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This helps me,,, but why -- [Cold showers/baths]

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Darran321, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. J.G

    J.G

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    Hey, thanks. I will consider that next time I struggle to muster the physical strength and/or resolve to take an icy cold shower. My trick so far – and this is going to sound weird – is to think of Niki Lauda. When that man was hospitalised in 1976 with half his complexion consumed by flames, coughing up the burned out lining of his longs while James Hunt was out there winning races, he swore to fight back. Six weeks later he was on the grid again. A year later he cinched his second world championship. If a man can survive all that, I can get my ass under that frigid beam. Dramatic, I know, but it works.

    From what I understand, for athletes to reap the benefits of ice baths, they need to totally submerge their bodies for some 2 minutes. I don’t know what bits of your body suffer from (hypothetical) lactate build-up most, but for me, the brain fog that builds with intellectual effort (as though my mind just “poops out” over time, usually <45mins even when feeling at my best) is by far the most irritating symptom of ME/CFS. (Besides feeling horrendously unwell >50% of the time, of course.) It stops any intellectual effort I try and make dead in its tracks. My point is: when I take icy showers, I try and give my head the full treatment on the assumption lactate is causing fogginess. An icepack might not cut it entirely (though I appreciate the suggestion!)

    Also, from what I read, to get that vagus nerve stimulus that helps the shift from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest”, it’s literally necessary to give oneself (mild) thermal shock. Yikes. Oddly, one does acclimate to taking icy showers. I’ve been doing this for 5-6 weeks now, and it definitely gets easier. The first couple of weeks I’d get this involuntary heavy breathing as my body panicked at the torrent of 10C water pouring down on it; nowadays I barely flinch. Odd, but true. Less positively, this acclimatisation also makes me worry that cold showers’ effects on the vagus nerve will eventually stop as the body adjusts to such exposure, but we’ll see.
     
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  2. J.G

    J.G

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    To post a quick update: yes, I still benefit quite a lot from taking cold showers. For up to an hour afterwards, I feel significantly less tired than usual. My eyes don't burn, the brain fog lifts, and that persistent feeling of general malaise dissipates. Also, I've noticed that temperature matters. The colder the water, the greater the effect.

    I did a bit of googling on "hydrotherapy", "cold thermogenesis" and "fatigue", and came across this 2007 academic article by Shevchuk on the hypothetical transient benefits of cold exposure in CFS. I'm sure it's been posted on these forums before.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2164952/

    Abstract:
    "This work hypothesizes that repeated cold stress may reduce fatigue in CFS because brief exposure to cold may transiently reverse some physiological changes associated with this illness. For example, exposure to cold can activate components of the reticular activating system such as raphe nuclei and locus ceruleus, which can result in activation of behavior and increased capacity of the CNS to recruit motoneurons. Cold stress has also been shown to reduce the level of serotonin in most regions of the brain (except brainstem), which would be consistent with reduced fatigue according to animal models of exercise-related fatigue. Finally, exposure to cold increases metabolic rate and transiently activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis as evidenced by a temporary increase in the plasma levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone, beta-endorphin and a modest increase in cortisol. The increased opioid tone and high metabolic rate could diminish fatigue by reducing muscle pain and accelerating recovery of fatigued muscle, respectively."
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  3. mariovitali

    mariovitali Senior Member

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    I believe that this action helps to ameliorate inflammatory response which may be associated with ME/CFS
     
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  4. nanonug

    nanonug Senior Member

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    Virginia, USA
    Exposure to cold gets you a massive release of epinephrine from your adrenals. Epinephrine is a vasoconstrictor, among other things, and this action alone will resolve vasodilation-induced headaches. You may be able to achieve the same effect with a nicotine lozenge or maybe even a very strong cup of coffee.
     
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  5. liverock

    liverock Senior Member

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  6. Sundancer

    Sundancer Senior Member

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    Hmm, might give it a try.
    I've long shied away from it because I'm very vulnerable to get a cold, then bad snuffles and get otitis. But as this winter has passed without added viruses or severe colds...
    I might, if it helps I would not mind it being very unpleasant
     
  7. gregh286

    gregh286 Senior Member

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    Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
    Blood flow surge after bath as body returns to core body temperature.

    Sure it cured sam cameron sister......:):):):)
    A mircale cure....

    http://www.meassociation.org.uk/201...-with-m-e-for-a-year-daily-mail-27-june-2015/
     
  8. Sundancer

    Sundancer Senior Member

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    scuse me, but when you're still able to swim i have some doubts whether that was ME.
    But very happy she was cured from chronic fatigue
     
  9. gregh286

    gregh286 Senior Member

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    Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
    Must have been trendy to have cfs in notting hill at the time.
    Nonsense like that just cripples our real voices.
     

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