Can Cold Showers Really Improve Your Health?

Thanks to Skillshare for supporting this episode, and this whole week, of SciShow. [♩INTRO] If you follow any productivity gurus, then you’ve probably heard how you need
to take cold showers in the morning. After all, not only can they wake you right
up, but you’re also promised a myriad of health
benefits and everybody loves a good healthy life hack. But whether these claims are actually true
is still kind of a gray area. Also, I have to say, as someone who grew up
in Florida and now lives in Montana, a cold shower is different depending on where
you live. So before you jump in that agonizingly cold
shower, let’s look at some research. One of the biggest problems with studying
cold showers is that… well, people really haven’t. Instead, most health claims are implied from
studies of cryotherapy using cold water or air to treat a condition or from things like people who repeatedly
go swimming in cold water. But cryotherapy is really carefully controlled, and those swimmers often stay in the water
for over an hour, so it’s hard to apply this to your quick
rinse before work. Still, that doesn’t mean there’s zero
evidence for cold showers, because there is. It’s just not very strong. Like, take the claim people make that those showers improve your immune system. In 2016, a study published in PLOS One wanted to see if taking a quick cold shower
in the morning would reduce the amount of sick days someone
took from work. For 30 straight days, more than 2300 subjects
took either a warm shower, or a warm shower that turned cold for 30,
60, or 90 seconds at the end. On average, subjects in all three of the cold
shower groups called into work 29% less than the warm shower group roughly the same as one less sick day per
month. But we don’t know why, since the research team didn’t measure any
biological markers. Many of the participants did say they felt
an increase in energy and continued taking the cold showers after
the experiment, but that’s not enough to close the case. It’s possible that their white blood cell
count increased like what’s been shown to happen with cold
water swimmers. But again, a 90-second rinse is a lot different
from an hour in the water. Many people also swear that cold showers can
boost mood. But the results there are maybe even weaker. A 2008 study in Medical Hypothesis gets referenced
a lot as evidence for cold showers as an antidepressant, but it’s not really all that convincing. They hypothesized that cold water would activate your sympathetic nervous system the system that does things like increase
your heart rate and stimulate the release of endorphins which
would elevate your mood. But it only had three data points, one of
which was the author of the paper, and none of them had symptoms that would diagnose
them with depression. Plus, the biological markers they expected
to change were never actually measured, so really we
don’t have any results to go off of. To be fair, the author did mention all that
in the paper. But alas, the blogosphere still holds onto
that antidepressant claim even though the article wasn’t that powerful. The thing here is, you can’t placebo a cold
shower: you know if you’re getting one. So it seems like cold showers get a lot more
credit than they deserve based on the evidence that exists. A short one probably won’t hurt you, but
hey, let’s do more research before we start making claims about reality
and our bodies. Seriously, if you’re looking for a research
project, this sounds like a good one to try out. Couldn’t be that expensive, it’s cold
water. So, even though cold showers might not be
the key to making you more productive, the CEO and co-founder of Skillshare, Michael
Karnjanaprakorn, is really productive and shares his systems
for productivity in his class Real Productivity: Create Your
Ideal Week. He provides a simple framework to prioritize and accomplish what’s important to you in
the immediate and in the long term. We’ll make sure to link to it in the description. All these week, we’ve been sharing Skillshare
classes we think SciShow viewers will appreciate, but even though the week is coming to an end, this offer from Skillshare is still available. Skillshare is offering SciShow viewers 2 free
months of unlimited access to their platform of over
20,000 classes. Click on the link in the description to sign
up, and let us know in the comments what classes
you take! We always love to learn new things. [♩OUTRO]

46 thoughts on “Can Cold Showers Really Improve Your Health?

  1. Wim Hof! Take a look at those studies, you’re so thorough and careful with the evidence, I’d love to see what you think!

