The Cold Is An Absolute Doorway To The Soul
It all began January 17th 2016 when I first consciously chose to have a cold shower due to the overwhelming information and health benefits I had come across in my continual learning and optimisation for human performance. The simple fact that it is something everyone does everyday and wouldn’t cost me anything extra in time or money in return for massive health benefits that I now reap.
Minimal effort with maximum returns!
My grandma has always preached to my brothers and I how she takes a cold shower everyday for the last 10 or so years, with us laughing it off as crazy nan. My grandpa use to take her to doctors appointments and brag about how she hadn’t caught a cold in years. I never really took much notice of the potential health benefits until I stumbled across Wim Hof aka The Iceman. My curiosity and interest peaked significantly after watching the VICE documentary about him on youtube. I was so motivated by him and his story that I immediately downloaded the Wim Hof Innerfire app and began implementing his practices daily.
Start out small
The key to making this or any habit lasting, is to start out small and consistent. If you go straight to cold too hard and fast without the right mental preparation, you will simply throw in the towel. Begin with having your normal warm shower as usual, at the end slowly turn the hot half off, step out of the water and begin the Wim style breathing before immersing yourself back in. Gradually over months you can build up to where I am (14 months) where I do not need any mental prep or breathing exercises. I can comfortably immerse my entire body and head for a couple of minutes with ease. Again this took me months to build up to!
Track your progress
I started out the first few months tracking my progress using the Wim Hof app, which adopts the simple calendar “don’t break the chain” concept of marking the days you completed, allowing you to see the progress and encouraging you to stay on track. Tracking your habits is absolutely vital in getting them to truly stick. After a few months the habit had successfully formed and I no longer needed to track it.
On average a habit takes around 66 days to form, varying of course on the habit and person. So make sure you stick with it long enough.
Breathing & Incantations
Part of the Wim Hof method is his unique style of breathing used to saturate the body and lungs with oxygen. Using this technique initially, paired with incantations (empowering phrases to engage your physiology and emotions) like “Shit a brick” or “I.. am.. SPARTA!!” can help immensely with getting into the right mindset and eventually tricking the brain that this isn’t danger.
What’s the benefits of cold showers you ask?
- 1. The immune strengthening effects alone is enough for me to continue and promote cold showers. Since beginning my cold shower habit I have gone an entire year without getting sick let alone a single cold. In the past I would routinely get one or two throughout the year. Correlation or coincidence? I understand it is very difficult to claim cold showers alone was the causation of my strengthening immune system, as throughout the year I have been optimising my health in numerous other ways.
- 2. Helps with converting white fat into brown fat. When you take a cold shower, brown fat is activated, resulting in an increase in energy and calories burned to keep your body warm.
- 3. Shifts you into a Parasympathetic state. Very helpful with having showers in the evening to calm and relax the nervous system before sleep.
- 4. Morning cold showers increases alertness.
- 5. Builds massive willpower. Especially when you go through those winter months when all you want to do is stay in the warm forever.
- 6.Improves skin & hair health.
- 7. Natural and free testosterone booster.
- 8. Improved circulation.
- 9. Forces you into present moment awareness. Even if it is just for a minute or two, building toward a mindfulness state.
- 10. Increased HRV
…The list really goes on!
Having a strong WHY to why you are doing cold showers helps with those difficult days in the beginning. Make sure you keep it consistent and continue to challenge yourself. It is very much a test of mental strength and willpower.
Many of us have become soft. Going from a temperature controlled house, to a temperature controlled car, to a temperature controlled office and back again. We have not evolved to live like that. Reconnecting to the outside environment is imperative for optimal health and if you continue to disregard that on a daily basis, mother nature has something in store for you.
Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.
Article written by:
Holistic Health Coach | Founder barkleyeyewear.com | Co-founder liveholistically.com.au