only a few days in, but I am seeing benefits.

Remember folks, before hot water heaters, at least up north, the water was always cold and our ancestors dealt with it, so can we!

178 Rob February 25, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I’ve been taking cold showers for a couple of weeks now.I wet my hair and put just a drop of shampoo on my thin hair and lather. The cold water is dripping down my body from my hair and getting me use to what’s coming. I then move in with my mid section into the brain freezing cold stream and alternate between armpits and mid section washing them with cloth and cold water stream. then I just let the stream run down my back and then my front and wash my whole body with a cloth and rinse my hair multiple short times as this hurts the head when in the stream too long. I stay in for 5 minutes continually washing myself all over. I don’t run the stream too hard so the amount of water is a bit reduced from when I took warm showers. I feel great after the initial 2 minutes or so. I don’t see me going back to warm showers any time soon. This just feels too good! And my skin feels soft and I have reduced dandruff.

179 Chris March 5, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Hi,

I’m taking cold showers for some time now. I have few questions about overdosing them. How long do you sit there? 5 minutes, more? I catch myself doing it for like ten minutes, I go out when my skin is all red, like a lobster. Today I poured too much on my head (really, really cold one) and it hurt so much. Why is that? Happened to me twice now, quite painful. Should I ease a bit and leave after I’m all done with cleaning myself, or sit there till I get red-lobstered again? I take them sitting down sadly, I feel like Willy when they get them out of the pool, lol. I use small stream at start but at the end I take the coldest water there is. Is that okay?

180 Katie March 20, 2014 at 12:10 am

A lot of girls finish their showers with cold water too… but only because it makes their hair shinier.

181 John March 20, 2014 at 8:45 am

Ooooh, I’m gonna hop all over this, this sounds promising. I love trying new things and this seems like an extremely beneficial new habit I should be forming. Thanks, love your guys’ articles!

182 brian March 21, 2014 at 7:35 am

great read and full of healthful tips, thanks. Will definitely insert that into my routine tomorrow.

183 Bob March 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Richard Rivers is a poor raging man and most probably will make for a poor physician.
After reading the first lines of his comment I can already say that this person has absolutely no idea what he is talking about.
Any type of vasoconstriction increases blood flow and blood pressure THUS it promotes blood flow to the body in including organs. (Skin also is an organ, as a matter of fact it is the humans biggest organ, as “Dr.” Rivers should know by now.)
Activities that cause vasoconstrictions are for example sport activities and exposure to coldness ie. cold shower.
I hope that I will never be treated by physician such as this Richard Rivers.

184 Drew April 4, 2014 at 12:32 pm

I’m sure there may be some benefits to cold showers just as there may be detriments. I’m not sure if empirical scientific studies have clearly linked cold showers to anything positive (or negative). But I do think people rely on personal experiences a lot in order to make health claims. I wouldn’t imagine scientific research would ever do extensive studies on such a topic as this since focus seems to be more on treatments of specific diseases (and when I say treatments I mean drugs, nanomedicine, induced biological pathways, etc.). So, basically, personal experience is sometimes all we have to rely on in order to judge whether or not something can promote some kind of wellness. Of course, what makes one feel well is very subjective which is why I’m sure articles like these will always be frowned upon by those who take a more scientific approach to health claims. In my mind, being a healthy skeptic is important. Make sure you are equipped with accurate knowledge before you sold to health suggestions (since there are MANY)!

Nevertheless, I prefer taking warm (not hot or cold) showers because they don’t cause me to shiver but they also don’t cause my skin to get flushed and dry. Also, it’s just a comfortable temperature for me. I’m not here to push warm showers on others, just saying how I feel. Take it or leave it. I would only include health claims if I knew for an absolute fact they were true. Otherwise, if I make reasons that would suggest that they were healthy, I could give people the wrong idea into thinking that I am making a health claim (and even a claim that is back by reputable evidence). Personal experience and observation is not health science (though it can help intrigue people into doing certain type of science research).

All in all, this is an interesting article. Will I start taking cold showers? No. Is James Bond going to be my role model in various aspects of my life including my hygiene? No. What brought me here in the first place? Just to find any article at all about cold showers out of general curiosity. Now time to look at other articles (taking note that they may not be scientifically valid).

185 Adrian Ljungqvist April 7, 2014 at 12:59 am

After more than three months of taking cold shower twice a day, today was the first day I took two warm showers because the vigor and energy boost that I enjoyed on the first day of cold shower, which was the main motivator for me to continue cold shower, has waned away as time passes with regular cold showers. I have started to wonder whether some benefits of cold shower (improved immune system, metabolism, testosterone, etc.) claimed in many different articles are valid, although I believe from my experience that cold shower is in fact healthier for the skin and hair. At the same time, resistance to cold shower increased gradually. The thought of taking cold shower has slowed me down before I get in the shower. For example, rather than getting up immediately in the morning to take cold shower, I snoozed some. If anyone can assure me the benefits of cold shower to justify continuing cold showers, I would appreciate it.

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