Should You Be Taking a Cold Shower?
Discover the healing power of the freezing cold
Photo courtesy of Alexandru STAVRICĂ/Unsplash
By Natalie Shukur
writer for The Natural
A cold shower may only be something you resort to if your AC is on the fritz or by chance should your hot water heater be broken. But, in fact, it might be worth considering adding it to your weekly wellness repertoire.
I was first introduced to the idea at a Kundalini yoga class. Kundalini was introduced to the US in 1969 by Yogi Bajan as a deeply healing form of yoga that’s known as the “yoga of awareness”. In addition to kriyas (a series of physical postures, breath, and sound), there are many lifestyle recommendations that are part of its teachings, including hydrotherapy.
To find out more about if I should be turning the icier temps up, I consulted New York-based Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher, Jen Brown, who shares how to turn your daily showers into a self-care experience:
What’s your approach to showering?
“I see shower time as something to be cherished. As I started my spiritual healing journey a handful of years ago, showering went from being something I did quickly and somewhat mindlessly to a ritual of true intention and care. Each part of showering for me is now a mindful act. Every product I use is clean and has a scent that opens me up. I have a water filter on my shower head. I choose songs that support wherever I am that day and listen to them as I shower. There are still many areas on the planet where fresh, clean water is not available, and I try to be aware of this as I turn the water on and let the shower run. Water is a natural cleanser that clears our energy and resets us.”
How do you incorporate the Kundalini practice of cold showers?
“Some Kundalini yogis take cold showers daily, or every other day, but that’s always felt like too much for me, so I take a cold shower about once a week. I do it when I’m feeling strong inside, like I am ready to be challenged, or when I am in a place of utter resistance and need a good waking up! On the other hand, on days where my energy is low or I need nurturing, a cold shower can feel like too much, so I opt for hot water instead. Additionally, it’s possible to line up shower temperatures with a woman’s cycle. While ovulating, I have more energy and can take on a cold shower more easily. But when I’m on my period, it’s a quiet and reflective time, and my body doesn’t want to be shaken up with a cold shower.”
What are the benefits of cold showers?
“One major benefit is that it brings blood flow to the skin and cleans the circulatory system, so it encourages a healthy glow. I have hormonal acne, so when I’m not in balance, it shows up on my skin. Routine cold showers are known to support detoxing and hormonal balance because cold water are said to contract muscles, causing them to release toxins more efficiently. It also is known to strengthen mucous membranes and balance the glands. This is something you actually feel after taking a cold shower, and don’t we all love to feel and see the results from our self-care efforts?!”
Any tips for cold shower newbies?
“Cold showers aren’t an easy practice for anyone, so it’s normal to feel intimidated by the idea. You can work your way into it, bringing down the water temperature slowly and only staying in the water for moments at a time. It’s recommended to massage the body with oil before a shower, and to keep moving and massaging while showering. If anything, at least the movement will distract you from the cold. Eventually the body will warm itself up as a result of the increased blood flow. If you make it to that point, you’ve done well! Treat yourself to a well-made, organic cotton towel to dry off after the shower. It will feel like such a treat. Also, if you’re in a relationship, try taking a cold shower with your partner. It can be a fun activity that resets both people and brings laughter as well.
Ultimately, we need to get to know and listen to our bodies. You’ll know if taking cold showers supports you or not. It may feel counterintuitive at first, but try it at least three times to determine whether it’s something for you. It gets easier with time.”
Articles from The Natural should not be considered medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please consult a medical professional.