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Monday, January 26, 2009

Cold Water Won't Hurt You

My daily ablutions are done in very cold water in the public restrooms. I feel lucky to live in a clime where, though temperatures can be cold, freezing weather is unusual. Still, it is a brisk experience to wash up in the morning and take an evening shower in cold water. There are, though, some healthy benefits to it.

For instance, I have not had a cold or flu yet this winter. Having become somewhat inured to cold, I believe I have boosted my immune system by outdoor bathing. After all, germs enjoy warmth, and there is little of that in the public washrooms. There is also a wonderful internal sensation of warmth throughout the interior of my body after being in cold water for a while. This phenomenon has been noted by ascetics from around the world for centuries. There are also a number of health resorts that utilize both extremely cold water and area hot mineral springs to supply bathing pools for visitors who want an unusual, touted-as-healthy challenge during their stay. Harbin Hot Springs in Northern California is one such place. I have been there, and I did that.

Years ago, when I was a Moonie, the Japanese were taking cold showers regularly and chanting prayers. I was a bit scared in case anyone should suggest that I do the same, which, thankfully, no one did. I needed a form of penance, of course, as proving one's faith was a rule in this celibate community, but I stuck with fasting.

But, now, cold water every day?

I am wondering if I will ever return to the hot bath. Let's put it this way: I do not need a hot bath. I used to luxuriate in a regular bubble bath with scented oils. I did enjoy them, accompanied by symphonic music, a cool glass of water, and a good book. However, I did not like sweating and then feeling a chill afterwards. I did not like the water growing gradually tepid while I was in the tub, either, and having to empty and refill the tub at the same time. That was a lot of work. Languor had set in, and I was good for nothing but sleep.

After a cold shower in cold air, I could enjoy a walk, as I am alert, though I would not go so far as to say I would run a mile, which does not appeal to my temperament. Rather, I head back to my vehicle and prepare for bed. I feel gently awake, but relaxed and fall asleep easily.

Of course, I have a vehicle, which makes me wealthy among the homeless. I can get toasty warm in my truck after I have washed my hair, which is truly a luxury in the winter months. I am far better off because of owning a vehicle, and this is an entirely other topic.

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