My original intent with this blog was to encourage my self to pursue my hobbies. Contrary to what it would appear, I have kept up with them over the past couple years! But not to the extent I would like.
I first came across cold water therapy years ago in an old (published 1881) book called “The Rich Poor Man and Poor Rich Man” in which the sickly daughter was instructed to religiously bathe every morning in cold water as a means of strengthening her health, improving her moods and imparting energy. Now, I read this book repeatedly for the story line in my early teen years, but it drifted out of my conscious memory over the years.
Then, a few weeks ago my mom let me go through her books to pick out ones I would want before she began slimming down her own collection. I discovered the book and re-read it with amazement at how deeply I had ingested its ideology. And I was reminded of the supposed benefits of cold water bathing.
Naturally being a product of the generation raised with internet, I began to do some research into it. I honestly thought if I found anything, it would likely be debunking this Victorian myth. But what I found shocked me!
Not only is it apparently a current fad, it’s been proven to have the benefits touted so long ago! I began reading every article and blog I could find on the subject. This blog has a great deal of info and easy to access articles.
I’m not going to go into great detail on the studies proving the health benefits, I’m simply going to share the why and benefit of my own journey.
My interest being thoroughly quipped, I decided to try it out for myself. Now, like most people, I adore my hot shower. I can creat a fogged mirror on all but the hottest days of summer. But thinking about the possible benefits was a little heady. Silkier hair and skin? More energy? Improved immune health? Increasing mental toughness through routinely facing a physical challenge? Sign me up! I’ve been wanting shake my life up…I’ve been sinking deeper and deeper into a rut and loosing sight of what’s important.
So I did it. I read lots of different advice. some recommend starting warm and slowly going hot. This was no good. I couldn’t find the wherewithal to go cold after soaking in the sauna!
Start with Luke warm and shower by shower go colder? No good. For me, there is something particularly chilling about water just warm enough it doesn’t set your blood racing and heart pounding.
So I settled on the hard core method of using the water as cold as possible from the tap. Yeah, it’s stinking cold. It stings my skin for the first five minutes. It actually makes me head ache to rinse my hair. And I have lots of hair! It feels like I’m gonna hyper ventilate and die. But I learned some tricks. Jump right in. The longer you dawdle with one or two limbs under the arctic stream, the more freaked out you will make yourself. Focus on relaxing. Breath deeeeeeeply. Wait it out. After a few minutes it gets easier. And it feels so invigorating that you might find yourself grinning!
I’ve been doing this nearly everyday for two weeks now. And it’s amazing. My hair is shinnnnnny! My skin is getting softer. I’m sleeping better. And you know what? It really is changing how I face challenges at home and at work. It’s been playing a big role (along with a few other things I’ll save for a different blog post) in helping me re-prioritize my life. Suddenly things like laundry, which once were so daunting seem more manageable! (Laundry will be the subject of a future post)