A Cold Shower Burst the Taoist Way

A Cold Shower Burst the Taoist Way

Oct 05, 2022

Early one morning I find myself immersed in my perfunctory warm shower. But this time was different as I flipped the shower nozzle to the cold setting at the end. 

Why? Let’s just blame all of this on what is known as the Wim Hof Method

OK, go! ….. I endure the cold spray for 10 seconds before deciding I can take it no more. Shivering, I jump out of the shower, nearly slipping and breaking my neck on the tile floor. 

Taking cold showers has become a normal part of my daily routine. It’s hard to believe that I’m up to two minutes now. Aren’t you proud of me?

Even though I’ve grown a bit more comfortable with them, cold showers are still quite jarring in the beginning. But I am at least able to settle into them much easier than the first time I took one. 

The physical benefits of a cold shower have a great deal of science to back them up. I, for one, became an evangelist of their immune boosting benefits,  properties that came in handy during the height of the Covid pandemic. Specifically, according to scientists, it’s that jolt that we experience when the cold water first hits us that has proven valuable in terms of unleashing immune boosting T-cells into our bodies. 

In addition to the hidden physical benefits, I also feel better mentally after having taken one. For me, the cold water forces you to focus on the moment, akin to a temporary Zen state. And it is a great stress reliever as I was reminded just recently amid a day of heavy toil.  

Taoists talk about a concept called “chi” or “qi” which is your life force, the energy that flows through you and through everything. The essence of “chi” is what gives you life. It has its roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Martial Arts. 

For me, cold showers are the ultimate in stepping into my discomfort for that radiant, tingly chi experience that emanates throughout. To induce chi-generation which is akin to recharging your internal battery, one must relax and focus on what’s happening internally in one’s body. This chi generation then creates enough warmth to combat the cold environment. 

If you are anything like me, your first inclination is to avoid discomfort. But I have come to realize that stepping into these uncomfortable places is often a necessary element of fueling our personal growth. In other words, if we always steer clear of the very things that challenge us, we may never be able to achieve certain aims. 

Like jumping into a cold ocean, the same is true for a frigid shower — the initial 10-15 seconds of shock are the worst. But after a few seconds or so, your homeostatic oriented body adapts, leading you to find that it isn’t so bad after all. 

In other words, if we want things to become easier, we need to become a bit bolder. For me, this is where cold showers come in.

Sadly, most people, particularly in the West, are adverse to cold showers, preferring the comfort of its hot steamy alternative. What I’ve discovered is that deliberately exposing myself to what I’d otherwise resist gives me an extra measure of resiliency and fortitude. 

In the end, cold showers foster a mindset of not liking something and doing it anyway. In other words, the more cold I take, the less threatened I feel when life presents those jarring, inevitable challenges that we all experience. 

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