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The Benefits of Cold Exposure for POTS and Overall Health

Updated: May 16, 2022

One of the most powerful things we can do for our body is to stimulate our vagus nerve. Why?

Because it helps in the transition from the "fight-or-flight" into "rest and digest". Being in a state of "rest and digest", our heart rate slows and prioritizes blood flow to our internal organs.

In this state, your body can heal, digest, detoxify, and build immunity.

How can we stimulate the vagus nerve for this effect? One of the ways is by taking cold showers. How does it help?

It might help to think of the process from start to finish.

1) When you expose your body to cold water, it gets a shock and its first instinct is to move the blood rapidly inwards towards the internal organs so that they can stay warm and protected.

2) This results in a tightening of the blood vessels. The shock to the body stimulates circulation and turns on the heart and lungs.

3) It also acts as a way of forced meditation. When you are cold, it's hard to focus on anything else. So, you have to be 100% focused on the body.

For those of you cutting out caffeine, it’s also a great replacement.

Over time, prolonged and consistent exposure will result in a stronger nervous system.

How to do it?

1) Start slowly with water that’s just a bit cold.

2) As you expose yourself to cold, you will feel the need to breathe more. So, to avoid hyperventilating once you are in the cold shower, practice deep belly breathing before getting in. This will help your body feel safe and that everything is okay.

3) When you’re in the cold water, continue breathing deeply. Over time, you will notice that you will slowly get more used to this and will be able to try this with even colder temperatures. I like to visualize myself under a beautiful waterfall out in nature while doing this.

For those with POTS, it can also help to do this at the end of the shower so that you’re not feeling so lightheaded and overheated.

What has your experience been with cold exposure? Let me know in the comments below.


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