Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

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Re: Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

Post by Paysan on Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:00 pm

Warm water won't kill more germs, but may rinse them from your body better. I don't believe bacterial reduction was a feature of cold adaptation, but I could be wrong.
That one video of Wim Hof and disciple sitting in the icy pool - did you notice they never got their heads wet? That was just asking for trouble. And when they came out afterwards, any wet skin turned a brilliant pink, even on the dark-skinned dude.
I don't believe the Eskimos lost their cold adaptation, although their igloos often were so warm from oil lamps and body heat that they stripped to bare skin. And if I were to go seal hunting, the last thing I'd want or need would be wet hair. Very Happy

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Re: Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

Post by Nightly Orange on Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:33 pm

srinath_69 wrote:Oh yea dropping your head into the stream = massive brain freeze. I also hated getting my underarms under the stream.
However - its not as bad as I feared, and I did dunk my head quite a few times.
I however have a question - doesn't the warm water kill more germs ???
I wont say I'm acclimatized any better cos this morning a few mins in 30 degree weather pretty much sapped my enthusiasm for being outside.

For me, it's my head and my back that are the most cold-sensitive. As for the germs issue, I don't know if hot water directly "kills" more germs, but it's easier to sud up properly when the water is warmer. In the cold water my soap hardly produces lather, so the basic efficacy of scrubbing yourself clean is definitely inferior.

I doubt it matters much for anyone with a functional immune system, though. Like Paysan said, humans throughout history have gone months without bathing and not immediately succumbed to random staph infections.

Paysan wrote:Reminds e of an American white boy who hung around his native friend and older relative. He practiced being invisible, until the deer would walk past him unawares. The older native also taught them cold hardiness. One winter day, he made them strip to their briefs, leaving their boots on, and sent them to play in the snow. After a few minutes, the boys were having snowball fights, running and jumping into drifts, and so on. He said he never minded the cold from then on, and others were amazed at him in shirtsleeves in frigid weather. I think he is/was a famous outdoors guide and wrote several books.

Awesome, this brings to mind a passage I read in Scott Carney's What Doesn't Kill Us:

At this point, it's worthwhile to mention another story about first contact between Westerners and an indigenous group. In December 1620, a group of religious outcasts from Europe landed on a foreboding spit of land on the coast of what is now called Massachusetts with the intention of setting up a colony. The settlers arrived in three rickety sailing ships and disembarked in the middle of a harsh New England winter. The colonists built a crude settlement and shivered unhappily in their drafty huts, unsure if they would be able to make it through to spring. They were alone for months until a tall, long-haired Indian walked into their camp on a windy March day wearing only a fringed loin cloth. He greeted them in English with the words "Welcome! Welcome! Englishmen!"

While the story of how Samoset knew any English at all before any Europeans had settled in North America is interesting (spoiler alert: he learned it from fishermen who had come to North America to hunt for cod), what is perhaps even more mind boggling and relevant to the topic at hand was his outfit. Being nearly naked in the Cape Cod winter is, to most people's minds, crazy. And the first thing the Pilgrims did was offer him a coat. He took it with a shrug--who wouldn't want to be warmer in the winter?

However, after Samoset introduced the Pilgrims to the local Wampanoag tribe, it turned out that the same basic garb was standard throughout the entire region. Their secret didn't rely solely on their genetics. Contemporary accounts by colonists stated that the local tribes relied on conditioning to make their children more robust. Every winter they placed their infants and children in the snow for a few minutes every day before bringing them back inside their houses. Repeated exposure helped condition the children to become comfortable in environments that would make the typical colonist want to die. Today, the state seal of Massachusetts depicts an Algonquin native in a bare bones winter outfit, an image that no doubt stuck in the minds of the Pilgrims as they considered how strange the land was in which they had chosen to live.

The Wampanoag seemed to understand intuitively that resistance to the elements wasn't an innate power. Instead, they recognized that their bodies already had all the tools necessary to survive in the environment if they made a conscious effort to adapt.
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Re: Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

Post by Paysan on Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:12 pm

The scariest part of Scott  Carney's title is the Kill part. I think most of us would be afraid of the Kill or Adapt premise - that we might not survive! Very Happy
It wasn't genetics so much as environment that contributed to the natives' cold tolerance, and is likely a trait we could all employ w/o the icy dips. Just don't ask sedentary obese individuals out to shovel sidewalks in Massachusetts right now., no matter how little they are wearing. Wink

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Re: Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

Post by srinath_69 on Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:50 am

Ok I have a few more of these but am not adapting any better - I dont know if I am or not, but I had a question.
Am I supposed to not worry about dressing warm for near about freezing weather or do I continue to dress warm ?

