Updated: Aug 16, 2022
The problem with free solutions that actually work is that the public rarely hears about them. Unless big pharma can turn it into a pill, and sell it to you for big bucks, there is nobody out promoting it. No Direct to Consumer TV adds, no glossy advertisements in your favorite magazine, no online pop ups, no endorsements on social media.
How will you ever learn about free therapies that actually work?
Unless people like me, write articles like this,
people like you
may never hear about some of these truly miraculous free solutions!
However, we certainly hear about the problems people suffer as big pharma tries to market solutions to people suffering with:
Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Low Immunity, Inflammation,
Chronic Pain, Migraines, Headaches, and Diabetes.
Chances are you, or one of your loved ones have one or more of these problems. And chances are, you have seen expensive advertising campaigns marketing expensive "solutions" to these problems.
This article is about a simple, free, quick
treatment you can do at home in 30 seconds.
For most people this treatment will at least improve the conditions listed above, and in some cases eliminate the need for any other treatment. Best of all, large medical studies prove it takes just 30 seconds a day to get big results.
Here is some background you need to understand.
This is important information, it will be worth the read.
Let's start with the autonomic nervous system. It is made up of the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions. When the sympathetic division is dominant you are prepared for Fight or Flight. You can hit hard or run fast. This is designed for a cave man running from a bear. Your blood is shunted away from your internal organs and into the large muscles, so you can hit hard or run fast. The blood goes away from the digestive organs, because digesting food is not what you need to do to escape a bear. Racing thoughts, and anxiety are all part of this, because you need to think fast to escape that bear. The healing mode of the body is shut down, because you need to save your life right now, you can heal later. Unfortunately, the stress of our modern society keeps most people in a constant sympathetic mode.
The parasympathetic division does the exact opposite. The racing thoughts and anxiety go away, the mental outlook improves, digestion improves as blood returns to the internal organs, and healing turns back on. Unfortunately people stay in the sympathetic Fight or Flight mode so much, the parasympathetic gets stuck in the off position. Is it any wonder people are doing poorly?
The vagus nerve is the largest parasympathetic nerve in the human body. The vagus nerve connects your brain to your heart, lungs, abdomen and digestive tract. As a parasympathetic nerve, it is the opposite of the "Fight or Flight" sympathetic nerves. The vagus nerve is responsible for promoting calmness, digestion and relaxation. It promotes immunity and decreases inflammation. It lowers heart rate and decreases blood pressure. The parasympathetic mode, that the vagus nerve turns on, is also known as the healing mode. Yes, the vagus nerve actually promotes healing.
Stimulating the vagus nerve helps shift you away from the Fight or Flight stress mode and into a healthier, healing mode. With parasympathetic vagus nerve stimulation people feel better on the emotional level and begin to heal physically.
Because vagus nerve stimulation is so beneficial, it is only natural that some big companies want to profit off peoples need for vagus nerve stimulation. So yes, there are expensive treatments you can buy to stimulate the vagus nerve. The FDA has approved an electrical device, which is implanted, similar to a pacemaker, that sends out periodic electrical pulses to stimulate the vagus nerve. Some people have nicknamed it the "pacemaker for the brain".
Cost? About $10,000 for the vagus nerve stimulation device itself and double to triple that cost by the time you get it implanted.
Is an implanted, electrical vagus nerve stimulator worth the high cost? Without a doubt, yes, when you consider the benefits. But is it worth the cost, when research shows you can stimulate your vagus nerve at home, for free in just 30 seconds?
No, free and at home is always better!
So what is the free vagal nerve stimulation you can do at home?
COLD WATER! Yes, COLD WATER!
Research tells us that acute cold conditions, such as taking a cold shower or splashing cold water on your face, stimulates the vagus nerve. Cold showers are tough at first, but they can greatly improve the function of your vagus nerve, thus toning up your parasympathetic mode. Cold water to the full body stimulates the vagus nerve, but the cold water that goes to the head and neck provides the strongest stimulation. JMIR Form Res in a 2018 publication documented the stimulation of the vagus nerve by cold water application, with greatest benefit from cold water to the side of the neck where the vagus nerve is at it's most superficial location, as it passes from the brain to the chest.
