The first time I took a cold shower, I went into shock. I felt like I had been hit by a baseball bat and the wind was knocked out of me. I almost started hyperventilating. I remembered one thing. Breathe! I had to breathe in, breathe out, breathe… oh the heck with this I turned off the water. Was I really going to start taking a cold shower everyday?
Yes, I was determined.
My family has a history heart disease, and I need to do everything I can to get my blood pressure under check. Cold showers can sometimes help. I looked to cold showers not out of desperation but as a way to excel beyond my current boundaries. People have been able to endure cold for decades and it seems it was a lost art. I am inspired by Wim Hof and his excellent video series, of breathing, and pep talking that encouraged me to take the next step. Several months later and I may take two cold showers a day. The second shower usually involves ecstatic laughter because I am so happy the freezing cold doesn’t bother me anymore. The temperature of the shower for me ranges anywhere from 40 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Not exactly warm.
So how did I do it? Slowly and painfully under guidance of Wim Hoff’s course.
But Wim’s videos only covered so much. Everything I found on cold showers just told me how great they are but none of them went into details of how to get started. I will tell you the easiest way you can get started.
Day 1 -3 : Take A Normal Shower
Start the day by taking your normal hot water shower. Clean up, wash your hair and before you are ready to get out start breathing deeply. Breathe in. Breathe Out. Breathe in. Breathe out. When you are able to hold your breath for a few moments you are ready to give your system a shock. Breathe out when you switch to cold water. As soon as the water touches, your natural reaction will be to take a deep breath. This is good! Breathe in and out. Feel the water gently hit your back and trickle down to your feet. Feel as your body rapidly adjusts from hot to cold. If you start to shiver or get goosebumps turn off the water and dry off.
Continue doing the above technique for a few days. While slowly staying longer and longer under the cold shower. As your body adapts to normalcy from the extreme temperatures the cold can be exhilarating and relaxing.
Day 4-14: Exhale, Turn 90 degrees, Inhale
Do the same as day 1 to 3 but this time turn 90 degrees so your left side is now exposed to the cold shower. Again your body will immediately inhale. It is important you are able to maintain control of your breath to prevent hyperventilating. When your side adapts again exhale and turn 90 degrees so your front is facing the shower. This part is tricky as some of our most sensitive body parts are here such as our faces. Quickly plunge your face in the water. Remember to breathe in and out. When you are ready exhale and rotate 90 degrees. Now you are getting your right side exposed to the water as well. Once your right side has gotten used to the cold rotate 90 degrees one more time and turn off the water. Pay close attention to how your body feels when you turn off the water. Notice how the blood rapidly flows to the cold parts.
I will reiterate it is very important to stop the shower and warm up immediately if you start to shiver or get goosebumps.
Continue doing this for 2 weeks increasing your time ever so slowly. The shock from going to hot water to cold water is greatest when you first turn it off. In time you can adjust the temperature of your normal shower down. Once you are comfortable with this technique you can challenge yourself more by taking a monthly ice bath. The water from an ice bath will never go below 35 degrees even the coldest parts of the ocean do not drop below 28-35 degrees.
If you want to learn more about Wim Hof we have an excellent documentary over here, that covers his amazing feats.