Bond Lifestyle Rituals: the cold shower

It can be a bit of a shock at first but there are a variety of benefits to following James Bond’s example and regularly taking a cold shower. Let’s take a look at them below.

The Cold Shower

A couple of weeks ago, in Bond Lifestyle Rituals: How to get fit in less than 15 minutes a day, I took a look at how James Bond remains physically fit and discussed ways in which we can all get and remain fit by using a calisthenic routine that takes less than a quarter of an hour per day.

However, while Ian Fleming only mentioned Bond’s calisthenics routine just once, there is one ritual that was frequently mentioned in the James Bond books and with which 007 is often associated.

James Bond and the cold shower

The cold shower was introduced in Casino Royale, which sees Bond take a cold shower no less than four times, and while 007 showers in every single of Fleming’s books but one (during You Only Live Twice he is taken to a Japanese bath house instead), it is the cold shower to which he returns several times throughout the course of the books, particularly in warmer climates.

Sometimes Fleming simply mentions that Bond takes a cold (occasionally “ice-cold”) shower, sometimes he showers under hot water followed directly by cold and on a couple of occasions he follows a bath with a cold shower, occasionally washing his hair with “that prince among shampoos”, Pinaud Elixir.

Bond even saves both himself and Gala Brand from the Moonraker’s fiery exhaust when they hide in Drax’s shower and turn on the water during the launch.

Ahead of the times

James Bond was ahead of the times with showering, as showers were not common in the majority of UK houses until after Fleming died. The author apparently considered baths to be unhygienic and while he doesn’t specifically pass on this belief to Bond, it doesn’t take much imagination to think he shares his creator’s belief.

I particularly like the feeling of standing under cold water after hard exercise or just out of the sauna, and there are a number of health benefits from showering in cold water. These include:

Some health benefits of a cold shower

  • Better circulation can lower blood pressure and clear blocked arteries, leading to a healthier heart and giving your immune system a boost.
  • Reduce soreness after exercise and speed up recovery after a tough session at the gym.
  • Improve mood, ease stress and relieve depression thanks to the release of endorphins into your bloodstream.
  • Burn fat as your metabolic rate increases to regulate core temperature.
  • Boost energy through better breathing as the shock of the cold water leads you to breathe more deeply.
  • Start the day feeling invigorated and refreshed as the cold water really wakes you up!

Getting started

While turning the temperature down is a hard thing to do initially, it is something that you can learn to do for just a few seconds at a time until you get used to the feeling it brings about and begin to look forward to it.

Do it long enough – some experts in the matter say that 21 days straight will make it become habit – and you won’t feel like you’ve properly showered unless you do turn the cold water on full blast, making your nerves tingle and a shot of endorphins give you a full on rush.

Start off slowly by turning the temperature down slightly to begin with and over time you’ll find it gets easier and easier until you find your shower isn’t complete without finishing with the water turned to cold.

Let me know how you get on in the comments below.

David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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2 Responses to “Bond Lifestyle Rituals: the cold shower”

  • Emery Cormier

    Personally have showered using the hot-cold technique and didn’t hate it but also I never attemtped 21 in a row, so its not a habit. It is refreshing.

  • Javi Trujillo

    I myself fall in and out of habit with it, but it’s a cheap way to start your day with a Bondian flair.