WHY A COLD SHOWER IS HEALTHY, SUM­MER OR WIN­TER

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - Hindustan Times (Jaipur) - City - - Time Out - Ab­hi­nav Verma

Just the thought of a cold shower in the morn­ing can give most peo­ple goose­bumps, es­pe­cially when the tem­per­a­ture out­side starts drop­ping. But give it a try, and you’ll soon agree that bathing with cold wa­ter can do one a world of good. And it isn’t just our grand­par­ents’ gen­er­a­tion that swears by it, the an­cient Greeks and Scan­di­na­vians also did, just as our own Sad­hus and Yo­gis. Or, if you’ve read the fa­mous James Bond se­ries by Bri­tish au­thor Ian Flem­ing, you’d know that ev­ery time Bond took a shower, he’d start with hot wa­ter but fin­ish with cold — some­thing that’s also known as the James Bond Shower. So, as we slowly ap­proach the win­ter months, here’s find­ing out from ex­perts — Dr Mohsin Wali, car­di­ol­o­gist and a for­mer hon­orary physi­cian to the pres­i­dent of In­dia, and Dr Vi­nayak Ab­bot, natur­o­pathic — about why one must bathe with cold wa­ter.

Im­proved blood cir­cu­la­tion: Cold shower causes the blood to move to your or­gans to keep you warm, whereas a hot shower causes the blood to move to­wards the sur­face of the skin, re­vers­ing the ef­fect of a cold shower. Bathing with cold wa­ter also makes your ar­ter­ies stronger, clears blocked ar­ter­ies and low­ers blood pres­sure.

Health­ier hair and skin: Hot wa­ter is the rea­son why your scalp itches and skin is dry, and has rashes. Cold shower can tighten your cu­ti­cles and pores, pre­vent­ing them from get­ting clogged. It can also seal pores in the skin and scalp, stop­ping dirt from get­ting in. Also, cold shower makes your hair shiner and skin cleaner as it doesn’t strip the skin of its nat­u­ral oils.

Bet­ter im­mu­nity: Ac­cord­ing to stud­ies, those who pre­fer a cold bath have a high per­cent­age of white blood cells, and high meta­bolic rate. Rea­son: As the body tries to warm it­self up dur­ing a cold shower, it re­leases white blood cells while ac­ti­vat­ing the im­mune sys­tem.

Mus­cle recovery: The rea­son why ath­letes take a cold shower af­ter a game or a work­out is be­cause a cold shower helps re­lieve mus­cle sore­ness. It also helps in pre­vent­ing de­layed-on­set mus­cles sore­ness.

Height­ens alert­ness: The deep breath­ing that oc­curs as re­sponse to the cold wa­ter pour­ing over us — to keep us warm — in­creases our in­take of oxy­gen. Hence the phrase ‘A rush of blood to the head’. This gives us an en­ergy boost for the day, keep­ing us alert.

Com­bats de­pres­sion: Due to the im­mense im­pact on cold re­cep­tors on the skin dur­ing a cold shower, the body sends a huge num­ber of elec­tri­cal im­pulses from the nerve end­ings to the brain. This pro­duces anti-de­pres­sive ef­fect, boost­ing your mood. It has an anal­gesic af­fect.

Eases stress: A jump into cold wa­ter can in­crease your body’s tol­er­ance to stress. Your body’s pro­duc­tion of gluthathione — an an­tiox­i­dant that keeps other an­tiox­i­dants per­form­ing at their high­est lev­els — in­creases.

HOW TO GO ABOUT IT

If you aren’t used to cold show­ers, you need to first ac­cli­ma­tise your body. Start by slowly de­creas­ing the tem­per­a­ture of the wa­ter, and your tol­er­ance for cold shower will get bet­ter by the day.

IF YOU AREN’T USED TO BATHING WITH COLD WA­TER, YOU NEED TO FIRST AC­CLI­MA­TISE YOUR BODY

A WORD OF CAU­TION

Avoid a cold shower if you: - Have a heart dis­ease. - Suf­fer from high blood pres­sure. - Feel over­heated or fever­ish.

PHOTO: SHUT­TER­STOCK

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