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Cold Showers, Your New Best Friend

I have done daily cold showers for 30+ years and I consider it one of the most important health practices available, right up there with exercise, diet and good sleep.

DISCLAIMER: Consult with your Health Care Provider before implementing Cold Showers, or any other health practice.

Shower Basics

AVOID rain simulating shower heads.

Let's start with shower basics. You need a shower head that has the ability to focus the spray. Not one of those rain simulation heads. You need the stimulation of the water hitting your skin with some pressure. I recommend a shower head that has the built in temperature display and is detachable with a hose.

There is no absolute rule for how hot a shower should be, but most dermatologists recommend keeping the temperature at an average of 98°F (37°C) to 101°F (38.3°C) or no more than 105 °F (41°C).

The hotter the shower is, the more it will leach the oil out of your skin, and the more prone you will be to dry, itchy, uncomfortable and unhealthy skin. Dryer skin is more prone to dermatitis and infections. Although, most people can easily tolerate a shower up to 110 degrees, you should try to stay below 105°F. If you get a shower head with the temperature readout you will find it very handy.

How do I get Started?

At the end of your normal shower, it's time to do the cold. There are 2 different approaches to start cold showers.

  • The gradual approach. Some people advise turning the hot down just a little bit at the end of your regular shower and trying a slightly cooler ending to your shower. You do that for a week or so, and then start turning the temperature down even more. After a few weeks you should be ending your regular shower with full cold water.

  • Jump right in. Others recommend, at the end of your regular shower, just turn the hot all the way off, and the cold all the way up, the very first time you decide to do the cold shower.

It's your choice. Either way will work. The gradual approach, or jump right in.

The Basic Cold Shower- Do this Daily!

Once you turn the hot all the way off, get the cold water on your face, the top of your head and on the neck. When you can't stand it anymore step back and get the water all up and down your chest and abdomen, and then turn around and get a liberal dose to your shoulders and work your way down to the low back. Pause a little on the low back. Then turn back around and give your head, face and neck another go at it. Then you're done. This adds 30 to 60 seconds to your shower. You will stay on schedule and get to work on time! And you will have about 1/3 less sick days, based on the study of over 3,000 people!

You can do Cold Showers any time of day. I do mine in the morning, because that is when I shower. But you can do this at the end of the work day, after working out or right before bed. I have heard from more than one person, that doing the cold shower right before bed improves their sleep. That makes sense when we think of the cold showers effect on the vagus nerve.

When you are done, get out and dry off just like normal! Do NOT rinse off with hot water after the cold shower. You will lose much of the benefit. Always end with cold.

Congratulations! You have just completed your first Cold Shower and joined the elite community of people that are taking real steps to be healthy. You can expect less chronic pain, a stronger immune system and better mental health to mention just a few of the research proven benefits. That is quite a positive return for your investment of 30-60 seconds! You will soon come to love your cold showers, just like the 64% that continued the Cold Showers after the study was over, because of the benefits they were experiencing. You are building your health AND will feel better in so many ways!

Add this to your Cold Shower When Needed:

Localized Cold Water

This is a valuable add-on to your Basic Cold Shower. To do this you need a detachable, hand held shower head with a HOSE, like the one pictured to the left. After completing your Basic Cold Shower, grab the shower head and treat any ache or pain you may have. Maybe your tennis elbow is acting up. Or you overworked your bad knee yesterday. Or your shoulder is letting you know you lifted too much. Or any other joint is swollen or sore. You turn that cold water on the problem area and direct the water to where the pain is, as long as you can. When you just can't take any more, take the cold water away briefly. Then go right back to spraying the sore area. You do this for a few minutes, and then you are done.

You will be amazed at how fast you get rid of aches and pains. You can treat any part of your body that is sore. Use this for arthritis, bursitis, or tendonitis. Any sprained or strained joint. Sore muscles, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis (don't forget to do the stretches too), low back pain, stiff necks, bunions, whatever ails you. Of course you want to consult with your health care provider when needed, but if it is painful, red or swollen, treat it with Localized Cold Water. In certain cases, with more severe injuries, you may need to do the Localized Cold Water 2-4 times a day for the first few days, but soon it will improve and be feeling back to normal.

