I’m headed right now to learn about hydration from Dr. Murad and his team. I know a whole lot about the power of water to incite change, but I’m always learning new reasons and ways to use water.
Today, as Spring is Springing, cold water is on my mind! Specifically: cold spashes, baths and showers. Apparently they can be majorly mood boosting, anti-inflammatory and all-round wonderful.
According to Peter Bongiorno ND, Lac., a pre-doctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health, “Applying water of different temperatures to our skin can change our physiology and mood.”
Cold showers and baths can be super for your mood. In fact, they can be therapy for depression.
“I recommend patients with depression to use brief whole-body exposure to cold water in the form of a cold shower. Patients can start a shower at a comfortable warm temperature and slowly cool down the water over a 5 minute period down to 68°F, at which point you can sustain for 2 to 3 minutes,” Bongiorno explains in Psychology Today.
According to Bongiorno, when you lower your body temperature it can cause anti-inflammatory and therapeutic effects, which include relieving symptoms of depression. The cold water stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which is the place where we get our “fight or flight” instincts, this increases the brain’s release of norepinephrine–an adrenal hormone that helps people alleviate depression.
Cold water can also help with digestion!
A study entitled “ Cold – Water Face Immersion Per Se Elicits Cardiac Parasympathetic Activity”, found that cold water face immersion activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the division of the autonomic nervous which has been to shown to slow our heart rate, increase intestinal and gland activity, and relax muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. Splashing cold water on your face is a real thing! (You can see the study here!)
Cold water also eases sore muscles.
A study conducted in 2009, with 360 subjects set out to test the effectiveness of cold water on muscle soreness and recovery after cycling, running or just working out. The results found that 24 minute cold water baths were effective in relieving sore muscles. The effects were noticed 1 to 4 days later. (You can see the study here!)
Cold water can also help to lower uric acid levels in your body.
High levels of uric acid can cause gout, kidney stones and kidney failure, high blood pressure, amongst other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. When you expose your body to very cold temperatures, you raise your rate of oxidation which then balances your levels of uric acid.
A study called, “Uric acid and glutathione levels during short-term whole body cold exposure”, ran a study on ten healthy subjects. The participants in this study were people who swim regularly in the winter, in really cold water. They were evaluated before and after the study began, and it was shown that levels of uric acid decreased after full body exposure to ice-cold water. The researchers called this “hardening” which is exposure to a stimulus, such as cold water that makes our bodies more resistant to stress and disease. (you can see the study here!)
While it may not feel exciting to plunge in a cold pool, sit in a cold bath or hop into an ice cold shower, the possible benefits are totally fascinating! Yet another way to clear space in life and lighten things up in a brand new way! xoxo Dana
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