  2. I just like the mental aspect. Start your day by doing something really shitty, then the rest of the day things are seem less shitty 🙂

  3. 90 second rinse your dirty asf atleast 10 min off lather rinse repeat if you trying to save water I guess but the overall time is 10 mins

  4. I dont care, iff I feel I'll, cold shower makes me feel better, just in general too, I take shower before bed it helps me sleep, I have cold shower sometimes to wake me up too.. Just remember to start off warm to hot and then finish cold, also that you are not stepping back into a cold environment for too long..

  5. Stop lying and deceiving the people. There’s enough research that you can find out there, but you’re rather lazy than diligent. I am taking a cold shower every morning and my overal health is significantly improved. I must say it’s a most radical part of my day but it helps me in many ways.

  6. Acknowledging that anecdotal testimony/evidence is insufficient, nevertheless, please allow me to offer personal experimental results. I have done ice cold showers consistently twice a day for a minimum of two minutes and up to five minutes. Results: huge morale/mood boost, higher energy level, easier to sleep, improved tolerance for cold this and last winter (used to be afraid to walk outside with only one layer on), faster muscle/joint recovery from working out, faster healing from muscle/joint strains, and improvement in tolerance during a summer heat wave.

    Also, this and last winter, chronic dry skin irritation and cuts went away. Skin feels much better. Weight control improved (somewhat lower swings up and down), improved willpower with regard to eating, assists core energy level when continuing to fast.

    Concerning colds/flu/viruses: Since that time sinuses become easier to clear (but I also do a lot of breath work), and it took about nine months without any cold/flu/virus. I did get a stomach virus, an upper respiratory cold, and now a head cold. But other than natural home remedies, I managed them with better confidence and absolutely NO drugs. Missed only one sick day from work.

    Better and more diverse and functional-strength physical training, big, improvement in yoga poses (particularly seated posture), improved posture which helped wash out chronic occiput region head aches.

    Consistency, integration into purposive mindset, and habits that jettison one out of the comfort zone and intangible factors but nonetheless real.

  7. As someone who occasionally takes a cold shower (not by choice, but rather by concession), the boost in mood is most likely due to the relief of it being over. Cold water is very unpleasant.

  8. Im taking cold shower for 2 months now, everyday after i start warm, i turn off the hot water and shower in only cold water for a couple of minutes (i live in holland and i think the cold water here is 7 degrees celsius), and i swear after a couple of weeks you get used to it and the water does not even feel cold anymore. I think its the same as when your body gets really hurt and releases all the endorfines and stuff so it doesnt really hurt atm. It feels like that.

  9. What a scam ! You basically made a movie about the fact that you know nothing about the benefits or harms of cold showers. What about making a movie about your experience in 30 days of having cold showers, or doing the damn research yourself and provide some value to people here on Youtube instead of bla bla bla, i need to monetize my BS! Shame, the world is getting packed with losers and scammers!

  10. I am just one person but .. before cold shovers I was ill regularly for years. After Ive started taking them I was not ill in three years even if everybody around me was. I didnt knew that cold showers will improve my immunity so much. Ive stared from totally different reasons, but this is probably best on it. Its like superpower.

  11. From being ill about every three months to not being ill at all in years after I started cold showers. Its like some stupid commercial bit this one is real. Btw I didnt do it because of immunity system. It was just side effect.

  12. I just took a ice cold shower. It was awful at first but you get used to the cold water fast and my body felt really good afterwards

  13. When he said you can’t placebo cold showers because you know you’re getting them. 🤣😂 I took one yesterday and it gets real real quick.

  14. Lol could be a good idea to not be a scardy cat and just start doing it. Instead of waiting until it IS proven (which could take years) you science cult worshipers are hilarious… just trust the placebo affect ❤️

  15. I once took a cold shower in Amsterdam. I can do that challenge again for 5000€ completely cold (It was freezinggg)

  16. I sorta have cold showers, I’ll shower using hot water then I switch to really cold water, this isn’t for morning since I take the longest showers at night and I never have time-No, it’s not because I believe in some health benefit, It’s because I like feeling a bit chilly when I get out of the shower because a slight cold feeling is nice to me and helps me not feel like I’m slowly but surely boiling in my thicc towel and bed.My reasons are dumb.

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