Take a Cold Shower

I take a Scottish Shower every day. You’re probably asking yourself, What the heck is a Scottish Shower? Well … That is a very good question. Essentially it is the act of finishing a hot water shower with a cold water shower. As you might guess the effect is IMMEDIATE and POWERFUL. Even in a tired state, I instantly wake and feel super energized. Many people believe that alternating between hot and cold improves blood circulation and that it can be beneficial with rheumatic disorders.

As a matter of fact, many people believe that cold showers help in most or all of these areas:

  • Better circulation
  • Better looking hair
  • Rejuvenated and improved skin
  • Enhanced mental capabilities
  • Helps resist hay fever, allergies, colds, and coughs
  • Strengthens the nervous systems
  • Expels toxins and poisonous waste by contracting the muscles
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Improved mood
  • Dramatically increases sperm count and mobility
  • Relieves depression
  • Boosts testosterone

    In addition to all of that, Japanese samurai warriors did a Shinto ritual called misogi harai. They would pour a bucket of cold water onto their heads. Samurais believed that “misogi” would purify them on a spiritual level. I dig Japanese history and I REALLY dig samurai warriors… So, I initially attempted this years ago to see what all of the spiritual hoopla was about.

    Before I enlighten you how I do this, and what you can do to mimic my insane actions, I must put in print…Yet Another Long-winded Disclaimer: I am afraid that before I talk about this enlightening subject, I must first warn you of the inherent danger associated with it… Cold showers can be dangerous, especially to folks with heart disease, high blood pressure, or a fever. As with most anything in life, you can be seriously injured, crippled or killed. (That sounds a bit tense for a cold shower, but I’m covering my proverbial butt!) The opinions, stories and ideas presented here are my own and do not constitute a recommendation of or endorsement for any particular or general use. You should seek a professional medical evaluation before turning your temperature dial down. If you choose to take cold showers, you do so at your own risk.

    Also, women should not take cold showers during the time of menstruation because it is recommended that they only experience gentleness during their menses. (I had to look this one up)

    Are we clear?

    Now that we have that out of the way… Let me tell you what I do, and you can formulate your own approach

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    I hop into a standard temperature shower. As a matter of fact, I probably take it a hair hotter than most folks. I get the soaping, scrubbing, and washing done. As I’m rinsing off the soap residue, I gradually turn the temperature down a little bit. I usually do this to prepare my body for the coming torture (note: it’s a good torture). Then… Without warning, I crank the knob all the way to cold. It takes a second or two for your creaky pipes to respond, so use that time to tighten your sphincter and prepare for the wonderful onslaught that is heading your direction. When the cold hits, sometimes I feel like screaming (depending on the day, and temperature), but I keep that feeling inside. Often, I will find myself making anguished faces and once or twice my eyes have even rolled up into my head. But, don’t let that scare you off. In all honesty, the Scottish Shower is pure bliss. After a minute or two of rinsing my whole body, I turn the water off. I Immediately get a towel and hug it like I haven’t seen it in years!

    If you struggle once the cold hits you, try my mental focus tip… Think about the mental, physical, and spiritual benefits that are a direct result of what you are putting yourself through.

    One more note… When you are away from home (staying at someone else’s house, a hotel, campground, or something else) be careful with the fast twist to cold. You never know when you’ll run into someone who has considerably colder water running through their pipes.

    Additional Notes and Thoughts
    Men: Don’t forget that you can use the “shrinkage” excuse immediately after getting out.

    Women: Don’t giggle at your scrawny man when he first pops out of a cold shower!

    Little known fact: Did you know that James Bond takes Scottish Showers? Well… He does. If that ain’t proof enough of the benefits, I dunno what is!!!

    Does anyone else out there perform misogi? Please comment and let me know if you do this, or are willing to try it. Heck, I’d even love to hear of you think I’m utterly bonkers!


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    About Vaughn Ripley

    Vaughn is a happily married daddy, author, and CIO. He is an HIV+ hemophiliac, and is one of the longest surviving HIV+ people in the universe.
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    1. I have done this before on occasion (mostly on really hot days), and yes it is very refreshing!

    2. Dan McNally says

      On occasion, on a really hot day, I’ll finish my shower like this . . . and sometimes, totally by mistake. When I lived in Hawaii, after a SCUBA dive from one of the city beach parks, I’d walk into the shower (they were at every beach, outside) and revel in that cold, fresh water. It served multiple purposes . . . it refreshed me, washed the salt off me, and, most importantly, washed off all my gear . . . as I would walk right to the shower, still geared up, and start taking everything off in the shower!

      • Sounds like a great idea after SCUBA diving. Also, summer time is an excellent time to start the ritual, because the cold water tends to be more lukewarm. As the season tapers off, you gradually get colder water and barely notice since it’s now a daily ritual.


    3. Vaughn, you are sooo crazy and sooo right! While in college I had a crazy job selling books door-to-door and we used finish morning showers with all cold water. It was a great way to instantly be wide awake. Even more crazy, I rented a place one Summer with two guys and we only had a bathtub. So, not enough time for everyone to bath in the morning and get to work on time. So, we all bathed at night. Then we filled the tub with all cold water in the morning and one at at time we dunked our whole body into the frightening cold water for about 30 seconds. Now, that makes a Scottish Shower feel like a sauna. Give that one a try and see if it boosts your “T” Levels.

      • Hi Brad! That does sound crazy cold! In my old “roommate” days, we had a house with a broken water heater… You get the idea. HA! Thanks again for chiming in!

    4. My wife thought I was nuts for switching the water to cold before I got out of the shower. Now I have reasons for some of my craziness.

      On a Samurai side note. “47 Ronin” the best samurai movie ever is being remade.

      • Jonathan – If you’re wife only thinks your crazy because of shower shenanigans, then you’ve got a one-up on most husbands!

        47-Ronin is one of my favorite stories and I can’t wait for December to see this newest version!

    5. Henry Bankshaft says

      Do the benefits of taking only showers that are cold outweigh the benefits of taking said “Scottish Shower?”
      Best Bond Actor?!?!

      • I think the Scottish shower is better, because there are absolute benefits of a hot shower too. By combining them, you get the best of both worlds.

        Best Bond? Hmmm… I’m older so, I’ve always loved Sean Connery… That said, I think Daniel Craig has done an amazing job, and looks most like a 007 killer than any other. My least favorite was Pierce Brosnan. I just couldn’t ever imagine him being dangerous.

        Thanks for the comment!


    6. Blake Rubie says

      Vaughn-I agree with you. Only hot or warm showers doesn’t work for me…it dries my skin and hair and leaves me feeling sluggish. Having only cold showers doesn’t work for me either. Sometimes I need to relax my muscles, especially after exercise or a hard day at work. In my opinion, a hot shower ending with a cold shower is the best. Like you said, you get all the benefits from them both (especially improving the blood circulation). And the cold shower afterwards will toughen us up to handle stressful situations better. Thank you for having the courage to help other people!

      • Blake Rubie says

        I’m back to taking just cold showers and it’s working out alright for me. I just love how they invigorate and refresh the body!

        • Blake,

          Thanks for the kind words and input! Very cool! I love the cold shower portion of my shower, but I do enjoy the hot part too. I agree completely about the invigorating power of a cold shower!



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