Ice-cold baths, drinking urine: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Madonna, Lady Gaga swear by these bizarre health tricks
In the winters, even taking a hot shower every day seems like the worst thing in the world because you know those droplets will turn into icicles the moment you step out, so taking cold showers or ice baths is a very long shot!
Like Seinfeld’s George Costanza (played by Jason Alexander) says in Season 6’s episode, The Jimmy, “Cold showers? They’re for psychotics!”
We totally agree with George, but then why are so many celebrities and sportsmen swearing by cold showers, and attributing their fitness and physique to them? Most recently Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who follows Vipassana meditation and intermittent fasting, revealed that he takes cold showers and only eats seven meals a day.
In an interview with Wired, Dorsey said that he does sauna and takes ice baths very often. He said, “I definitely do not do a sauna and ice bath every day. During the day, I feel so much more focused. You have this very focused point of mind... I can go to bed and actually knock out in 10 minutes, if not sooner than that.”
He added that taking ice-cold baths helped unlock his mind and allow him to take on any challenge and that a 15-minute sauna session in the evening, followed by another three-minute ice-bath, helps him relax.
What’s interesting is that celebrities including Madonna, Lady Gaga, Liam Neeson, Katharine Hepburn, Miranda Kerr, Kate Moss, to name a few. Much like Frozen’s Elsa, it seems the “cold doesn’t bother them anyway.”
Madonna posted a video of herself on Instagram, sharing her beauty routine with her fans, and it was quite bizarre. The 61-year-old takes an ice-cold bath at 3 AM, to help soothe her injuries. She then has a drink of her own urine.
In the video, the Like a Virgin singer said, “It’s really good to drink urine after you’ve got out of the frozen bath.” Madonna has once famously even urinated on her own foot to cure her Athlete’s foot. Well, if urine lets you look like Madonna at 61, maybe it ain’t all bad.
Lady Gaga also takes an ice-cold bath, the A Star Is Born actor took to her Instagram and posted multiple pictures of herself in an ice bath, she captioned the post, “Ice bath for 5-10 min, hot bath for 20, then compression suit packed with ice packs for 20.”
Lady Gaga suffers from fibromyalgia, which causes widespread muscle pain and tenderness, in a November 2016 post on Instagram, she wrote, “When my body goes into a spasm one thing I find really helps is infrared sauna... In order to not overheat my system and cause more inflammation, I follow this with either a VERY cold bath, ice bath (if you can stand it, it’s worth it)... it helps me to keep doing my passion, job, and the things I love even on days when I feel like I can’t get out of bed.”
In fact, Alia Bhatt and Katrina Kaif also have their version of this ice bath therapy. In an interview with Vogue India, Alia said, “If I wake up in the morning and my face is very puffy, I just dab some ice on it.” Katrina also uploaded a video of herself dunking her face in ice-cold water to “wake herself up” for an early morning shoot. And it’s true, ice does help with puffiness, tightens pores and even slows down skin ageing.
Here’s how cold water showers and ice cold baths are good for you:
Improves skin and hair
Warm water expands your pores and cuticles, while cold water contracts them. Hot water also strips your skin of its natural oils, while cold water doesn’t. So washing your face with cold water not only tightens your pores but also maintains the quality of your skin and keeps it shining. And we all know dry skin means more wrinkles.
Improved blood circulation
When you bathe with cold water the blood moves towards your organs to keep you warm, while the opposite happens during a hot shower. A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine researched that cold showers have many physiological effects on the body including increased heart rate, higher blood pressure and elevated respiratory rate.
As mentioned, cold showers increase one’s heart rate as opposed to hot showers which relax our muscles as the blood moves towards the surface of the skin. However, an increased heart rate means increased alertness.
A study in the journal PLoS One found that people who take cold showers are 29% less likely to call in sick for work or school. This is because when the body tries to warm itself up during a cold shower, it activated the immune system by releasing white blood cells.
Cold showers help relieve muscle soreness. An article in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences states that the application of cold water can have local anaesthetic-like effects for pain relief. When blood vessels are exposed to water they constrict, which helps swelling and oedema which cause pain.
Helps combat depression
Cold showers not only have physical benefits but mental too. A study published in the journal Medical Hypotheses found that cold showers could be used as a treatment for depression. The cold water sets off cold receptors on our skin causing our body to send a large number of electrical impulses from the nerve endings to the brain. This improves your mood by producing an anti-depressive effect. It also is said to have an analgesic effect.
Cold showers lower the level of uric acid in our body and boost the production of glutathione in the blood, this antioxidant is responsible for reducing stress.
Don’t start with an ice bath directly, start by slowly getting yourself accustomed to the cold temperature and slowly increase the intensity over time.
Also, while cold showers are reportedly the best for you, one should avoid them if they have heart diseases, high blood pressure, signs of fever, if they feel overheated or when menstruating.