Cold baths (or showers), locus coeruleus, and depression

by admin on February 8, 2011

Sauna use has been shown to affect noradrenaline levels previously. Interestingly enough, so does cold showers!
… which is significant, because noradrenaline has been shown to play a role in depression previously.

Cold showers have been shown to active the locus coeruleus which synthesizes noradrenaline.

As many of you likely already know, cold showers or ice baths are very common in many cultures that embrace sauna use.

The study’s author, Nikolai Shevchuk, believes the biological explanation revolves around a part of the brainstem known, appropriately enough, as the locus ceruleus, or “blue spot.”

Shevchuk, who formulated the theory while working in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, told Discovery News that short, cold showers may stimulate the blue spot, which is the brain’s primary source of noradrenaline — a chemical that could help mediate depression. […]

He suspects a lifestyle lacking sufficient physiological stress, such as brief changes in body temperature, may also be a contributing factor. (via.)

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