Updated: Nov 23, 2022
The power of the cold shower is by no means new.
The ancient Greeks noted that they continued to take cold baths, despite having invented climate control, simply because the health benefit outweighed the creature comfort.
In recent years cold showers have garnered more popularity due in part to the research and popularity of the Wim Hof Method.
Wim Hof, aka "the iceman", is a Dutch athlete that has shattered Guinness World Records for feats of endurance and long term cold exposure. Hof garnered worldwide attention in 2007 when he climbed Everest in nothing but shorts and shoes. He's since been studied by scientists and researchers and featured on Joe Rogan's podcast, The Discovery Network, and Goop Lab with Gwyneth Paltrow. He was also subject of journalist Scott Carney's best-selling book What Doesn't Kill Us.
Hof discovered-- by mistake-- that a combination of diaphragmatic breathwork and cold exposure helped reduce stress, improve health, and even control the immune response.
Research and studies later showed that his method works because it builds up brown fat in the body. We have two types of fat: one is good, and the other bad. Brown fat, or adipose tissue, is the good fat, and we've largely removed it from our bodies in the modern world.
Brown fat is like fuel for the body and it burns quickly. Studies show that as we build brown fat reserves, we build immunity, increase testosterone, and even lose weight through increased calorie burn.
Tips for Taking Cold Showers
Treat it like you do a workout: Know it's going to be hard. It's not fun, but if you push through it, you will feel great afterwards.
Start warm and finish cold: This technique becomes easier over time. At first, it's downright unbearable, so start warm and aim to finish cold.
Do 20 deep squats first: Build up some increased body temp.
Breath rapidly from your diaphragm: This will start to warm you up.
Treat it like "holding a sneeze": Much of this is mind over matter. Many of us can't hold a sneeze, but we all have done it before when the moment requires it. Don't think, just do.