Cold showers: the most important questions and answers

Kalt duschen: Die wichtigsten Fragen und Antworten

Lately we've been hearing more and more about people taking cold showers voluntarily. After all, cold showers are supposed to strengthen the immune system, promote blood circulation and also help to maintain healthy skin and hair.

Is it really worth overcoming your weaker self and changing your daily routine? We clarify the most important questions about cold showers and tell you a beginner-friendly method to integrate the cold shower into your everyday life.

the essentials in brief

  • In the past, people were often exposed to the cold. We escape the cold with thick jackets, heaters and heated cars. With the help of the cold shower, we can consciously stimulate our body with cold.
  • Whether hot or cold, you should shower for a maximum of three minutes. Showers that are too long and, above all, too hot attack the fatty layer of the skin and hair and dry them out.
  • Taking a cold shower has numerous benefits for your body. But your discipline, stamina and concentration will also be trained. The cold shower also gives you a fresh kick.

what is cold shower

Showering is, for most of us, an integral part of our daily routine. However, most are among the cozy wimps. Taking a cold shower takes a lot of discipline. In this section you will find out what you have to consider when taking a cold shower, whether you get used to it and how you can best start with it.

What happens to our body when we take a cold shower?

If you reduce the water temperature, the blood vessels in the skin constrict to lose as little heat as possible. Your blood is directed to the vital organs. This makes hands, feet, ears and lips cold.

If you hold on a little longer, you might start shaking. Your body tenses different muscles over and over again. The rapid movement of the muscles generates heat.

Another reaction of the body to cold is goosebumps. By raising the body hair, a warming air cushion is created and protects the body from cooling down. Because we don't have as much body hair today as our ancestors did, this mechanism is more a holdover from the revolution than a vital process.

A few thousand years ago man was exposed to the whims of nature - including the cold. Nowadays we have thick jackets, we can heat our homes and even drive to work in warm cars.

Because of our relaxed nature, we avoid the positive stimuli of the cold. With a cold shower we can consciously stimulate our body with cold and take advantage of the cold.

How often should I take cold showers?

A study with 1,976 respondents showed that 65.6% of Germans shower every day (1). From a dermatological point of view, however, this is not healthy because the skin's own fatty acid protective layer is destroyed. As a result, our skin tends to dry out, become red and itchy.

Depending on your needs, it is therefore completely sufficient to shower 2-3 times a week. To feel more hygienic, you can clean your armpits or intimate area with a washcloth every day.

If you exercise regularly, you can quickly rinse off with cold water afterwards. A cold shower does not attack our skin as much.

How long should I take a cold shower?

Especially wimps tend to take long showers to relax. Like showering too often, long showers damage our skin.

Since we often find cold showers unpleasant, we spend less time in the shower on average - a plus for the environment. After a while, however, you may get used to the temperature. Even then, you shouldn't spend more than 3 minutes under the cold water.

Woman taking a shower under a waterfall in wilderness

When cold water comes on our body, the blood vessels contract and are sent to our vital organs. As a result, our fingers, feet and ears get cold. ( pixabay / pexels)

What temperature should the water be when taking a cold shower?

The normal body temperature is around 37 degrees Celsius. From an outside temperature of around 15 degrees Celsius, our body starts to work against the cold.

So, to feel the benefits of a cold shower, you don't have to go straight into a bathtub full of ice cubes. Depending on your individual feelings, you can start between 14 and 18 degrees and then reduce shower by shower.

temperature Description
43°C Maximum shower temperature
35°C Healthy hot water temperature
18°C Perfect temperature to start with a cold shower
14°C Enough to experience all the benefits of the cold shower

An important rule when taking a cold shower is: The colder you shower, the shorter you should shower. If the water is very cold, one minute is sufficient. With tap water temperature (15 - 18 degrees) you can bi

Do you get used to the cold shower?

Let's be honest - the cold water will still feel cold even after several months. It will always be a step out of your comfort zone that you have to more or less persuade yourself to take.

