Could a cold shower reduce depressive symptoms?

November 29, 2011

I cannot say where I heard this recently. Something in the background while I was working at my computer. But it stuck in my brain. It was a report indicating that research had shown that taking a cold shower could improve mood. It didn’t say what research. Nothing new there…

I began to think about all the camping trips when showers were unavailable but a cold lake or river was nearby and provided a bathing experience. I thought about jumping into swimming pools with cold water. And I remembered camping facilities where the showers offered only cold water. Funny. As I thought about it, in every case I was in a better mood coming out than going in. I thought it was because I got the day’s sweat and dirt off me or had a nice workout swimming, but maybe not.

Since this stayed with me over the past several weeks while I have been buried under papers and research and teaching, I decided to take a break and look up the research. I found a journal that presented a research question and rationale in 2008: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030698770700566X  The researchers argue for a study to systematically consider the possible relationship. I cannot find where such a study has been conducted. If you find it, let me know… Inquiring minds want to know.

In the meantime, here is something beautiful to behold:

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