Lindsay Bottoms does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
A cold shower in the morning is a pretty unpleasant way to start the day. Yet many have been tempted to take up the habit because being immersed in cold water has many purported health benefits, both physical and mental.
Cold showers were first administered for health reasons in the early 19th century when doctors designed them for use on asylum and prison inmates to “cool hot, inflamed brains, and to instil fear to tame impetuous wills”.
By the mid-19th century, the Victorians realised that the shower had other uses, namely washing people – and it would be better if the water was warm. So the shower went from being a device used to inflict unpleasantness for an hour and a half to one that was very pleasant and lasted about five minutes.
And yet the practice of taking a cold shower for health benefits never truly went away, and, indeed, seems to be enjoying a resurgence. Especially among Silicon Valley types.