Although we need more research, the age-old practice of covering oneself in cold water has been shown to have beneficial health benefits, including helping to lift your mood.
For example, studies show that cold water swimming can tamp down inflamation which is often identified as a cause of depression.
And we know that dousing your face in cold water can trigger the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, which has been shown to help the body relax in response to a stressful situation.
Spending short amounts of time in icy water has also been shown to lead to the release of stress hormones including beta-endorphins, cortisol and noradrenaline. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that’s often created in response to stress.
In addition, because of the high density of cold receptors in the skin, a cold shower is believed by many to send a high level of electrical impulses from nerve endings in the body to the brain, which could help people feel less depressed.
There is actually a non-profit organization in the United Kingdom called Mental Health Swims, which has grown from one local groups to 80 groups across the county in a few short years.
But experts stress that just because a little bit of cold water could be good for you does not mean that lots of cold water is also good for you. Remember: all things in moderation.