Body Dowsing Benefits, Rules and Restrictions for Cold Shower
Benefits of taking cold showers
For proven clinical benefits, see the YouTube video on the right side:
Cold Shower Benefits. This video features Dr. KP Buteyko, MD, PhD, an author of the legendary Buteyko breathing method. He taught about 200 Soviet and Russian medical doctors how to safely apply cold shower in order to increase body oxygenation. (This breathing method is officially approved by the Russian Ministry of Health for treatment of asthma and heart disease.)
Medical research suggested the following benefits of regular cold shower
- activation the sympathetic nervous system (Shevchuk, 2008)
- increased blood level of beta-endorphin and noradrenaline and increased
synaptic release of noradrenaline in the brain as well (Shevchuk, 2008)
- electrical stimulation of peripheral nerve endings to the brain,
which could result in an anti-depressive effect (Shevchuk, 2008)
- significant analgesic effect without noticeable side effects or causing
dependence (Shevchuk, 2008)
- reduction in muscle soreness after running a marathon (Liang et al, 2001)
- improved quality of sleep (Onen et al, 1994)
- decrease of uric acid level in blood plasma (Brenke et al, 1994)
- inhibition of purine metabolism (Brenke et al, 1994)
- long-term antioxidative adaptation (Brenke et al, 1994)
- improved tone of the skin and muscles (Mergeay et al, 1990)
- reduction in uremic pruritus (a major problem for patients with end-stage
renal disease) (Zucker et al, 2003)
- increase in brown fat cells, which protect from aging; fight obesity,
diabetes, and heart disease (Kanzleiter et al,2005; Mattson, 2010).
references and quotes are provided below.
Brown fat = special fat cells that have, unlike white fat cells, high
concentrations of mitochondria and, therefore, are able to generate heat without
any muscular activity. Brown fat concentrations are very high in new borns and infants,
but gradually decline with aging due to absence of
cold stimulation in the general population.
Medical research in relation to brown fat or brown adipose tissues is one
of the top priorities in modern medical biochemistry and molecular biology,
as potential treatment for obesity, diabetes and diseases of aging (see
shocking benefits found in Cold shower studies).
While many doctors investigate how to increase brown fat concentrations in
humans using medical drugs and transplantation, some natural doctors
suggested the most natural way to increase our brown fat stores, cold
Body Dowsing for better body oxygenation and breathing retraining
Dr. Buteyko and
his MDs always viewed cold-water adaptation (e.g., taking
cold shower, cold-water dowsing, bathing in snow, etc.) as an important part of
the Buteyko method of breathing retraining. There are several known
physiological processes that help us to achieve a slower and easier breathing due to
better adaptation to cold conditions. (Note that this positive adaptation takes place only when the
person follows certain rules explained below.) Some of these beneficial processes are:
1. Cold showering favorably redistributes the blood in a way that is
similar to effects of CO2 and NO on arteries and arterioles. Since cold
water is applied on the surface of the body, the veins located near the
surface constrict and the blood is pushed into arteries, arterioles and
capillaries. Over two thirds of systemic resistance to blood flow in the
cardiovascular system is in these blood vessels (arteries, arterioles and
capillaries). Hence, this blood redistribution causes and leads to better perfusion (blood supply) of all tissues
and organs and reduces heart rate. In this sense, application of cold water
has some similarities with CO2 and NO effects on blood vessels.
2. Regular use of cold shower reduces heat losses (KP. Buteyko) and
decreases core body temperature (Russian health nuts are preoccupied with
having lower body temperature due to a wide-spread belief that just one
degree reduction in core body temperature extends expected life span of
humans by some decades.)
3. Cold water adaptation builds up brown-fat cells, which have a large concentration of mitochondria
to generate heat without physical contraction or muscular movements.
4. A German study found positive effects of such body hardening on certain
5. Correct application of cold shower water (see Rule #3 below: gradual
exposure) results in natural breath holding probably due to some reflexatory
mechanism. Hence, taking, for example, a cold shower results in all beneficial
mechanisms and effects related to CO2 uses in the
human body, including better oxygenation and perfusion of all vital organs,
calmer mind, improved immunity, better sleep and digestion, and many others
due to increased body-oxygen content (as measured with the DIY
body-oxygen test) by about 2-3 s. In my view, application of a
cold shower has about the same effect on
health and CP (control pause), although physiologically different, as one half of the
typical Buteyko breathing exercise session.
