21 Health Benefits of a Cold Shower

Alexa Fleckenstein, M.D., author of Health2O, has a few things to say about cold showers. Within the book, she writes:

“Cold water can do more than just wash away sweat, dirt, old skin cells, bacteria, and viruses:

What a Cold Shower Can Do For You

  1. Enhance immunity against infections and cancer
  2. Give your glands (thyroid, adrenals, ovaries/testes) a boost, improving hormonal activity
  3. Jump-start your mood and motivation
  4. Crank up your metabolism to fight type 2 diabetes, obesity, gout, rheumatic diseases, depression, and more
  5. Normalize your blood pressure
  6. Decrease chronic pain
  7. Train and improve your blood circulation
  8. Detoxify your body
  9. Fight fatigue
  10. Strengthen exhausted, irritable nerves
  11. Rejuvenate, heal, and tone the skin
  12. Deepen your breathing
  13. Help with insomnia
  14. Improve kidney function
  15. Reduce swelling and edema
  16. Improve lymphatic circulation, thereby increasing immune function
  17. Reduce stress by regulating your autonomic nervous system
  18. Regulate temperature, fighting chronically cold hands and cold feet and excessive sweating
  19. Keep your hair healthy
  20. Improve hemorrhoids and varicose veins
  21. Reduce aches and pains”

Just thought you’d like to know. :)

77 thoughts on “21 Health Benefits of a Cold Shower

  1. I’m already a pretty awake guy from day to day but not always in the morning when I wake up. I should try this in the morning.

  2. OK, just an update. Since my last post I have been taking 2 cold showers a day. The most painful part is the very beginning, it’s like jumping into a cold lake or pool. But eventually I get used to it and it isn’t so bad, you just have to keep in mind that you are going to shiver which is a good thing because that gets your metabolism going and your blood pumping. It’s like a early morning exercise to wake you up. I used to take abnormally hot showers and didn’t realize it until I thought about it recently when I found out about this cold shower thing. And the result was bad, dry, flaky skin. But after just about one week of taking cold showers twice a day not only do I feel a lot better, but my skin looks way better. It is now even and toned, and much smoother looking. I have way more energy and it seems my ability to focus has gone up. I think that is because I feel great now for many reasons. I highly recommend this. Plus I heard that they put stuff like Fluoride and/or chlorine in the water which I would think goes into your body through your open pours and mouth because of steam created from the heat, that can’t be good for your health. But with cold water your pores close and there is no steam. Even though the initial shock is pretty hard to deal with pretty much every time I feel really good after every shower. The whole purpose should be to get in, get clean, and get your blood pumping(shiver.) It is the best thing I have done in my life as far as my looks go and maybe even my overall health, because after all like I said I would take abnormally hot showers. I can stand more heat than a lot of people. Just letting you all know that it truly does work and I highly recommend it. = )

  3. Umm, I couldn’t pay my gas bill. I haven’t had hot water in about two months now. It takes some getting used to. At first, I went to the gym, or over a friend’s house to use the shower, or even did the bird bath thing. I’m past all that. I just hop in and turn it on right on me. Trying to inch in is a huge mistake, it just makes it harder. One thing I have been able to do is use the electric grill to heat enough water to take a cold bath that’s not so ice cold I go into shock. It takes me about three hours to go this route since I have to heat up 5 gallons of water in a pot using one little heating coil….
    I have to say that even when I do pay the bill this month I’ll probably start doing this before I turn it hot, or maybe some days just do cold showers. It is invigorating.

  4. I tried cold(just cold) showers every morning before goint to work in the winter of 2000, it was the healthiest winter of my life! Not even a runny nose! I love the warmth you feel when you are done. I deeply regret stopping. I started again now, but since I haven’t done it in years, I started with lukewarm water in the begining, and finish it off with cold. Will keep taking those morning showers every day for the rest of my life. Best way to wake up in the morning.

  5. I just did it ! it was great ! Am happy i could do it :) i started gradually by getting one leg wet , then the other leg , then one arm and the other arm . then my whole body except for my shoulders which i couldnt put cold water on ! thats a pity . but am going to do it tomorrow . am going to do this every day . it feels great when u finish :) my skin turned red which means too much blood was flooded into my veins under my skin .

  6. I soak 10-20 minutes sometimes twice a day in 53 deg. F tub. It’s a 100 gal. horse watering tub I bought at Cal Ranch Store. I put my iPad 2 on a chair with my timer and music playlist on easylistening and go totally naked. The first 2 minutes it is very cold, but I don’t breathe hard I try to control it. I’m submerged up to my nose. At 5 minutes I start pouring water over my head and repeatedly over my face with eyes closed. The tub is in my garage next to the door and when I’m finished later in the day I drain it and just before I use it I fill it. I’ve done this for 4 months now and it is great. Often I go for a walk run directly after to get my blood going and to warm up. I don’t shiver any more, and feel very relaxed. I was electrocuted in the head when doing some electrical work and felt buzzed all the time, but now I feel 100% better and alive in every way. This is something I will do for ever. People who don’t like cold realize you adapt. It’s well worth it. Try it.

