Insight | Science

We Take Cold Showers for Granted

Kamis, 24 Feb 2022 10:00 WIB
We Take Cold Showers for Granted
Jakarta -

Jumping into the pool filled with cold water is a challenge itself. Most people prefer warm or hot water over the cold one, as heat warms muscles. It helps muscles to get relaxed, hence we'd be less tense as hot water widens blood vessels and increases blood flow that helps carry soreness-inducing lactic acid from tired muscles. But cold water itself has its own fans. Athletes like Andy Murray or Naomi Osaka are known to be big fans of ice baths, which are far more intense than casual cold showers. Most athletes do cold water immersion, where they will stay for 10 to 15 minutes after a hard workout or any significant physical exertion to reduce soreness, pain, and swelling.

A Dutch motivational speaker named Wim Hof introduced his own method of cold therapy. With Three Pillars of Breathing, Cold Therapy, and Commitment, he believes that cold therapy maximizes our body's potential, as it improves sleep quality, immune response, and helps us to be more focused. Wim Hof's method can be applied in cold showers or ice baths. By believing that we can be in control of our own bodies, his method shows that he's capable of extraordinary things such as standing in a container filled with ice cubes or running a half marathon in the snow with bare feet.

Ice baths itself is not something new in society, as can be traced back to Ancient Greece time where famous philosophers like Plato would dip in himself. While it has its own popularity, this method is also believed to be dangerous as well. There's a risk of hypothermia, a shock that could lead to sudden death, but by being more cautious with things such as the water temperature and how we know our body's endurance, it will be bearable. Regardless of the danger, the popularity keeps on rising as swimming clubs like The Outdoor Swimming Society's membership grew by 36% in 2020 while the pandemic is going on. The popularity rose since the benefits are not only shown on the physical side, but also the mental side. It boosts dopamine levels and increases mindfulness, endorphins released, as well as reduces symptoms of anxiety by overcoming the fear of jumping into cold water and building mental resilience, which would be helpful to boost self-esteem and confidence.

As not many people would be brave enough to jump into a polluted lake or sea, being under a cold shower can be a start to implementing this method in daily life. Having a support system who would do the same thing as you do would be a helpful tip to start. For day one, maybe you can try being under the cold shower for a minute, then gradually increase the time as needed. To implement this method, it requires not only physical strength but discipline as well.

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