I was once told by one of my former hockey team’s trainers that the water temperature in your shower can have many health implications. He told us that using cold water in the shower opposed to warm or hot water is much better for you. I am someone who prefers to take long warm showers so I have often wondered if his theory is true. Are there correlations between your health and taking colder showers? Since I like my warm showers, I am naturally approaching this issue with a null hypothesis mindset against any possible benefits I may find.
First, I wanted to see if a cold shower could potentially impact your mental health. I found a study that shows a correlation between cold showers and depression. Part of the study’s hypothesis is that we, the modern day human, do not experience enough changes in our body temperature, which is resulting in insufficient brain function. The same study also states that the brain’s sympathetic nervous system becomes activated when the human body starts to experience a cold sensation, while noradrenaline is released in the brain due to a rise in beta-endorphin blood levels. Lastly, the study states that a cold shower could send an immense amount of electrical impulses to the brain through contact with the human body’s cold receptors located in our skin. Our brain is said to possibly feel anti-depressive effects after receiving a large number of electrical impulses.
Next, I want to focus on the cardiovascular effects. The heart is widely considered to be one of the most important muscles of the human body. I actually found a useful article from the same website that contained the previous study I viewed in regards to mental health correlation. Although, the article is actually based on hydrotherapy all together, it still contains quality information on the affects that cold water can have on your health. The article states that cold water will increased heart rate and metabolism. Obviously, an increase in metabolism is a positive. Although, I am not quite sure how to interpret an increase in heart simply by exposure to cold water. Yes, it’s true that an increase in heart rate helps you burn calories when working out. But, I’m assuming that you are just standing in the shower and not doing jumping jacks or any other calisthenics, I would think that this article is pertaining to an increase in resting heart rate. As we all know, an increase in resting heart rate can be a potential sign of a heart attack in the future. Just to back up my last statement, this article by Dr. LeWine, reassures that an increased heart rate can be dangerous to your overall health. Although, I still can’t fully rule out a positive correlation because I used common sense to suggest that the article was referring to an increase of resting heart rate.
Lastly, I want to look at the affects that cold showers had on our hair and skin. The reason I want to focus on a possible correlation with our hair and skin is cause the cold water is coming into direct contact with both during a shower. According to Lizette Borelli of medical daily, colder water will increase the tightness of your pores and cuticles. Increasing the tightness will help ensure that they don’t become filled with dirt. She also states that the same applies to the pores on your scalp. Borelli also referred to dermatologist, Jessica Krant, in her article. Krant stated in The Huffington Post that using cold water results in a higher rate of retention in regards to the natural oils our skin produces to maintain it’s healthy appearance.
In conclusion, I did find some correlations between human health and taking cold showers. I chose the three main topics because I thought that they would provide the sensible examples to any possible correlations. In regards to my three main topics, I definitely found some positives, while also finding a likely negative. This did not shock me though and I will remain taking warm showers.