I've read some paleo blogposts where the writer talked about cold water therapy. What is it, why should I do it, and how do I do it?
It is a technique to increase recovery, decrease post workout soreness and according to Robb Wolf, increase insulin sensitivity. The alpinist and trainer Mark Twight whose very CrossFit-like training facility Gym Jones was made famous with its remarkable physique transformations of the cast of the movie 300, is a proponent of this technique. From Mark Twight's book Extreme Alpinism:
Invented by the French and used by virtually every elite athlete on the planet, it is often confused with some kind of torture. Right after working out, hop into the shower. First, cook yourself for no longer than 5 minutes in hot water, relax, get those blood vessels well dilated. Then slowly add cold water to the mix until it's so cold you can't stand it. Endure it. Focus the water on the back of your head and the muscles you just worked. Feel the blood vessels constrict. Stay under it for as long as it takes to really cool off - 2 to 3 minutes. The time it takes to cool down will increase as you adapt, and the temperature for cooling will decrease. Then, switch the hot water back on. The blood vessels will dilate, and inrushing blood will flush the lactic acid out. Start the cooking process again. Repeat at least two cycles and finish on cold. This induces a tonic effect and you'll rebound, flushing again as your body warms up in your clothes.
Robb Wolf in addition to the link already provided by Tim, talks about ice baths briefly in his February 9 2010 podcast The Paleolithic Solution - Episode 14. He states that they dramatically improve insulin sensitivity but doesn't really elucidate the mechanism for how they do so.
As you probably are already aware, paleo blogger Richard Nikoley is also fond of cold water exposure and blogs about using a 40 degree F cold dip at his gym after workouts and losing 5 pounds in a day. I think he was exposed to this idea by Art DeVany through his Evolutionary Fitness (EvFit) model.
Mark Sisson, author of the Primal Blueprint, wrote an extensive post on Cold Water Therapy as did Stephan Guyenet, Ph.D of Whole Health Source under the topic of hormesis. I recommend reading both posts but especially Mark's since he does quite an extensive review of all the possible benefits.
if i remember correctly, professor de vany likes to elicit a shivering response via rinsing his legs in the shower with cold water or going on a motorcycle ride on a cold day without a jacket. he talks about brown fat and how it produces heat, and the way to get it is to periodically expose yourself to cold. he feels that surfers have a lot of brown fat. he says other stuff- but i forget :( please don't hurt my reputation point score.
Cold water has been used therapeutically by many cultures, including Shinto samurai, traditional Chinese medicine, northern Europeans, and the Romans. The reputed medical benefits of cold water showers include boosting the immune system, reducing pain, improving circulation in the legs, and increasing the body's tolerance to stress ( http://ownyourhealth.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/cold-showers-whats-the-evidence/ ). Cosmetically, cold water causes vasoconstriction in the skin, which temporarily tightens pores and reduces dark circles under the eyes. Modern "water circuits" are a type of hydrotherapy based on ancient Roman bathing traditions. A water circuit alternates bathing in hot and cold water. Here is a link which explains how you can do a water circuit at home: http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/get-fit-by-taking-a-bath-216625/
Once in a while, I will take a 5 minute cold water only shower after a fasted workout, maybe once a month. Makes me feel peppy all day long.
I usually shower with warm water but in the end, I use low-flow showerhead over my head. First I do itfor 10, 15 seconds with really hot one and then 5-10 with really cold one.
All good but I found out that I my ear started to hurt after a week of doing this ? Anyone felt similiar ? Can this rapid temperature shift effect the ears ?
try this link:
cold showers are the best after washing. take the plunge.
I always figure- what kind of warrior can you be if a little cold water makes you cry.
I have taken cold showers everyday for the past three months after reading the information from Todd Becker on www.gettingstronger.org and looking into the benefits. I was mostly keen because there was research on the benefits of cold therapy for depression and I have battled clinical depression for five years and any extra tools to add to my kit seemed worthwhile. I now prefer cold to hot (never expected that) and find I feel more energetic and lively as opposed to sleepy after showering. Plus there can't be any harm if it proves to increase brown fat in the body either! This is a reasonable introduction page http://gettingstronger.org/2010/03/cold-showers/ .
As for starting out you could just alternate between warm and cold burst in the shower - or do what I did and go straight with the cold. PS: Get under the shower head before turning on the icy blast, kind of saves the wasted water used as one hesitates and fights chickening out before they get it.
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