I can almost hear what you're thinking, because I've heard it from my friends, when I tell them I take cold showers in the morning. You're probably thinking, "You do you, but don't even suggest I try it." Well I'm here to tell you, you might want to try it. (Talk to a doctor before trying this!)
Like most of my adventurous and/or crazy undertakings, this one gestated a while in my brain before it was born into action in my life.
The idea was first sparked when I read an article about a man whose chronic pain disappeared after a frantic swim in cold water.
As a person who experiences pain every day, I'm always looking for solutions to make my life a bit more bearable.
It was intriguing, but I was resistant to trying it. Like you, I thought, nope.
But then, like an idea whose time has come, a few weeks later, an intriguing video came up in my Facebook feed. In these videos (called Truth or Mare) a lady named Antonella either proves or disproves various life hacks. (Can I say bunks or debunks?)
I watched the video and thought, hmm. What if this could help me with my plethora of pain issues? A couple of years ago I suffered a cumulative knee injury at work (I worked retail) which triggered a recurrence of fibromyalgia (which had gone away for two years!) and every day since then has been an elaborate struggle with pain.
I've tried so many solutions; vitamins, exercise, rest, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and yet still my body aches, it's hard to sleep at night and when I wake up in the morning, it feels as though I haven't slept. What's the worst that could happen, I thought? Hold my beer, and all that.
Steeling my nerve, I committed to embark on this adventure.
And then, chickening out a little, I decided that first I would set a ground rule. I wouldn't wash my long hair because I wasn't about to spend twenty minutes under a frosty stream of water.
These would be quick, "wash the dirty parts and get the @#$% out" showers.
Well here's what happened.
Day One: "$%#@ That's cold. I'm dying."
It was AWFUL. Even though it was only five minutes, maybe, of shocking, I couldn't get that soap on and off of me fast enough.
But I did feel more energetic and focused that day. Maybe even a little less pain. Feeling brave (and wide awake) in the name of science, I braced myself for the next morning's torture, I mean shower.
Day Two: "@#$% That's cold, but weirdly, kind of refreshing. And now I'm so glad to get out."
Day two getting in was more difficult than Day One, because my body knew what to expect. But getting out, I had the same refreshed and energetic feeling I'd had the day before. And throughout the day, I felt a bit more energetic and focused than I usually did.
Day Three: "Whoo that's cold. $#@%&*^%! It's kind of nice, though?"
Definitely feel more energetic. Considering resuming my yoga practice.
Day Four: "Oh dear lord that's shocking. SHOCKING."
Am I starting to look forward to the refreshing boost these showers give me? Or is it the getting out, like the relief one feels when they stop banging their head against a wall?
I did have the energy to do a short session of yoga, which was a huge step forward.
Day Five: "Could this water be ice water? Is it getting colder every day?"
In the past, tiredness and pain kept me from doing yoga or any exercise regularly. After my second day of having the energy to practice yoga, I found myself thinking, "It's early days, but there might be something to these capillary-closing water sessions. (Don't call them showers.)
Day Six: "%$#@! was the water frozen in the pipe before it came out of the nozzle? &(%$#! that's cold!"
If it's excruciating in, it feels commensurately good to get out. The shower itself doesn't get any easier, but there's an actual rush that continues for a while after drying off. I'm now convinced it helps with the all-day fatigue that has kept me from exercising on the reg.
Day Seven: "*&@#$ That's cold. But it'll be over soon and I will feel so good."
That was the beginning of March, and I now look forward to the rush they give me. Hey kids, get high without drugs!
Truth time. Since I started this experiment, I've had out-of-town visitors and moved, and many days, couldn't make the time to do my yoga. But I haven't missed a cold shower. They are a better wake-up-call than my beloved coffee.
The original experiment was to last for thirty days. It's now been fifty-two, and I now can't imagine getting my day started without my shocking, really-cold-water-session.
Will you join me? *not in the same shower, but in this movement?