Cold showers trigger our Fight or Flight response.
The sympathetic branch of our autonomic nervous system is responsible for our “fight or flight” response.
This system is activated during stress when we face a threat and we have to either fight it or run away from it.
Cold water does exactly this and induces a stress response and activates the sympathetic nervous system.
Keep in mind that not all stress is bad, because of our climate controlled environments, many are not under enough thermal stress.
During the fight or flight response
- Your heart starts pumping blood faster so that your muscles will be ready to act faster
- Brown fat tissue is activated so that more fat is burned and more heat is produced
- Blood vessels shrink
- Liver and pancreas start making more glucose so that you have the energy to face the threat
- Muscles increase their uptake of glucose (so that they have more energy)
Cold showers are responsible for the activation of the fight or flight response but also a deep meditation experience, a chance to be 100% focused on our body.