  7. Cold Shower Benefits
    In year 1997, I was thirty five years old and living in Australia. Suddenly I start feeling pain in my both knees. I visited a local general practitioner for its treatment. General practitioner checked my symptoms and gave me some medications; few tablets, capsules to take three times a day and one joint pain relief cream. As I started taking medication and rubbing cream on my knees I didn’t feel any relief and the pain was increasing day by day. The general practitioner, changed my medication and changed joint pain relief cream too; but I didn’t feel any relief and the pain was increasing day to day. I was even, unable to walk and GP refereed me to a specialist. The specialist performed many tests, gave me many tablets, capsules & joint pain creams but my symptoms were not improving and I was unable to walk & stopped to go to work. I was under too much worry and my treating doctors too because I was not old person & was young man. One day a specialist was discussing with me very deeply and asked me a question whether any moment; I feel a little bit relief, any time? I replied yes that once it happened a few weeks before when I was able to walk and I went to a beach with my friends.
    I was resting on my bed and was thinking about this question that really I felt some relief on that day, when I spent some time in the water on the beach on that day. I was puzzled that why I felt pain relief on that day even I do shower every day in my bathroom and my pain is going up every day. I was thinking again and again on this issue that what is the difference between taking shower in the bathroom and on the beach? Both they are waters! Suddenly I thought the difference is: the water is hot in the bathroom and the water is cold on the beach.
    Could be; hot water is not making this trouble? From that I decided to take shower in cold water instead hot water and within couple days my pains finished and I stop all medications and started walking normally. After a month just for checking; I start using hot water again: the pains came back again. From that day I never used hot water for shower and I never felt pains in my life up to today. I wrote this article because: if anyone can try this formula and get pain relief. I don’t think anyone get relief using cold water instead hot water but if one hindered persons try this formula and couple persons, getting relief then it would be great if someone goes off medications and can save in gas bill too. For more information, please contact me: inder7@live.com
    With thanks
    Inderjit S Gill

  8. I have been taking cold showers for the past 2 weeks. I had been doing a remodel on my home and was working with a lot of insulation. My friend told me to take a cold shower because it will close your pores and the insulation will just run off of your body and you won’t itch afterwards. I did it and it worked. In fact I really quite enjoyed the cold shower once I got past the initial shock. I felt so good after the shower and loved how good I felt so I went on a research hunt to see what benefits a cold shower would give me. Wow! I love cold showers and will never go back to warm showers. I love how warm I feel once I get out. My showers are even getting longer as I am getting more used to taking cold showers. I would highly recommend them. My skins feels a lot better, I have way more energy and I am sleeping more restfully at night. I also used to hate jumping into cold lakes. Not any more. Cold showers are such a blessing!

  9. I like taking cold showers right before bed. It seems like when I get out, then get under those warm covers, I sleep sooooo much better!

  10. “Wet Shavers” (straight razor/safety razors) have known this for a long time. The first thing we do for our face after a straight razor shave is use as cold water as you can get, it closes micro nicks/cuts. So it will do the same for the rest of you skin.

  11. Do you all think it will be okay to start newly born baby with slightly cold water? I was raised with cold water in Nigeria, W.Africa in the 80s.

  12. Cold showers, I am 61 years old, have all, well a head of hair . Up to 56 or so it was thick, my hair dresser says it is still thick for a person of my age !! reason most likely I never use hot or warm water or mess with it. Skin soft and my hands and feet are soft, again I think this is due to only using cold water including shaving. I run 7 miles most days and to make it interesting I still wear light assault order or loaded ruc-sac . This all seems big headed, but doctors told me some years ago ” you have back pain because you have stopped doing all the physical stuff you done in the service, so start that again “. So I did result 5 or 6 years pain free, no pain killers ! I also noted on the internet a place called 21 reasons to take cold showers which backed up what I had learnt from a Buddhist practice I carry out . So perhaps I am lucky in health…….. or maybe its the cold showers…. ps I rarely feel cold and most days just have a tea shirt on . If you do decide to start cold showers do look up how to start them and check you health, not every one can just step into them first time, as they are not physically or mentally prepared. Best of luck !

  13. Hello and thank you for this article.
    I am a 44 yo healthy male and I started doing cold showers every day three weeks ago with great success and immediate well-being effects. I first do a regular lukewarm shower and then turn to completely cold water. In my household, temperature of cold water is 18 C, so not quite a swim in a frozen lake. I started with 1 minute of cold water in the end and extended by minute every week.
    Last week, however, I began noticing that the feeling of energy and well-being waned off and did not appear anymore after cold showers. Instead, I began feeling down and drowsy afterwards, with hands and feet feeling cold for hours. Also my intolerance of outside cold seems to have increased. Although I have developed resistance to cold shower, it just doesn’t feel right anymore. What could be the reason for this sudden change? Thank you in advance for your opinions.

