(Sat Nam Fest note: Yes, there is hot water at Sat Nam Fest! However, we welcome you to experience the technology of cold showers during your immersion into Kundalini yoga and chanting with us. Learn more below!)
Better than caffeine and more affordable than hired hydrotherapy, a simple cold shower can boost your health immensely.
What are the benefits? Here is a short list, though in truth the list is much longer . . .
– Increased Immunity. There are even scientific studies that backs this up! The metabolism speeds up, activating the immune system, which increases the white blood cell count.
– Increased circulation. The capillaries are opened and flushed, and deposits are flushed out during this time. The organs are flushed by this process. And, the whole blood chemistry is balanced.
– Youthfulness. The glands are stimulated for healthy secretion once the organs are flushed. The glands are the guardians of your health, and of your youthfulness.
– The nervous system is strengthened and reset. The parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems are balanced, so you feel energized yet calm.
– Inner Bliss. Endorphins are released. A study has suggested that cold showers, if used regularly, might be more effective than prescription anti-depressants.
– Other benefits: As a result of the above, cold showers can also lend themselves to healthier skin, potential weight loss, increased fertility for men (as studies have proven), and improvement in lymphatic system.
While I’ve found any amount of a cold shower can help, here’s the “official” version of it, as suggested by Yogi Bhajan. You might want to wear loose cotton shorts to buffer the thighs.
1) Use a dry body brush to brush your skin. (If you don’t have a dry brush, you can use a dry sponge or wash cloth to exfoliate your skin).
2) Massage the body in almond oil all over. (Other oils also work, go for organic.)
3) Turn on the shower – start with the extremities first, massaging them as you put them in the water.
4) Stay in for at least 3 minutes. If you holler, just chant, “Wahe Guru!” (Wow, oh my God! I mean, Wow, the Bliss of God!) Massage the body all over – keep moving! Using one foot to massage the other foot and calve, and then switch. Women – massage your breasts! This is powerful prevention.
5) Once you get out, dry yourself off briskly, then wrap yourself in a warm blanket or a big towel if you need to warm up.
If you are a woman on your cycle, take a luke-warm shower instead. If you are pregnant, limit it to 3 minutes total and then shift to luke warm or body temperature water after the 7th month. Hold off on the cold if you have a fever, rheumatism, or heart disease. If you have high blood pressure, come into the cold gradually.
If you normally have cold hands and feet, this is a sure sign that your circulation could use a boost. I’ve heard numerous reports, especially from women, that such cold extremities were cured with cold showers.
There is a whole science and tradition behind the hydrotherapy of cold showers, it is called Ishnaan. You can impart certain effects by where the water hits your body for certain durations.
In my world, a brief 5 minute shower does wonders to wake me up and help me feel clear-headed and capable. It took me a while to be convinced, but now I look forward to a cold shower as a gift for healthful balance. Try it and find out for yourself!