Motivational speakers convince thousands to take cold showers every year. Many articles speak to the mental health and physical benefits of cold showers. Studies even support how cold showers help participants feel more energetic and ward off severe illness symptoms.
But how cold is cold?
A highly experienced health coach told me to start taking cold showers to strengthen my muscles. I had heard similar comments since high school but always wondered how cold the showers needed to be. So, I asked.
The coach looked at me in wonderment. No one had ever asked her that question before. Nor did the coach have any idea what the answer was.
The coach admitted that all of her clients just started taking cold showers. No one had ever questioned it. She then suggested I just turn the knob all the way to cold and shower.
Water temperatures are very different in every location. The temperature of cold water in Phoenix is nowhere near Chicago’s temperature.
Calculating Cold Water
Groundwater is different from lake water. The location of the groundwater determines its temperature. Here is a formula for well water to determine the temperature of the water in your shower.
In wells that are 30-60 feet deep, the water temperature is 2-3° above the annual mean temperature of that location. Deeper wells are colder and more shallow wells warmer.
Where I live, the well water is 44°F (6.7°C). But, our area uses Lake Michigan water which is 33°F (0.5°C). Either way, no one in their right mind is going to take a cold shower with the lever turned all the way to the cold. Those who attempt it are playing games with hypothermia.
The Right Temperature
Selecting the correct temperature results in our bodies becoming more resistant to stress. We see an increase in endorphins that can help prevent many diseases. The mental benefits of hydrotherapy include reducing depression.
The cold water temperature used by those in the medical community is often 70°F (21°C).
This temperature increases metabolism, improves circulation, and fights common illnesses. I found many documents and studies giving testimony to these benefits. The better news is that you only need to take a cold shower 2-3 days a week for 2-5 minutes to gain the benefits.
I talked with several people who try to gain benefits from cold showers. Every one of them took showers that were colder than necessary. They described how they would shake and moan through the process, knowing the benefits would make the daily experience valuable to them.
While 70°F (21°C) feels very cold, it’s far better than the 33°F (0.5°C) water that some foolishly take because they never asked how cold is cold enough.
When we consider new experiences, crowds of people will push their plausible solutions on us with vigor. We saw this happen with the experimental COVID vaccinations. Many forgot that the drugs were experimental with no documented significant human outcomes prior to the rollout.
Regardless of the pressure from others, consider how cold your water is compared to theirs. If they live in Texas and are not making sure their water is at 70°F (21°C), they may be taking a warmer shower compared to the 33°F (0.5°C) shower a person in Chicago might experience.
Respect Our Differences
We all face different circumstances with different perspectives. No one understands what others face without a fully open conversation. Unfortunately, most people that pressure others to consider their solution rarely listen to learn if the other person’s circumstances match ours.
We need to respect the thinking process of others. We also need to give them the respect to make their own best decision. After all, it’s their life.
Each person has the right to take a warm or cold shower when given the opportunity.
So, if you’re game, try taking a 70°F (21°C) shower and see if you feel great about the results. But avoid accidentally taking a 33°F (0.5°C) shower, or you might think the cold shower recommendation is only for the insane.
By the way, as a gauge, if you stick your wrist in the shower and it feels very warm, but not too hot, it’s probably about 105°F (40°C).
Let me know how your cold shower goes.
Copyright © 2022 by CJ Powers