Patients that learn how to do the Localized Cold Water often tell me they no longer need Advil or Tylenol. That's good because there are problems associated with Advil. See more Advil and NSAID problems here. See Tylenol problems here.

Variations of Cold Water Therapy

Here are some basic variations of cold water therapy. This is mainly for educational value only, as most people won't need to do any of these variations.

The Long Cold shower

A long cold shower is done in the usual way, at the end of the warm shower. But instead of being done in 30-60 seconds, they go for 3-5 minutes, possibly even longer. Most patients do this just 2-3 times a week, and sometimes just once a week, although there are some studies where it was done several times a day with good results. Long Cold Showers are often done for anxiety and depression that is not responding to standard treatments. Of course, people with anxiety and depression should do the standard things first, such as: a daily exercise program, taking omega 3s in the correct dose and getting good sleep. If needed, a person could add Long Cold Showers as a second line therapy, but should do so under the guidance of their doctor or health care provider.

The Cold Bath

We visited a bunch of the old naturopathic spas in Germany, and they all have hot mineral baths. After you get out of the hot mineral tub, they generally have a cold tub you can immerse yourself in. Very similar to ending a hot shower with cold.

Vitamin Sea

This is swimming once a week for 10-20 minutes in water that is below 50°F. Usually salt water, but cold lakes and rivers are also used. This is pretty intense therapy and very helpful for many conditions, even though it is just once a week. There are large groups of people that meet every week to do this, all over the world. For more information read the book by Dr Harper: CHILL, The Cold Water Swim Cure.

Frequently Asked Questions

YOU: What temperature should the water be?

ME: As cold as you can get it. Officially, cold showers are any showers with a water temperature below 70°F, but I think it needs to be colder than that. If you use a showerhead like I have illustrated above, it has a temperature readout on it. Here in Western Washington the cold water temps run in the 50s, up to about 60°F in the hottest part of the summer. In Anchorage the temps are lower, but I wasn't using a showerhead with temperature readout back then, so I'm not sure what the actual temperatures were.

YOU: Do you adjust the water to the desired temperature?

ME: No, I just go straight cold, and I think the colder the better, so I go all the way cold.

YOU: What about places that don't have cold water?

ME: When I travel there are a lot of places where the water isn't cold enough. Texas, Arizona, Southern Californian, etc. I don't know what people living in those climates should do. Maybe ice baths? Or move north?

YOU: Is an ice pack on a sore joint as good as the Localized Cold Water?

ME: An ice pack is good, but the cold water is better. In my experience, the cold water works better than an ice pack. Maybe because the cold water penetrates more? Use the ice when you can't do the cold water.

YOU: If I only take baths, can I just take a cold bath after my regular bath?

ME: You can if you want, but another faster option is to just stand up and turn the cold shower on and proceed in the normal way, detailed above. The only thing I don't like about this is your feet are still in the warm bath water. Some people have a shower separate from the tub, so they could step out of the tub and over to the shower. Or you could drain the tub first and then do the cold shower.


There is nothing else you can do that will make as big of an improvement in your health with as little cost, effort and time as Cold Showers.

Cold Showers Improve

your General Health!

Localized Cold Water

Improves your Aches and Pains!

One Final thought. The American Health Care System runs on $DOLLAR$. Large companies spend millions and millions of dollars to get "great new drugs" approved by the FDA. Then they spend even more money to send Drug Reps to your doctors office, to leave samples and remind them about these "great new drugs". When your busy doctors are trying to stay on schedule, in just a few seconds, they can hit a couple of keys on their computer to send a prescription for this "great new drug" to your pharmacy. Or they can take a half hour to educate you about Cold Showers and Localized Cold Water (if they even knew anything about Cold Showers).

Is it any wonder that truly great therapies like Cold Showers get left behind?

Take care and BE HEALTHY!

CW Jasper

August, 2022

© 2022· Content is Property Created by CW Jasper


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Jaden McCarrey
Jaden McCarrey
Aug 23, 2022

But what about the brain freezes? 😉 Really interesting information. I have heard of the Wim Hof method, but have never seen it connected to a study like the one you sited. Thanks for the priceless info!


Gerald Hacker
Gerald Hacker
Aug 22, 2022

Dr. Jasper, I was wondering if cold showers will help with conditions such as psoriasis and other skin ailments? What exactly does the cold water do to the skin that helps with these conditions? Thank you.

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