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Re: Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

Post by Paysan on Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:07 pm

That sort of begs the question - is cold adaptation something that must be accomplished in youth? AFAIK,  when rations got short, and it became imperative to decrease the number of mouths among the Inuit , they had the practical if horrifying practice of assisting the very old (50's onward) out to die of cold exposure.
"http://www.theinitialjourney.com/features/eskimos-old-age/
This cultural practice of assisted suicide never gets into most history books, but I was made aware of this over half a century ago, and it has always been at the back of my mind.
Srinath, just so I don't have your death on my conscience, stay warm. Very Happy

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Re: Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

Post by srinath_69 on Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:15 pm

I am pretty sure I "cold adapted" just fine even 3 yrs ago - but I also may have had an extra 300,000 cal worth of fat on board. TBH, I adapted then by riding a motorcycle in cold weather and as a general activity motorcycling generates a nice amount of adrenaline (with the cell phone wielding cagers out to get you and all). That could make a 1hr frigid experience into a "adaptation" experience. My showers are barely 5 min. May take a long time to adrenaline up, even if the 300,000 cal doesn't matter.

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Re: Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

Post by Paysan on Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:55 pm

Ah, now there's an argument for carrying a little more fat and drinking a lot less if I ever heard one. Here in the Great White North, alcoholics and drug addicts w/o extra fat and clothing are regularly frozen to death during a cold snap. They are street people who live outdoors all year round, but cannot adapt.  Nor does their youth shield them from lifestyle errors.

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Re: Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

Post by Nightly Orange on Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:35 pm

srinath_69 wrote:Ok I have a few more of these but am not adapting any better - I dont know if I am or not, but I had a question.
Am I supposed to not worry about dressing warm for near about freezing weather or do I continue to dress warm ?

I would err on the side of caution. If the cold feels really uncomfortable, and gets more uncomfortable as time goes on, it's not doing you any favors. I'd dress warmer in such a situation.

It's possible that a 5-minute cold shower each day is insufficient, and also possible (in your case in particular, lol) that caloric restriction is impeding your efforts.

My cold showers are waaayyy harder when I'm fasting. Hell, sometimes they're even difficult just after 12 hours of not eating, whereas after I have a good meal, I can actually feel my body heat ramp up. Blood rushes to my palms and makes them feel warm and kind of "plump." A cold shower 1-2 hours after a huge ribeye is a refreshing walk in the park. A cold shower after a 48-hour fast (as I experienced last week) is an excruciating exercise in mental endurance.
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Re: Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

Post by srinath_69 on Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:28 pm

Oh there is problem #2 and I am not changing this aspect either. I shower before dinner, so I am atleast 24 hr fasted.
I however think the showers are getting less uncomfortable. I can do it easier and easier now that I have a few of those done. In fact I am doing one in the next 45 mins and downright am looking forward to it slightly.

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Re: Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

Post by srinath_69 on Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:22 pm

Oh yea, 30 sec of utter hell. Then 2-3 min of recovery while I soap up. Then nearly enjoyable for a few mins, head, back, underarm etc etc all ranging between tolerable to down right enjoyable. Seriously, I cant wait to show off to the lovely the day she decides she'd want to make sure I'm not bluffing.
I went in there hungry but mildly drunk, came out hungrier and sober. So that 5 mins zapped all the alcohol (OK OK was only ~2 drinks over the prior 2 hr period but still I came down far too quick - so what's up with that).

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Re: Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

Post by srinath_69 on Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:39 am

I have a few of these under my belt. Definitely doable, BTW the water has to be 50 degrees ? what if its colder, like closer to 40 ?

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Re: Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

Post by Paysan on Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:07 pm

Wimp! Wink  Wim sat in icy water, down in the 30's. But if your wife finds you passed out in the shower and turning blue,  I'm innocent! Laughing Laughing

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Odd experience

Post by srinath_69 on Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:26 pm

Paysan wrote:Wimp! Wink  Wim sat in icy water, down in the 30's. But if your wife finds you passed out in the shower and turning blue,  I'm innocent! Laughing Laughing

I adapted faster when I was a couple drinks in. Sober cold shower is no picnic. Even less of a picnic LOL.

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Re: Winter is Coming: Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof and More

Post by Lovebird on Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:33 am

Paysan wrote:Wimp! Wink  Wim sat in icy water, down in the 30's. But if your wife finds you passed out in the shower and turning blue,  I'm innocent! Laughing Laughing

Laughing

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