A cold shower may sound unpleasant, but in a large study of more than 3,000 people, 64% continued with the cold-water showers after the study was over, because of the benefits they were experiencing. You will probably feel the same way once you get started on cold showers.
DISCLAIMER: Consult with your Health Care Provider before implementing Cold Showers, or any other health practice.
The real question is:
What can cold showers do for you?
This is a little of what we know.
ACUTE INFECTIONS. Taking cold showers helps you avoid infections. Researchers have found that taking icy showers heightens your immune system by boosting your white blood cell count, thus making you more resistant to infections. PLoS One in 2016 published a clinical trial of over 3,000 people in the Netherlands. This high-level evidence showed that people who took cold showers for at least 30 seconds daily, at the end of their regular shower, for one month called in sick 29% less than the control group (and 54% less if they also engaged in regular physical exercise, but that's a different topic). In this study some people did the cold for 30 seconds, some 60 seconds and some 90 seconds. This study showed that 30 seconds is all you need to do to get this benefit. Although more studies are needed, the evidence we do have suggests we will find many other benefits when other infections are studied.
MENTAL HEALTH. Cold showers are beneficial for mental heath and depression. Lifestyle Medicine published a trial of 64 people in 2021 showing significant elevation and improvement of mood vs controls. Medical Hypotheses as far back as 2008 showed an anti-depressant effect from cold showers. A review in 2021 published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine reported cold water therapy was beneficial for mental health problems, especially depressive symptoms.
PTSD. Cold showers and ice baths, stimulate the vagus nerve and kicks it into action, which puts a brake on PTSD. The Wim Hof method, using cold showers and baths, has helped many people with PTSD and their testimonials are published widely online.
CHRONIC PAIN. Exposure to cold and stimulation of the vagus nerve is known to increase the blood level of endorphins. Higher endorphin levels are associated with less pain. According to Harvard Health Publishing, endorphins relieve pain and create a general feeling of well-being. Because patients with chronic pain have low levels of endorphins, cold showers are very beneficial for them.
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS and AUTOIMMUNE CONDITIONS. Previous research has shown that stimulating the vagus nerve reduces inflammation and decreases the production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF). People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have too much inflammation caused by elevated TNF and the drugs used to treat RA fight inflammation by reducing TNF. Because stimulating the vagus nerve will also decrease TNF, there are now international protocols being developed to test vagus nerve stimulation for RA and other auto-immune conditions. “This is a really exciting development,” says Prof. Thomas Dörner, Chairperson of the Scientific Programme Committee at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology.
MIGRAINES. Using ice packs has been shown in published studies to be efficacious for the acute migraine, more so than hot packs. Treating acute migraines with ice packs also reduces the frequency of future attacks. Although we lack published studies showing cold water showers prevent migraines, there are numerous anecdotal reports that cold showers are effective.
DIABETES and OBESITY. The Ohio State University says elevated cortisol levels not only aggravates type 2 diabetes, but also contribute to causing type 2 diabetes. Cold water has been shown to reduce cortisol levels quite significantly according to publications in Eur J Appl Physiol. Lowered cortisol level also promotes weight loss.
Nobody is getting paid to recommend cold showers.
Drug Reps aren't going to stop by your doctors office to remind them to tell you about the importance of cold showers. Don't expect to see any slick national advertising about cold showers. Cold showers are something you do to beat the health care system, by staying healthy and not needing their expensive treatments and pills.
What you will see is millions of dollars promoting treatments that are much less effective than cold showers, that cost a whole lot more.
Yet cold showers are catching on all over the world. There are huge groups that are meeting to share their experiences. Even Tony Robbins, the self help guru, is recommending cold showers! Cold showers could be a valuable addition to your health regimen!
Next week we discuss how to do cold showers.
Everything you need to know!
Take care and BE HEALTHY!
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