I have been struggling with pain from a condition called medial epicondylitis (commonly referred to as golfer’s elbow) for over a year and a half. (This is a bit ironic since I dislike golf and never play.) I’ve tried many different remedies for the pain with little success, but last fall I started taking ice cold showers in the hope that they might help.
Sadly, the cold showers have had a negligible effect on my elbows, but I have found them to have other worthwhile benefits and have continued to take them each morning. The greatest benefit so far for me is that I have not gotten sick since I began taking them. Not even a cold or a sniffle. Now I realize this could just be coincidence, but I used to get congested and have trouble with coughing every winter for as long as I can remember. This winter I have been fit as a fiddle – even as all other members of my immediate family have gotten very sick and missed school.
I have also found that cold showers help a lot with dry, itchy skin, which is nice because I hate putting on lotion in the winter. They also help with muscle soreness from exercise, and they give me a boost of positive energy in the morning.
Obviously, the only significant downside is the dealbreaker for most people – tolerating the discomfort of the ice cold water, particularly in the winter. The cold doesn’t bother me very much anymore, but when I first started it was not easy! I discovered that the best way to start is to begin with very hot water – hotter than you would normally take. Then when the hot water begins to feel uncomfortable, I turn the nozzle all the way to maximum cold. At first, I used to set a timer to make sure I stayed in the cold water for at least two minutes, but now that I’m accustomed to the cold I stay in as long as I feel like it – usually three to four minutes.
For the last month or so, I have been doing my best to spread the gospel of the cold shower to anyone who is willing to listen, (actually those who know me are very tired of hearing about this topic and are likely rolling their eyes at this post), but so far I seem to have made few converts. Maybe this post will convince a person or two to give it a try!