Life Area: Physical | Topic: Health
How Your Shower Can Boost Your Immune System and Reduce Inflammation
I look forward to the day when I can install a cold-plunge in my backyard or patio to reap the benefits espoused by Wim Hof.
Perhaps you’ve heard or seen Wim circulating the podcast and YouTube world. Wim, known as the Ice Man, has done extensive training that enables him to control his breathing, heart rate, and blood circulation and to withstand extreme temperatures.
His Wim Hof Method is built on three pillars, which are breathing, cold therapy and commitment. Combined, these three pillars form a powerful method that is capable of changing your life. The Wim Hof Method is even know to relieve symptoms of several diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, sarcoidosis, vasculitis, and several autoimmune diseases.
Researchers believe that this process is related to an increased metabolic rate which stimulates the immune response.
So, until I can install that plunge, or get into a regular routine of cryotherapy, I end my showers with a 30-second blast of cold water. Medical experts believe that ending your shower with a 30-second blast of cold water can reduce inflamed skin and leave your hair glossy and smooth. And, I am unsure where I picked it up but somewhere I was told that having the cold water strike the base of your neck between your shoulders has an added benefit.
When cold water hits your body it starts to constrict the circulation of blood in the first few layers of your skin. This causes blood in your deeper tissues to circulate at a faster rate, in order to maintain your core body temperature, and gives the skin a visibly ‘tighter’ appearance, Healthline reported. This increased circulation not only boosts your immune system, but also reduces inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea, acne and eczema. On the other side of the spectrum, hot water strips your skin’s natural sebum, or oily outer layer, exposing you to dryness, puffiness and inflammation.
Many experts agree that plunging your body into cooler temperatures is good for the skin and that the most common health benefit from cryotherapy – which involves temperatures below -200 degrees Fahrenheit – is the reduction of inflammation, increase in blood flow to the vital organs, anti-aging factor and muscle recovery.
This is also replicated by those who have tried the Wim Hof Method, which involves regularly dunking your body into an ice bath for minutes at a time.
Having a cold shower at night has the added benefit of cooling your core body temperature so you can fall asleep easier.
Additional benefits of cold showers?
Reduces stress: Regularly taking cold showers imposes a small amount of stress on your body, which leads to a process called hardening. This means that your nervous system gradually gets used to handling moderate levels of stress. The hardening process helps you to keep a cool head.
Higher levels of alertness: Cold showers wake your body up which gives you a higher levels of alertness to take on the day. The cold also stimulates you to take deeper breaths, decreasing the level of CO2 throughout the body, helping you concentrate.
A better immune system: A cold shower increases the amount of white blood cells in your body. These blood cells protect your body against diseases. Researchers believe that this process is related to an increased metabolic rate which stimulates the immune response.
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