The trick is to make you aware of why you don't just turn the water right back to warm. Remember the numerous benefits that we will explain later in this article.

Taking a cold shower will become easier every time and you will feel the benefits firsthand. The water will stay cold, but after a while you won't want to be without the benefits of a cold shower.

When should I not take a cold shower?

In general, cold showers strengthen the immune system and have many positive benefits on our body. However, there are also a few situations in which you can warm up the water again without a guilty conscience.

This includes:

  • colds
  • Fever
  • autoimmune diseases

If you don't feel fit and suffer from a cold, fever or other infections, a cold shower can be counterproductive for your health. Instead of strengthening the immune system, the cold shower puts a strain on your body.

If you suffer from an autoimmune disease or diseases that permanently weaken your immune system, you should also avoid cold showers or talk to your doctor beforehand.

Cold shower guide for beginners

A cold shower is above all an overcoming in the head. While some dare to go cold turkey, we encourage you to approach it gradually.

Step Description Effect
Cold facial bath Turn on the faucet in the sink, turn it off and just wash your face. Your hands and face will face cold
contrast shower Start with warm water for 1 to 2 minutes and let it cool for 10 seconds, then you can take a warm shower again. You repeat this again and again and increase the cold phases. Facilitates entry and takes the barrier in the head
Cold shock shower Put it under the shower and let the water cool down immediately. Try to stand still as long as possible. Increase up to 3 minutes daily and feel the benefits

Due to the cold water, we tend to breathe very quickly and shallowly, which makes you feel the cold even more. Become aware of your breath and try to breathe calmly and in a controlled manner.

What are the advantages of taking a cold shower?

You already know what has to be considered when taking a cold shower. But why should you put yourself through all this? There are numerous advantages to taking a cold shower.

Things that don't feel good, are challenging, require a lot of work, and are exhausting really push you forward.

Cold showers strengthen the immune system

A refreshing shower not only gives you a good start to the day, it can also significantly strengthen your immune system. This is not a baseless claim, but has been proven by several studies.

In March 2015, a study was conducted in the Netherlands with 3018 participants. The effect of a regular cold shower on illness, quality of life and work productivity was examined.

Man bathes in a spring in front of mountains at night

A cold bath often gives us goosebumps. Raising the hair creates a warm air cushion and protects against the cold. (Robson Hatsukami Morgan / Unsplash)

Participants who took cold showers every day saw a 29% reduction in sick leave. It was also found that the cold showers showed increased productivity and mood. (2) A study by the University of Jena in 2005 also came to similar conclusions (3).

Cold showers help with weight loss

Our bodies are made up of fat to some extent. We can distinguish between two different types of fat. White fat is a term used to describe excess fat, the so-called hip gold.

The brown fat, on the other hand, describes a different variant. These fat cells are desirable because they can aid in weight loss. It contains that convert fatty acids and glucose into heat.

Our body breaks down the brown fat cells over the years because of the lack of cold stimulus. Several studies have concluded that we can stimulate brown fat cells again with the stimulus of cold showers (4,5).

Furthermore, your body has to produce more heat when you expose yourself to the cold shower. This process also burns calories.

Cold showers improve blood circulation

As you learned earlier in the article, our bodies are hardly ever exposed to the cold thanks to new inventions. However, this also reduces the activity of our blood vessels.

When it's cold, our blood vessels constrict to control blood flow and protect our vital organs. After the cold water, the vessels widen again.

Those who evade cold also evade this effect. If you take cold showers regularly, you can activate your blood vessels again. In this way you can prevent circulatory disorders and also regulate blood pressure problems.

Take a cold shower for firm skin and beautiful hair

The cold water also has positive effects on our skin and hair. Due to the better blood circulation, our skin is also better supplied with blood and looks fresher and rosier. In addition, cold water closes our pores and prevents dirt particles from causing impurities

Warm water can often be responsible for straggly hair. The protective layer of fat dissolves due to the temperature and dries out the hair. Cold water, on the other hand, closes the upper cuticle layer and ensures shiny hair.