6. Most importantly, regular use of cold showers will help you
to adapt to cold conditions and improve your morning CP due to normalized
thermoregulation and general adaptation to cold conditions. This CP
increase means better general health and well-being with
improvements in all systems and organs of the human body.
Body dowsing rules and restrictions
The below rules and restrictions are based on
the clinical experience of 200 Russian doctors. They
taught the Buteyko self-oxygenation breathing therapy to ten thousands of
Russian patients. (This therapy is officially approved by the Russian Health
Ministry.) Taking cold showers is an integral part of the Buteyko breathing
method. Why? Doctor Buteyko and his colleagues found that taking a cold shower,
when safe, increases oxygenation of the body and improves personal well-being.
For these reasons, all these doctors explained the main rules regarding
water- and cold-tempering activities. When it is safe to take a cold shower? How to take a cold shower?
Rule #1 is to have sufficient body oxygen stores and to feel well. The person
should measure their own oxygen content
using the stress-free breath holding time test: the CP (control pause) before taking
a cold shower. For this
medical therapy, the CP is the key parameter of health. These Russian doctors tested
many thousands of patients and discovered the
following results since this test is the key parameter of health for the Buteyko
Severely sick, terminally ill and hospitalized patients have from 1 to about 10 s
CP. With approaching death, their breathing gets heavier (deeper and/or faster),
while the CP approaches zero: 5, 4, 3, 2, and only 1 second of
oxygen in the body just before the death. Over 90% of people die in conditions
of severe overbreathing.
Sick patients with mild forms of the chronic disease (asthma, bronchitis, heart disease,
cystic fibrosis, diabetes, cancer, etc.) have about 10-20 s CP (body oxygen
content). These patients are usually on medication to control their symptoms.
Asymptomatic asthmatics, heart patients with no symptoms and many
others have slightly more than 20 s of oxygen in the body.
Healthy adults, according to published western results, should have about 40
s CP. This result corresponds to a
normal breathing pattern, but Doctor Buteyko found that 60 s CP is incompatible with about 150
chronic diseases or diseases of civilization. (His norm corresponds to even
slower breathing: about 4 L/min for minute ventilation and 8 breaths per minute
for respiratory frequency at rest.) Hence, he established 60 s as a
standard of ideal health.
Rule #1, according to Russian doctors, is to have over 20 s of oxygen in the
body when you take a cold shower and to feel well. If one’s oxygenation is less,
such a patient is
likely to get an infection, fever, sore throat, blocked nose, and/or other
negative symptoms. Also, when one feels unwell due to, for example, approaching
infection or his or her normal CP dropped a low (e.g., from 60 down to 23
seconds - such people can recover from flu in hours, but cold shower would not
be a good idea at this critical time), then one needs to postpone cold showering
till better times. This is the key restriction for taking cold shower.
(Note that if you have been taking it for months or years with less then 20 s
CP, you could be able to continue to take it safely, but it is better if you
increase your CP so as to enjoy better health and quality of life.)
Other rules (for how to take a cold shower) are:
Rule #2. Start with warming up bones and deeper body tissues with warm water, if
they got cold from prolonged cold exposure.
Rule #3. Very gradually change water temperature from warm to cold (or apply cold water to various body parts in sequence, you can also install dual shower heads to achieve this) so that transition to cold is very gradual (up to 40-60 s). If you use only cold water, apply cold water for one arm only. Then do the same with the other arm. After finishing both arms, apply cold water for one leg only. Then use cold water for the other leg. Finally, start with the lower trunk and rise up to the shoulders, which are the most sensitive area.
There is one great tip and practical exercise for taking cold shower. It is hidden below as your bonus content.
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Rule #4. Apply cold shower for about 30-60 s so that to cool down deep
tissues of your body.
Rule #5. If you use contrast shower (cold-warm-cold-warm…),
always finish with cold water (unless you feel that your blood dugar gets too low).
Rule #6. Some Russian Buteyko MDs suggest that it is good to let water dry
naturally without use of a towel. Others recommend vigorous rubbing with a towel
until skin gets warm.
Warning. Note that you should not take a cold shower immediately after
a too long and exhausting session of physical
exercise, under influence of alcohol (it can cause fainting), or when your blood-glucose level is low, or soon after meals.
Ideally, it should be done on an empty stomach.