Somewhen in 2022 I decided to switch from normal hot showers to cold showers.
I can’t really remember why I did this. We had an energy crisis in Germany and some politicians recommended to take cold showers. Sure - but I am not the person that starts taking cold showers just because a politician recommends it. I think around that time I also read an interesting blogpost on cold showers which made me think (unfortunately, I forgot who wrote that). And my neighbour is a big fan of the totally esoteric Wim Hof method. My neighbour even took cold baths in his garden during winter time and paid large sums of money for a Wim Hof seminar. But I am extremely skeptical about this cold water immersion technique.
So why did I start taking cold showers? At the end I have no idea why I started doing it. But I did - and did not stop doing it until now.
How to do it - Breathing is the Key
I was not able to shower cold for my whole life. That makes me a true beginner of cold showers. What helped me doing it is the right breathing technique.
I first cold-shower my feet, legs and up to my belly. Above the belly-line it becomes really really disgusting for me. To overcome that - I breath very deeply and in a very controlled manner.
It is like in boxing: When you get a punch - you have to breath away the punch. It’s the same for cold showers. When it becomes unbearable - just keep on breathing. Deep - very controlled breaths. Exhale loudly. Keep on showering. And after a couple of seconds of controlled breathing I can shower my whole body without any issues.
I then soap my body and shower again. The “shower again” part is by far not as bad as the first time you do it.
It’s also important to note that there are different levels of cold. Taking cold showers during summer in California is not as cold as taking a cold shower in the Alps during winter. It’s a huge difference. But with the right breathing technique you can even stand cold showers in the Alps.
Being able to take cold showers feels like a superpower that not many have. For instance, our water heating was broken for two weeks end of 2022 - and I was the only one able to easily shower at home. The temperature did not matter to me. Superpower.
Another cool thing is that you are really really awake after a cold shower. It’s better than a coffee for me. You are just awake. Cool.
You are also saving a bit of money - but I would not overestimate that part.
Truth to be told - my brain really does not like cold showers. And because my brain does not like cold showers - it (I) began to procastinate so that I don’t have to shower. I became very creative in the morning to do all sorts of other things - just to not take a shower.
I mean - it is not really bad - but I have to actively overcome this. Otherwise I would simply not take cold showers because they feel very unpleasant.
A lot has been published about potential health benefits and adverse effects. Marketing pros like Wim Hof even built a money making machine around the concept of cold water immersion. Many people enthusiastically talk about the Wim Hof method. It’s a hype.
Honestly, I don’t think that cold - or in my case - showering cold - is necessarily beneficial. It might even be bad for your body. When I look through the results in pubmed I can’t find clear scientific evidence in one way or the other.
At the end I don’t know it and it is a personal decision! After taking cold showers for more than one year - it seems to work fine for me. But I can’t find any changes in sick days or anything else. It’s not magic - it’s just cold.
I can recommend taking cold showers. It makes you awake - and it feels like a superpower if you are the only person that can take a super-cold shower during winter time!
- Awesome photo on top by Jorge Fernández