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November 05, 2021 4 min read

Usually when personal care is brought up in a conversation, we tend to automatically picture an image along the lines of someone meditating, relaxing, going to the spa or getting a massage. These are great images associated to comfort and R&R, although they do not cover the whole spectrum of practices we can incorporate to maintain our self care. To strike a true balance in self care, we must also seek practices that challenge our comfort zones. In fact, there can be a lot of wisdom hinged in discomfort and is one of the prevalent moving parts of the whole self care system. Wise finds it indeed pertinent to go about fighting ice with ice, as per the saying “fighting fire with fire”. In other words, we want to walk you through the benefits of cold immersion as the cold months are nearing in order to propose a quite… adrenalizing approach.

 

You might have heard of Wim Hof and his breathwork techniques: the man holding the world record for staying the longest time in an ice bath. He has created a whole lifestyle based on the benefits that he obtains from all this exposure to the cold and we want to delve into some of the takeaways we can get from this lifestyle. The core of the Wim Hof method is rooted in the development of resilience and control over induced short physical or mental stressors.

 

 

 

When taking a cold shower or ice bath for at least 2 minutes, your skin detects a sudden change in temperature, your heart rate increases and pumps the blood away from the skin to the vital organs. Your blood vessels constrict and blood flow increases to warm back your core and organs. Hence the collateral effect of this response inherently promoting better blood pressure and an overall more efficient blood circulation. Another health benefit that was observed and proven from the practice of cold showering is the boost of our immune system. In fact, a study conducted for a couple weeks to a couple months by the National Academy of Sciences in the USA tested the voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for the body’s rapid involuntary to dangerous or stressful situations) and its attenuation of the immune response. Results show that the learned breathing techniques and exposure to the cold through ice bathing triggers a release in epinephrine, which in turn promotes the release of other anti-inflammatory constituents and white blood cells, proving here there can be important implications to advance autoimmune disease therapy techniques.

 

As the skin is the first organ to detect the cold stimuli you're putting your body through, it is fair enough to say that it's also the first to collect the benefits. As a matter of fact, the vaso-constrictive effects of cold water promotes a more efficient blood circulation, treats puffiness, irritation, and keep intact the lipid barrier your sebaceous glands have worked so hard for to keep your skin moisturized, unlike hot water!

 

 

Interestingly enough, cold immersion has great effects on our mood and can even help relieve some of the most stubborn symptoms of anxiety and depression. If we recall what we now know about the sympathetic nervous system being activated, increasing not only a production in epinephrine, but can also prompt a synaptic release in noradrenaline in the brain (one of the mood-elevating neurotransmitters.) But how about the other underlying effects on the brain that we might not necessarily think of at first? Facing controlled low doses of stress forces your body to adapt to uncomfortable situations and expand your homeostasis capabilities. In other words, what doesn’t kill you definitely makes you stronger, and this concept has a scientific word for it called hormesis. It can almost be comparable to making your body go through a controlled non-harmful “trauma” and consequently develop a healthy coping mechanism for the next time a similar situation happens, readapts, and so forth.

 

 

 

Understanding the value of discretionary discomfort and putting yourself in those positions strengthens our personal growth and well-being journey. There are so many ways to challenge ourselves, but we want you to try cold immersion with us this season and experience the benefits. Here’s a good opportunity to jump in the Wise bandwagon: we are currently on the lookout for a shock fundraising team to participate in Jack.org's Brainfreeze challenge! The event basically consists of a group dip into cold waters, whether it is at your local beach or a iced water bath and all funds raised will directly go to Jack.org’s youth mental health programs. (stay tuned to our newsletter and social media for upcoming contests.)  Push your limits with us by joining the Wise Brainfreeze Team.

 

 

Is it scary? Yes it is, and as a personal care and grooming line constantly trying to finesse a comforting experience with our products, we can totally relate to the daunting feeling of apprehension we get before doing such a thing. Whilst a goal is only a goal unless it becomes a habit, we have to remain conscious about the fact that balance and willpower are key to optimizing any effort in improving your mental and physical health.

 

Sources:

 

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-cold-showers-good-for-you/

 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S030698770700566X

 

https://www.pnas.org/content/111/20/7379

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2248601/

 

https://www.runnersworld.com/health-injuries/a27357719/benefits-of-cold-showers/


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