Enter the Spartan Shower: The Best Way to Light a Fire under your Butt

Spartanshower

If you have hung around here long enough, you will know that I am slightly obsessed with Spartan culture. Whether it is my inner stoic, the appeal of fitness or the discipline that ignites my interest, I can’t help but find value in learning about them.

The Spartans were pretty much the bad boys of Greece. Their culture bred warriors, and was known for their equally beautiful women. They were unorthodox for their time, and their training and discipline was paramount.

For us to adopt even the smallest of these methods would be sacrilegious today. Intermittent fasting? Eating the same food as everyone else, with everyone else? Physical training? Cold water?

Their culture put more emphasis on value, character, and merit.

One other thing they did was despise hot or warm showers.

They believed that they emasculated a man and made him weak.

Enter the Spartan Shower.

 

What is a Spartan Shower?

Most of you may have heard of something called a “Spartan Shower”, "cold shower therapy" or at least something similar to it.

By definition it is an ice-cold shower taken daily to enhance ones mental toughness and physical well-being.

The Spartans immersed themselves in cold water to increase vitality and evoke an indomitable spirit.

When you think of a cold shower, you might get goosebumps or immediately shy away. This is exactly what the Spartans were combating.

Our natural tendency is to stay away from anything that we see or feel is uncomfortable.

The concept of taking a cold shower is nothing new. The Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks (as mentioned above) have it recorded in the history of their civilization. They used to bathe in water with essential oils (something else big today).

James Bond has been known to take a cold shower. In fact in the books by Ian Fleming, he used to start off the shower warm and then gradually go colder right until the moment he was done. This is known as a "Scottish Shower."

There are a lot of claims about what cold water showers can do for you, not all of them are backed scientifically, but there are definite, immediate results that you can benefit from.

Benefits of a Spartan Shower

  • Improved Circulation
    • When you take a cold shower the experience of the "cold" hitting your skin causes your body to have an initial cold shock. You start hyperventilating (breathing quickens) and your heart rate increases. All of your blood is pumping to your vital organs to keep them warm. 
  • Improved Immune System
    • One study where 15 healthy people swam 150 meters in cold temperature (6 degrees C), showed that red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets count increased significantly from the previous day. "When represented by brief exposure to cold water, winter swimming induces strong non-pathological modifications of haematological homeostasis."
    • Source : Effect of winter swimming on haematological parameters
  • Improved mood, decreased anxiety and stress, relieves depression
    • Another study showed that "practical testing by a statistically insignificant number of people, who did not have sufficient symptoms to be diagnosed with depression, showed that the cold hydrotherapy can relieve depressive symptoms rather effectively"
    • Source: Adapted Cold Shower as a potential treatment for depression
  • Improves hair and skin
    • It is proven that warm or hot water dries out your skin. Cold water does not. This is a fact, there isn't much science behind it. I have tested and proved this with my own skin.
  • Conditions you to be fearless
    • If you take a cold shower in the morning, or whenever, you are simply choosing the option to not be comfortable. All you have to do is turn the hot faucet on, and then step in and let the warm water wash over you. Or you can be different, and choose something challenging, uncomfortable and unconventional in our modern world. In my opinion this type of thinking is conditioning you to always choose the harder option.
    • In my experiences, the harder option always has far better benefits, such as character, wisdom, knowledge. These are the things that you can see or feel right away, but in the end they are the only things that matter.

 

Things that I have personally noticed

  • Increased alertness and vigor
    • I wake up at 4:00 am everyday. By 4:30 am I am at the gym working out, or on the trail running. When I get home around 6:00 am, I then take a cold shower. After this shower, I feel more alive than I have ever felt.
    • I believe that the exercise wakes me up , and the cold shower serves as a catalyst for my day. It helps me feel like I can do anything and gives me the surge I need in the morning.
  • My skin is not dry and scaly anymore
    • I was having all sorts of skin issues. I had dray and scaly skin on my hands and legs, also my face would get dry. Since I have been taking cold showers I haven't had flaky skin and my skin looks healthy and shines. I don't have the dryness or scales on my hands and legs anymore.
  Before. i drank 2 to 3 cups of coffee and warm showers

Before. i drank 2 to 3 cups of coffee and warm showers

  AFTER 5 days of cold shower and no coffee

AFTER 5 days of cold shower and no coffee

  • Feel like I could take on the world. Increased energy.
    • Like I said before, the immediate feeling of increased awareness and vitality is completely worth it to me. It makes me more ready for my day, and sends me from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds as opposed to trying to stay comfortable for the next 2 hours.
    • I have replaced the warm shower and the coffee for a cold shower and no coffee. It's not easy, but the benefits far outweigh the comfort for me.
  • Makes me feel like more of a man.
    • Our ancestors didn't have access to warm showers until they started heating the water, but even then you had to pay for it. It wasn't uncommon to jump in a lake, stream or river to wash off the day. 
    • If you have ever jumped in a mountain stream you know it's cold and it will take your breath away. It is refreshing though.
    • A cold shower is a way to bring us closer to our roots (my opinion). That fact alone makes me feel better. Makes me feel more like a man.
 

The Swedish Iceman

I wanted to share this with you in case you don't believe that you can take a cold shower. The truth is, you can do far more than you think you are capable of.

Meet the Iceman

Wim Hof is the modern day iceman, he has 26 world records including longest ice bath.

Hof completed a full marathon (42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi)), above the arctic circle in Finland, in temperatures close to −20 °C (−4 °F). Dressed in nothing but shorts, Hof finished in 5 hours and 25 minutes (Wikipedia)

Want to know what his daily routine is? Watch the Video Below.

Warning: Do Not Take a Spartan Shower if:

  • You have any sort of underlying heart conditions
  • You suffer from any sort of serious illness
  • Your doctor advises you not to.

 

Final Thoughts

Although you may read about all the science behind taking cold showers, I'm still not convinced that any of it is necessarily true or not true. However, in my own opinion there is strong evidence that suggests that the benefits of cold showers far outweigh the alternative. 

I have seen massive amounts of improvement in my own life by engaging in them. I am sure that you will reap the rewards as well as long as you don't let FEAR hold you back.

Let me know of your experiences in the comments. Has this post helped you? Will you take a cold shower in the future.

More reading for your pleasure.


Stephen is an avid reader, runner, fitness enthusiast and doer of "stuff." You can follow him on social media, or reach him at 360manproject@gmail.com