I came across the book “Becoming the Iceman” by accident: a man who almost naked climbed Kilimanjaro, ran barefoot and only in boxers the distance of the marathon, was capable of staying in a container filled with ice for an hour – it sounded intriguing. What a freak! – I thought and the more I wanted to read the book.
“Becoming the Iceman” was written by Justin Rosales and Wim Hof. When Rosales heard about Hof’s achievements, he liked his approach so much that he decided to follow his footsteps and try his methods for himself. Hof’s philosophy, in a nutshell, is based on the conviction that our great-great-grandfathers didn’t have central heating, hot water bottles, hot water in taps or warm clothes, and yet they lived through periods of cold weather and winters. Well, maybe not everyone, but the majority survived, since we are now almost 8 billion.
The conclusion is that our body can adapt to the cold conditions. Don’t fight cold, just get used to it, tame it.
The book contains chapters written separately by both authors. Rosales describes how step by step he tried to get his body used to the cold, first to ice water, and then – to the weather conditions in winter, running on snow. He didn’t always succeed, but he was persistent. He writes about his fears, successes and failures, and this way, along with him we learn how extreme situations our body is capable to bear, if only we really want to and force it to do. Although the word “force” is only partially appropriate in this place, because, as Justin argues, he always tried to assess the risk and retreat if he came to the conclusion that going one step further could cause damage to health.
Why am I writing about it? Because I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t want to try something similar, although in a very light version. I will not run naked on Kilimanjaro. Nor even on Giewont. But I can take a shower in cold water… This is not much compared to the achievements of both authors of the book “Becoming the Iceman”, but that’s something. Amazingly, the first bath was not as bad as I thought. I started my attempts in June, so it was quite pleasant and refreshing, considering the heat outside. Hot weather doesn’t leave us until today, so every subsequent cold-water bath is simply a pleasure! It will be worse in autumn or winter. Will I persevere?
We already have short moments of bad weather behind us. On one of those colder evenings, I went to the shower and turned the tap on. Cold! – this time I felt it cold on the skin. All right, I will try for a moment warm water and then switch to cold. I turned the tap, but then I felt very warm water, too warm! It seems that my body has gotten used to cold water for a few weeks, that it felt lukewarm water as very warm. So, I returned to the starting position. Cold water poured down my head and back and I felt again… like back in my own body.
The benefits of cold showers are primarily a better mood, a feeling of energy flow, stimulation (works better than coffee, but also for a short time), improvement of humor (the body produces beta-endorphins, or hormones responsible for satisfaction and anesthesia), shaping the fortitude of the spirit and strong will (try it yourself, and you will know what I mean), improve the condition and appearance of the skin (cold water doesn’t dry the skin or hair – as it is in the case of hot water, it also closes pores and skin), fight against fat (affects its combustion). As the old Polish saying says – Cold water will make you healthier.
Did I feel these benefits on myself? To some extent yes! After such a cold shower I definitely feel an incredible flow of energy! As for better humor – I guess I can say it’s true, but I don’t really know if it’s because the endorphins are secreting, or I’m just very happy with myself that I stick to my goal. Spirit and strong will – for sure! Improving the condition of the skin – it’s hard to say, probably some research would show something; as for hair – hm, I will skip this one… Fighting with fat – for now my pants do not fall down…
And by the way, squeaking coming from the bathroom of those unaware of anything taking shower after me… Priceless 😉
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