Cold showers

Hey guys, I have started doing cold showers as of two days ago and already feel a massive improvement. Hoping it’s not a placebo effect though lol. Anyways I have done some research on how cold showers and ice baths with breathing have helped many people in various areas of chronic pain as well as just strengthening the body’s overall health. This guy named Wim Hof has broken many world records involving enduring the cold and has helped many people through breathing, cold showers, and ice baths heal.
I don’t think cold showers and baths are a “cure” to ES or any other chronic condition but, I do think it may help a lot.
Would love to get some feedback on what you guys think, and if you have already tried it or were ever considering trying cold shower/baths for a sustained period of time.
Here are some articles.

Not for me, I can’t bear the cold! But hope it keeps helping…ice does help some people with their pain so good if it works :grinning:

Hi hyperichard,

Super duper that you’ve found something non-drug related that’s helping w/ your symptoms!! I’m familiar w/ Wim Hof & have watched at least one video where he was teaching his breathing & training for swimming in Arctic water techniques. I agree w/ Jules. Cold is not my thing, BUT there is much evidence that the shock that very cold water causes to the body is a powerful stimulant for the vagus nerve. Since many ES symptoms are related to vagal dysfunction, cold therapy is one direction we can go to help the vagus nerve get back to more proper function. Another member recommended gargling which I’ve also read about & also humming. So, when you take a cold shower/bath, try humming & gargling (but not simultaneously :joy:) during your time in the cold water. The combination may just do something even more amazing for you!!

I agree, cold shower has a lot of benefits. With regards to Vascular Eagle Syndrome, I hypothesize that the relief comes from the vascular constriction that the cold induces on the blood vessels particularly the Jugular vien and the collateral Veins & vertebral venous plexus which get blood rerouted to them due to the compression of jugular veins. Since the jugular vein is compressed the blood tend to backup to the brain and the collateral Veins & vertebral venous plexus, so when a cold is introduced to the body, Veins constrict forcing the venous valves to open to push blood out relieving the congested veins around the neck. The other mechanism that I hypothesize is, since all vessels are constricted when in cold shower, the net blood flow is reduced, thereby decreasing the intercranial pressure a bit.

I have experienced this myself. if I go out in the winter with little clothing, My neck pain and tightness along with head pressure is relieved. So I was wondering how can that be. Though it is just my thought, the mechanism of feeling relief had to do with vasoconstriction in part but this theory needs to be tested. The cold acts like compression socks that help with varicose vein disease and push blood up to the heart by opening the superficial venous valves .

Another important feature of cold shower is the increase of the mitochondria (the cell power producers). All the high energy demanders such as the brain and muscles use it and a decline of mitochondria is linked to a number of neurodegenerative diseases and premature aging (The effects of exercise and cold exposure on mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle and white adipose tissue), ( Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Chronic Disease: Treatment With Natural Supplements) ( The Mitochondrial Basis of Aging)


Nice explanation, KoolDude! Your suggestion about vasoconstriction & lowered blood flow helping w/ IH makes a lot of sense.

Thanks for the article link. Sounds like some good initial research. Funny I never thought about mice having soleus muscles!

I think this has come up in other discussions, but cold showers & getting cold are also supposed to be helpful vagus nerve stimulants, thus in ES cases where the vagus nerve is annoyed, the cold shower idea would potentially provide reduction in symptoms for both the IH & vagus irritation.


Dr. Rhonda Patrick is the authority on this. She has done a number of research on this topic. If you are not into reading a long and boring scientific researches and needed a brief list of science based benefits of it, her site (FoundMyFitness Topic - Cold exposure) has a well summarized report on cold exposure and its benefits.


Definitely not into long, boring research articles & usually don’t know how to read or comprehend the charts & graphs. I tend to cut to the chase & read the abstract, intro & conclusion or the study summary if one is included. That’s the meat in my mind. (Sorry if this approach is offensive to those of you who are in the medical sciences, but it works for me!)

Interestingly, I looked up Dr. Patrick & partially watched a couple of YouTube presentations she made on the use of heat to help reduce depression, insomnia & some other problems. It seems there is evidence that thermal dysregulation in our bodies can lead to some serious health issues. Who knew that heat or cold, depending on the problem, could be so therapeutic!?!

Thank you for another good link, KoolDude!


Hi Isaiah,

There is more to this question “Who knew that heat or cold, depending on the problem, could be so therapeutic!?!”. I am not molecular biologists nor am I qualified to provide an exhaustive answer to it but based on my pursuit of healthy habits, I have come across many scientific studies that show a little bit of stress is good for our bodies. According to those studies, the mechanism lies in the ability of our bodies to turn on genes that are protective in nature when in a moderate stress. These genes are not turned on normally and only are activated when you subject the body to a stress. For example, exercise is a form of stress to the body and we all know the benefits of that. You build muscles by damaging them so they repair and you keep damaging them if you want them to grow strong. So the repair mechanism can only be turned on by damage to the muscle fibers. Similarly, the immune system gets turned on by infection among other things, and only through that your body produces neutralizing antibodies but to do that it has to raise your core body temperature and induce a temporary stress on the body. So it turned out that our bodies have protective pathways, that are only activated by stress. In the case of cold, for example, cold shock proteins are generated which have been shown to protect nervous system and cells throughout the body by activating protective enzymes to regenerate neuron cells among other things. They also help release beneficial hormones/neurotransmitters. In the case of Sauna heat, it activates heat shock proteins which have many various benefits including repairing disordered proteins that cause disease like Alzheimer’s disease (amyloid proteins), Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease etc. They tone your immune system, help cell repair and improve vascular system by protecting vascular walls from damages and keep them elastic. You hear fasting nowadays everywhere. The is because fasting like cold, heat and exercise is form of stress for the body to consume all bad cells; fat cells, cancer cells, bacteria/virus pathogens and excess sugar as energy. In the absence of food, the survival mechanism turns on all unimportant cell including tumors as an energy source. So it is form of stress to cleanse the body of accumulated toxic waste.

Bottom line is, The body needs moderate stress to function optimally.



I LOVE this explanation you sent. It totally makes sense. I just never thought about the types of things that create stress in our bodies & how those can be beneficial! I’m printing your post so I can easily re-read it & “digest” it more completely.

I guess some new life practices are in order for me (but I do hate getting really cold…maybe it’s because I have Raynaud’s Syndrome, & my hands & feet are almost always cold. :wink:) I do know that cold showers would be good for my vagus nerve which has a mind of its own some days. My only sauna experience wasn’t great as I felt claustrophobic in the heat & very small, in home sauna I was using, & I had a panic attack (this was back in 1985). Maybe I should try it again sometime in a larger sauna. :joy:

Thank you for the education. :hugs:

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