It used to be that we took showers for the sole purpose of cleansing away sweat and dirt that accumulated throughout the day. But nowadays, more of us are looking at showering with a health angle, as research links showering with increased dopamine levels (the happy hormone), reduces pain, a stronger immune system, and even productivity.
At KLEAN, we're taking self-care investigation a step further: can cold showers help us shed those extra pounds? It seems the internet thinks so, with claims that cold showers could improve boost metabolism, which increases fat burn throughout the day.
THE WEIGHT LOSS THEORY
The 'cold shower promotes weight loss' theory is based on the discovery of brown adipose tissue, which is commonly known as 'brown fat' in our bodies.
Unlike 'white' fat cells, whose primary responsibility is to store calories in our bodies for future use, brown fat cells do the complete opposite: by burning calories to maintain stable body temperature.
The weight loss theory stems from studies showing cold temperatures activate the burning of brown fat to increase body temperature.
Babies tend to have higher levels of brown fat as they need help staying warm. It's also a common belief that we tend to have less brown fat as we age. However, recent research has shown that adults do have brown fat, which led to speculation that using cold temperatures to trigger it could increase metabolism and ultimately lead to weight loss.
WHAT ABOUT ICY SHOWERS?
But does it mean just because cold activates brown fat means that icy showers will drastically drop those extra pounds? Not necessarily.
Although cold exposure tends to increase metabolism by activating the brown fat, the effects are minimal. "You would have to spend a good amount of time in cold water to get even a small benefit," Kumar says, obesity and weight management specialist at HSHS Medical Group explains.
And what's a 'good amount of time'? This study showed that those who spend 2 hours each day in an 18-degree temperature lost about half a kilogram over six long weeks. Does it mean you should be taking 2 hour long cold showers? Absolutely not. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it's also not healthy.
On that note, research also showed that exposure to the cold increases your appetite. Translation: it may trigger you to eat back the few calories you burned.
Another study from Maastricht University had 11 people stay in a cold room for a whole day, and on average, the participants burned an extra 76 calories. To put that into simple terms, one pound of fat contains around 3,500 calories. Which means: you'd get a much better result at a gym class.
BENEFITS OF A COLD SHOWER
Although the effects are minimal for weight loss. Cold showers can make you more alert. As cold water activates the nervous system and makes your body release noradrenaline, this, in turn, increases the blood flow.
A study conducted by Natalia Shevchuk of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine states, "Due to the high density of cold receptors on the skin, a cold shower is expected to send electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect."
WITH THAT BEING SAID...
If you want to give cold showers a try, make sure you're doing it the right way. Meaning you shouldn't feel any discomfort. Your cold shower shouldn't exceed more than 10 - 15 minutes. If you notice numbness, breathing difficulties, or if you see any part of your body turning white or purple, get out immediately.
At KLEAN, we want to provide you the quality shower experience with tips and hacks, so you can make the most out of your me-time.
Cold exposure helps boost metabolism and fat burning, but the effects of a cold shower are minimal. Sure, a cold shower might help you burn a few more extra calories and keep you more alert, but it is not a long term, effective solution for weight loss.
KLEAN is a modern shower accessory that helps prevent chlorine and hard water damages to your skin and hair. We use Redox Technology, certified by the National Sanitation Foundation, a member of the World Health Organization.
We use a filter medium called KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) to stimulate the Redox Process. KDF utilizes a combination of copper and zinc to create an electrochemical reaction. During this reaction, electrons are transferred between molecules, and new elements are created. This process also helps change harmful contaminants into harmless components. Free chlorine, for instance, is transformed into benign, water-soluble chloride.
With the same reaction, some heavy metals such as copper, lead, mercury, and others react to plate out onto the medium's surface as well.