Well, some researches say we may be forfeiting ourselves of immune boosts whenever we prefer warm baths to cold ones. I admit that I'm among those who can't stand freezing water during cold days, especially early in the morning or in the evening. I must boil water. But I remedy this--after completing my (a bit of a) warm bath, I pour 4 to 5 dippers of cold water on me to conclude it. That gives me a bit of an immune boost. But then, that's no substitute for a cold bath.
Here are the health benefits of cold showers or baths, according to The Hacked Mind site (by Mans Denton):
- Better Blood Circulation - blood automatically flows more to your body organs to keep them warm when you feel cold. So, that triggers blood circulation. Warm water makes most of your blood stay on the skin areas.
- Better Mood - cold baths or showers trigger noradrenaline in the brain which is responsible for getting better moods.
- Better Immune Health - experts say you get higher levels of white blood cells (necessary for fighting infections), T-cells, plasma, and lymphocytes.
- Better Testosterone Levels - you need high testosterone levels to develop height and muscles during puberty stage and maintain bone and muscle strength during adulthood. Add to that, better sex life and increased sperm count for the testes [LiveStrong.Com].
- Increased Metabolic Rate - yup, cold showers increase your metabolism and that helps you lose weight more. When your body feels cold, your metabolism adjusts body temperature regulation and that involves lots of calorie burning. So, weight loss enthusiasts, what are you waiting for?
Watch what an experiment on immune boost through cold baths has to say, published at the NCBI site: "This paper hypothesizes that brief cold-water stress repeated daily over many months could enhance anti-tumor immunity and improve survival rate of a non-lymphoid cancer." However, the study also warns that, though cold hydrotherapy can alleviate physical pain, cold baths may trigger heart palpitations or arrhythmia in heart patients and cold immersions may cause pulmonary edema. Moreover, cold baths may "increase permeability of the blood-brain barrier, thereby increasing mortality of neurovirulent infections."
Thus, now and then I get a bit more adventurous and brave a cold bath--but with precautions--with a ready thick towel and jacket on standby, plus a hot cup of water, just in case. Chilling can disrupt your breathing that sometimes causes pain in the chest area, making you think you're about to have an attack. But concentrate and make yourself breathe normally (a bit slow) and deep, so there's enough oxygen in the body and brain. It's healthy for the lungs, anyway--the deep breathing.
And once a thick towel and jacket is wrapped round your body, everything goes back to normal in no time.
Ice bucket challenge? Not necessary and not recommended. Just take a cold shower in your bathroom.