Benefiting From Cold Showers In Addiction & Recovery


If a hot shower is what your body craves in the morning, you’re not alone. The majority of people crank the handle all the way up in order to feel the hot water all over their body.

But did you know that cold showers should also have a place in your daily routine? Both hot and cold showers have varying benefits that we can harness during our detox phase and ongoing in your recovery!

Regardless of how you feel about either type of shower, research shows that both hot and cold showers have health benefits you should be aware of.


So What’s So Great About Cold Showers?

Benefits of taking a cold shower include:

  • Calming down itchy skin
  • Waking you up
  • Increasing your circulation
  • Reducing muscle soreness
  • Potentially boosting weight loss
  • Better hair, skin and overall appearance and self worth

Cold Showers Calm Down Itchy Skin

Adam Friedman, MD, says if you have itchy skin or skin conditions that cause you to itch, cold showers can help you overcome the sensation to scratch when you feeling like peeling your skin off!


Cold Showers Help You Wake Up

When that cold spray hits your body, there’s a bit of shock. This “shock” increases:

  • Oxygen intake
  • Heart rate
  • Alertness

Cold Showers Increase Your Circulation

Increased circulation is one of the top reasons experts recommend cold showers.

As cold water hits your body and external limbs, it constricts circulation on the surface of your body. This causes blood in your deeper tissues to circulate at faster rates to maintain ideal body temperature.

In that sense, a cold shower has the opposite effect of a hot shower for someone with hypertension (high blood pressure) or cardiovascular disease (heart disease), since exposure to cold temperatures triggers the circulatory system to reduce inflammation and can help prevent cardiovascular disease.


Cold Showers Help Reduce Muscle Soreness During Detox, Exercise Or Recovery

Since cold water has regenerative properties, your muscles will relax and repair after a tough workout, during the detox process or throughout your recovery.


Cold Showers Aid’s Weight Loss

Some fat cells, such as brown fat, can generate heat by burning fat. They do this when your body is exposed to cold conditions like in a shower.

Gerrit Keferstein, MD, says these cells are mostly situated around the neck and shoulder area. So, perfect for showers or baths!


Cold Showers Gives Your Hair & Skin A Healthy Glow & Improves Complexion And Other Physical Appearance Issues Such As Spots And Scabs

Though scientific research is limited regarding the effect cold water has on your skin and hair, anecdotal evidence points to positive effects.

Wellness expert Dr. Jacqueline Schaffer, MD, says that cold water tightens and constricts the blood flow which gives your skin a healthier glow. It also reduces the production of the oils that can cause spots and reduces itching that can cause facial or body scans throughout chronic drug use.

According to an article published on the website NaturallyCurly.com, cold water closes and strengthens your hair cuticles.

Also, cold water, unlike hot water, doesn’t dry out the sebum layer, a naturally lubricated barrier that provides protection for your skin and hair. 

As a result of the effects of cold water, your hair may be more likely to become stronger and healthier over time.

For users who are anxious, restless or experiencing cravings, the scabs can become the focus of obsessive picking. Picking at the sores increases the risk of cellulitis, or the infection of the soft tissues underlying the dermis. Skin lesions are common in heavy methamphetamine users.


Top 12 Benefits Of A Cold Water Shower:

If you’re convinced a cold shower is totally out of the question, you might want to rethink your philosophy. Unlike the long list of benefits that come with taking a cold shower, the list of cons is surprisingly quite short.

COLD SHOWER BENEFITS #1: BOOSTS IMMUNITY

Cold water triggers anti-inflammatory norepinephrine release and “red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets count increased significantly” according to this study.

Another study found winter swimmers had “an improved adaptation to oxidative stress and better tackled inflammation” [which is at the heart of all chronic diseases].

Another stated “A moderate stress such as cold water swimming can raise the tolerance of the body to potentially injurious events”.

TIP:

It might sound unappealing but even just a few seconds under the cold tap can bring huge benefits

COLD SHOWER BENEFITS #2: REDUCES DEPRESSION

Although the hard science behind this isn’t totally conclusive, it makes a lot of sense. A study by the University School of Medicine, Richmond posits:

Exposure to cold is known to activate the sympathetic nervous system and increase the blood level of beta-endorphin and noradrenaline and to increase synaptic release of noradrenaline in the brain as well. Additionally, due to the high density of cold receptors in the skin, a cold shower is expected to send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect”.

Another study showed depressive symptoms were relieved in those who took two or three 5-minute showers per week.

