Given the still hot and humid weather, many of us have come to depend on cold showers to provide the quickest relief. But they don’t just help you feel cooler - they are reported to have a number of health benefits, from improving immunity to speeding up recovery. While you should avoid taking a cold shower if you are suffering from a cold, cough or any other respiratory illness, they can provide the following benefits in other situations:
1. They boost immunity
Scientists believe that cold water stimulates the release of an anti-inflammatory hormone, norepinephrine, in the body which helps prevent and treat inflammatory diseases. A study conducted in the Thrombosis Research Institute in England showed that a cold shower helps increase the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in the body, all of which fight against various diseases.
2. They can help deal with depression
Some studies have revealed hydrotherapy can help in dealing with depression. A clinical study reveals that taking a cold shower for up to 5 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week, can help in relieving the symptoms of depression. Scientists believe that cold showers act as gentle electroshock therapy which sends electrical impulses to the brain, clearing the mind and making it more alert.
3. They can speed up recovery
Cold water immersion is a popular method of treating muscle injury in athletes. Sitting in an ice bath for 7 to 14 minutes can reduce inflammation and promote faster recovery of an athlete’s injured body part. The idea behind this is to lower the temperature of an area of the body, so that the body speeds up the delivery of warm oxygenated blood in that area, thus speeding up the recovery time.
4. They keep the skin and hair healthy
It is a known fact that hot water dries out the skin and hair and makes them itchy. Taking a cold shower can help make the hair look shinier and skin healthier. Cold water helps close hair cuticles and pores, so it could also reduce hair loss.
5. They improve metabolism
Studies have shown that taking cold showers regularly can improve metabolism as it activates the brown adipose tissue (good fat). The activated brown fat helps the body generate heat during cold weather, which helps in treating obesity in the long run. Though the specifics are unknown, studies conclude that taking a cold shower 2 to 3 times a week can help improve metabolism.
For more information, read our article on Is it better to bathe with hot or cold water?
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.