Cold baths and cold showers, even plunging into ice baths, have become very popular lately, as a suppositiously healthy way to “boost the immune system” and for general health.
In traditional medicine, we see this very differently: Cold is one of the main problems that can invade the body, and it can cause much harm. The Huang Di Nei Jing (the Yellow Emperor’s handbook of internal medicine) describes how to treat damage caused by cold with acupuncture needles. The later classic Shang Han Lun (Treaty on Cold Damage) focusses more on herbal medicine. Protecting the body from cold, by covering it up adequately according to the weather, and eating warm instead of salads and juices, is important to stay healthy.
The longing of modern man to reconnect with his body, to feel viscerally, is understandable in this age where we are pushed towards experiencing life through screens, personal relationships have been taxed and artificial foods (highly processed foods and “meat substitutes”) are supposed to nourish our bodies. However, cold is not your friend.
To really support our body and mind, long brisk walks, being in nature, genuinely connecting to another human being, prayer or meditation are much better.