COLD SHOWER BENEFITS #3: BOOST METABOLISM

We see an increase in metabolosm from people who take a daily cold shower for one main reason: there’s increased activation in brown adipose tissue – good fat – which is used to generate heat and insulate us against the cold. It’s the type of fat we want and kicking it into action boosts metabolism.

12 cold shower benefits you need to know - outside

COLD SHOWER BENEFITS #4: REDUCES TIME OFF WORK OR STUDYING

One study in the Netherlands involving 3,000 participants found those who finished their daily shower with a 30 – 90 second blast of cold water were 29% less absent than their colleagues after just 30-days of the trial.

It speaks volumes that two-thirds of those who completed the study continued with their daily cold shower once the trial ended.

COLD SHOWER BENEFITS #5: IMPROVES MUSCLE RECOVERY

Cold water immersion for sports performance is well documented and widely practiced amongst athletes who repeatedly break muscle and need rapid recovery.

Athletes typically sit in an ice bath for 7 – 14 minutes to reduce inflammation and stimulate recovery. The ice bath causes blood vessels to constrict which helps reduce swelling and trauma.

COLD SHOWER BENEFITS #6: IMPROVES BLOOD CIRCULATION

When you take a cold shower, your body naturally increases blood flow in a bid to keep organs warm. Improved blood flow has a multitude of widely understood health benefits.

COLD SHOWER BENEFITS #7: YOU’LL FEEL ENERGISED

A cold shower stimulates your sympathetic nervous system. This is the system responsible for our fight-or-flight response to danger or a threatening event (as a cold shower can sometimes feel). But this response triggers a hormone release which is felt as an adrenaline rush and leaves you buzzing.

12 cold shower benefits you need to know - energy

Tip:

A cold shower reduces chronic fatigue

COLD SHOWER BENEFITS #8: REDUCE CHRONIC FATIGUE

One interesting study posited the effect of brief cold water exposure to chronic fatigue syndrome.

Although causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are not fully understood, there appears to be a strong link between it and insufficient hypothalamus function, which cold water exposure has been shown to reverse.

On a purely subjective level, there’s no doubt that a cold shower is an energising way to start the day.

COLD SHOWER BENEFITS #9: BOOST FERTILITY

It’s an old wives’ tale, but there’s evidence supporting the claim that high water temperature exposure – like baths, Jacuzzis and hot showers – reduce fertility.

In short, men’s testicles need cool environment to operate optimally.

Hot water also decreases testosterone so if you’re looking for a T-boost, a daily cold shower gets you on the right track.

COLD SHOWER BENEFITS #10: WAKES YOU UP

Of all effects, this is the one we most readily feel. Regardless of the countless health benefits, a cold shower will certainly make you more alert at the start of the day.

After a nights slumber, your body often needs a kick to start firing on all cylinders and a cold shower is the perfect prescription.

12 cold shower benefits you need to know - fatigue

A cold shower will raise you from your slumber

COLD SHOWER BENEFITS #11: MAKES YOU MORE ATTRACTIVE (APPARENTLY!)

Well, it’s been shown to improve your hair and skin. You can actually feel it – in a cold shower your skin becomes more taught. That feeling is your pores contracting.

Furthermore, cold water doesn’t wash away natural oils on your skin like warm water does, as Dr Jessica Krant confirms: “excessively hot water will strip healthy natural oils from your skin too quickly”.

COLD SHOWER BENEFITS #12: YOU’LL SLEEP BETTER

If you prefer your shower at the end of the day, you’ll enjoy improve sleep after a cool shower. We know how important sleep is for athletes and the general population, and taken one hour before bed, a cold shower will lower your core temperature and relax your mind.

You can find out more about sleep and alcohol consumption in our previous article here.


COLD SHOWER BENEFITS – CONCLUSION

A cold shower is one daily habit that we can totally get on board with.


The Cons Of Cold Baths & Showers:

  • Cold showers might not be a good idea if you’re already cold, since the cooler temperature isn’t going to help warm you up by any means. It could actually make you even colder and increase the amount of time it will take for your body to warm back up.
  • They may not be a good idea if you’re sick, either. Initially, the cold temperature might be too hard on your immune system, so it’s best to ease into the cooler temperatures.
  • Chronic use of opiates or opioids can lower your blood pressure and adding cold water into that mix may drop your blood pressure further, meaning you may faint or worse, so go easy if you are addicted to or using opioids!

IF IN DOUBT, CONTACT YOUR GP, DRUG AND ALCOHOL SERVICE OR DOCTOR BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES


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Published by Drink ’n’ Drugs

Providing useful, relevant, up to date information and support for those suffering from active addiction or those who are in recovery.

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