The Internet is full of miscellaneous tales regarding the health effects of cold water baths. When the topic is broached, all sides have their own benefits and harms to share.
You’ve probably heard a few of your own. The rumor that cold water baths speed up the recovery of bruises but heighten the chances of catching a cold are all but too common. You’ve also most likely heard that long and frequent cold baths can help burn calories, along with improving your blood circulation.
Are these all true, you ask? Some of them are indeed supported by science. The others? Well, not entirely so. While some bear some form of truth, others are quite fallacious. Of course, we only want to talk about the ones which are correct. So, without further ado, here are some of the advantages baths in cold water can have on your health.
1. Cold Water Baths Are Beneficial For Skincare
Yes, there is actual scientific evidence to support this.
When we immerse our bodies inside cold water, the blood vessels running through our skin constrict. This is our body’s natural attempt to reduce the loss of heat from within our bodies.
The constriction of blood vessels causes our skin to tighten. This, in turn, temporarily decreases the size of the pores on your skin. As a result, less dirt and oil find their way into the pores. In the long run, this can prevent breakouts of acne and blemishes. An impressive skincare routine, to say the least.
2. They Boost Immunity
Alright, so let’s clear up some of the confusion. According to some experts, you should avoid cold baths if you have the flu or are down with the common cold. Such illnesses can indeed be worsened if you were to place yourself in a bathtub full of icy water.
However, this does not necessarily mean that taking a cold bath in other cases is detrimental to your health. It is generally agreed amongst medical professionals that taking regular baths in cold water can improve your overall health.
When our body is exposed to cold water, our blood vessels begin to transport blood at a more proficient rate. This increases the amount of blood flowing through our vital organs such as our heart. The result is a decrease in our body’s overall blood pressure, a reduction in the likelihood of clogged arteries, and a better immune system.
3. Improve Hair
Along with your skin, cold water baths can help maintain your hair. When our strands of hair are soaked with water, their follicles flatten out. This can strength their grip on the scalp, making hair fall less of an issue. Regular cold baths can also produce a shinier look to our hair.
4. Cold Baths Waken Us
This one probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many of you.
We’re all too familiar with that one petrifying moment where we rolled out of bed, and forgot to check the temperature before turning on the showerhead, only to be assaulted with a jet of cold water. As a result, we were unwillingly startled awake.
The fact is that cold water baths do the opposite of warm baths. While a warm bath gives us the chance to unwind and loosen up, a cold bath tends to make us more alert and sometimes even tenser.
The sudden exposure to cold water causes our brain to be shocked causing the amount of oxygen we take in to rapidly increase. This boost in oxygen in turn leads to an increase in our respiration rate, providing us with more energy for the day.
This is exactly why scientists say that before going to school or to work, we should douse ourselves with cold water in the shower to help keep us active during the day.
5. Reduces The Aching Of Muscles
After returning from an intense workout, you’ll probably find yourself suffering from delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS). In which case, taking a cold bath wouldn’t be a bad idea. Immersing yourself in water of 10 to 15 degrees Celsius is a sure way to relieve yourself of muscle soreness. Studies find that the best amount of time to spend in the bathtub is about 20 minutes for optimum results.
Of course, the idea of using a cold bath to cure muscle soreness isn’t new. Athletes have been using ice baths for years now to help deal with acnes and cramps caused due to their strenuous training.
6. Cold Baths Help Us Reduce Weight
To better understand just how a cold bath can help us slim down, you have to first understand the two types of fat present within our body.
First, there is brown fat. Brown fat can be considered the “healthier” fat, the one which is important to our body. Brown fat is what keeps our body heated. The second type is white fat, which is a product of excessive calories being consumed. White fat contributes more to our weight than brown fat.
In order to replace the unwanted white fat with brown fat, a regular cold bath is advised. Cold water triggers the buildup of brown fat, causing us to face a drop in our weight.
7. Cold Baths Can Cheer You Up
Above, we discussed how cold baths can shock our body. One side effect of this shock is heightened alertness. Another is an antidepressant effect.
The shock experienced by our body causes large amounts of electrical impulses to be generated within our nerves. This may not sound impressive, but it can battle feelings of depression and improve your mood.
So, next time you are feeling down, take a cold bath.
By now, it is hopefully been made clear to you that cold water baths can indeed be good for your health. That is not to say that you won’t be preferring a nice, lukewarm bath from time to time. In that case, you may consider buying a water heater for your bathroom.