Cold showers strengthen discipline and the ability to concentrate

There are far more pleasant things than taking an ice-cold shower in the morning. But exactly this fact can advance you personally: You learn to leave your comfort zone and overcome yourself.

At first, you will probably find the cold water sensation quite uncomfortable and will only endure it for a few seconds. Instead of withdrawing directly from the uncomfortable situation, you can train yourself to deal with the pain.

In addition, the shower can also be a kind of meditation and help you to improve your ability to concentrate. When cold water hits you, you probably won't be thinking about yesterday's fight or things you absolutely have to do.

Cold showers help with regeneration

Cold water promotes blood circulation and is said to stimulate the muscles to regenerate. This was the conclusion reached by one of the Australian Brisbane University in 2013 (6).

However, this advantage should only come about if the cold bath is taken directly after physical activity. If you have to drive home after the gym or a football game, your body has probably already cooled down on its own.

The situation is different if you go running or ride a bike and can jump under the cool water immediately after you get home. After a short cool-down you can shower directly. So you can benefit from the numerous advantages of the cold shower.

What alternatives are there to cold showers?

Cold showers are not for everyone. For those who prefer it warm and cozy, there are still a number of ways to experience the benefits of a cold shower in other ways.

water treading

Water treading according to Sebastian Kneipp is a simple variant of cold showers. You can often find suitable pools in swimming pools and wellness oases.

If you want to try treading water for yourself, a bathtub, a large bowl or the stream in the nearest park will suffice. The only requirement is that the water is no higher than knee-deep and below 18 degrees Celsius.

  • Fill the bathtub with cold tap water to just below your knees.
  • Stand in water and walk in place. With each step you lift one leg completely out of the water.
  • After treading water, you should put on socks and shoes and generate warmth by walking slowly.

Treading water has similar benefits to taking a cold shower. Among other things, it stimulates the circulatory system, promotes blood circulation and strengthens the immune system. perfect for those who don't want to expose themselves completely to the cold water.

Boost your immune system with ginger shots

A great advantage of the cold shower is the strengthening of the immune system. If you just can't get used to the cold, there are other ways to boost your immune system.

One easy option is ginger shots. Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory effects (7). Other possible drinks are golden milk or aloe vera. You can now find these immune system boosters in some supermarkets. Of course, homemade tastes best!

Conclusion

Showering is part of our daily routine and is important for hygiene and our well-being. A cold shower has numerous benefits - both for your body and for your mind.

Especially at the beginning it is difficult to overcome the cold water and leave your comfort zone. However, it is worth overcoming your weaker self and integrating the cold shower into your everyday life.

Don't overdo the cold shower and only turn the water cold if you feel healthy and fit. In this way it is a wonderful opportunity to do something good for your body, your soul and also your skin and hair.

References

  1. In 2001, 57.8% of Germans showered every day. In 2006, the percentage of Germans who showered every day rose to 65.5%.
  2. The aim of the study was to determine the effect of regular cold showers on illness, quality of life and work productivity. A total of 3018 participants between the ages of 18 and 65 took part. Overall, it was found that regular cold showers lead to a reduction in sick days.
  3. The investigations of a doctoral thesis show that cold showers are an effective hardening against infections.
  4. We can stimulate the brown fat cells again through the stimulus of cold showers.
  5. We can stimulate the brown fat cells again through the stimulus of cold showers.
  6. Cold water promotes blood circulation and is said to stimulate the muscles to regenerate.
  7. Ginger has an anti-inflammatory effect.
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1 comment

ein super Artikel! Aber da ich selber Autoimmun erkrankt bin (psoriasis-arthritis), kann ich mit Sicherheit sagen, dass Kaltduschen für mich das allerbeste überhaupt ist, weil für Arthritis gilt der Satz: wer rastet der rostet- 10-fach! und warum?: weil wenn der Kreislauf angekurbelt wird, dann werden die Schmerzen weniger…und was macht kalt duschen?: natürlich Kreislauf ankurbeln;-) probiert es einfach aus!

Janos Ecseghy

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