  14. Sorry for the delayed reply. I’m not a doctor but in Dr. Alexa Fleckenstein’s book, Health20, she suggests that in order to get the benefits of cold water, it doesn’t need to be super cold, and it doesn’t need to be a long exposure. I think she said even a 30 second blast at the end of a regular shower will have benefits. I would just listen to your body and do what feels best.

  15. Hello and thanks for your reply. Here is my update: the symptoms I had described were merely a phase in habituation and have disappeared in the meantime. Moreover, after two months I suddenly felt I wanted more (me wanting more challenge or my body wanting more stimulation – or both) and switched to fully cold showers, thus eliminating warm or hot water completely. After two weeks of doing so, I can say that I would never go back to anything warmer than fully cold. The only caution is to do it gradually, leg by leg and arm by arm, over the course of 10 to 15 seconds.

  16. Am I the only unlucky dude whose body has rejected the cold showers?
    I began 6 months ago with full cold showers and gradually prolonged them to comfortable 3 minutes. Although I would always feel great and invigorated, I noticed that 30 minutes afterwards chills and cold hands and feet wold set in and I would warm up only inthe afternoon. Autumn came and I found myself very intolerant even of mild cold, so I decided to start with warm water and end with usual 3 minutes of cold but that did not ward off the uncomfortable cold sensations. Finally, on the first winter day I caught a heavy cold, so I had to suspend cold showers completely. After 5 days of inly warm showers, my hands and feet are warm again and I am not nervous out in the cold anymore. Chills are also gone.
    I would like to continue with cold showers but at this point I don’t know if they are really for me. I am 44 yo healthy male 188cm / 80 kg, a bit thin constitution.
    Do you have any advice for me?

  17. I have one question. I started taking cold showers 2 months ago. The effects, both physical and especially mental, were extraordinary. I really love them. Full cold water, for about 2-3 minutes daily. Great energy, mood boost, sense of wellbeing afterwards, sometimes for the whole day. One of the best things I discovered and practiced in a long time. However, after these 2 months I developed pains in my lower back sides. Initially I thought it was some kidney problems, however it turns out it’s not. Might be some rheumatic pain, or I don’t know. Thing is, everybody is telling me to stop the cold showers as they are not good and they probably are the source of the pain. Even the general practicioner told me so. I am though so unwilling to stop this, as it has helped me so Much. But I myself think cold showers could be the source of the pain (quite persistent and sometimes intense), as I can’t find any other. Can anyone help me with this? I read here that cold showers can actually help with rheumatic pain. So I am sort of at a loss…

  18. IVE BEEN TAKING COLD SHOWERS FOR ABOUT 10 YEARS NOW. I HAVENT BEEN SICK IN THE WINTER NOT ONE YEAR SINCE I STARTED AND I LIVE IN BOSTON. MY TOLERENCE FOR THE COLD WEATHER HAS ALSO INCREASED IMMENSLY. MY NEIGHBORS THINK IM NUTS BECAUSE I SHOVEL IN A SKULL CAP, SHORTS, A T-SHIRT, VEST, GLOVES AND FIRE BOOTS LOL. I NEVER SEEM TO FEEL DROUSY OR OUT OF ENERGY AFTER A COLD SHOWER, WHICH IS THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE WHEN I WAS TAKING WARM/HOT SHOWERS. IM A BIG GUY 37 YEARS OLD BUT MY BLOOD PRESSURE IS NORMAL, MY SKIN LOOKS GREAT AND I HAVE THE HEAD OF HAIR OF A 22 YEAR OLD :) EVERYTIME I TRY TO TELL MY FRIENDS AND COWORKERS ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF A COLD SHOWER THEY LAUGH AND SAY IM NUTS. I UNDERSTAND THE INITIAL REACTION, EXPECIALLY IF THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS LETS SAY 30 DEGREES. WHEN YOU REALLY THINK ABOUT IT THO, THE COLD SHOWER HELPS YOUR RESISTANCE TO THE COLD. I WEAR SHORTS YEAR ROUND NOW. IF YOU DONT BELIEVE I RECOMMEND ANYBODY JUST TRY A COLD SHOWER ONCE IN THE WINTER VERSUS A HOT SHOWER. WHEN YOU GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM FROM A HOT SHOWER YOULL FEEL A CHILL ON YOUR BODY. WHEN YOU GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM FROM A COLD SHOWER, I GUARANTEE YOU WONT FEEL CHILLY. MY MIRROR DOESNT GET FOGGY, NOR DOES THE BATHROOM GET HOT AND MUGGY. MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE IN THE WINTER. YOULL FEEL LESS COLD AND NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT WEARING TONS OF LAYERS THAT WILL EVENTUALLY MAKE YOU SWEAT WHILE YOUR OUTSIDE. THEN YOULL REALLY BE COLD … JUST TRY, IT WONT KILL YOU !!!

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