Over the past week, you’ve probably seen a video of somebody performing the latest viral internet sensation: the ice bucket challenge. The rules of the challenge? Dump a bucket of ice water over your head (posting a video as proof) or donate $100 to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research. A series of tech icons, from Mark Zuckerberg to Bill Gates have accepted the challenge, which then gives them the right to dare someone else.

All of which is a great way to draw attention to an important cause. Which we’re going to do today by talking about the very important benefits of…cold showers. And then there’s a discount code for 10% off Snowballs below.

Hot baths (or showers) are a recent invention. You used to have to go to naturally formed hot springs to experience that comfort, but even the Greeks and Romans, who developed the technology to heat their public baths, still took cold baths for the health benefits.

Even today, after that hot sauna, hammam, or steam bath, you’re meant to jump into a pool of cold water.

Top-level athletes take ice baths to recover quicker from injuries or draining workouts.

And then there’s James Bond who, you may recall, swears by the benefits of cold showers (actually he starts them hot and gradually turns them colder in what’s called a “Scottish shower”), and one good philosophy to live by is that if James Bond is doing it, then you want to be doing it too.

So what is it about cold showers? Are they just some misguided way of proving you’re tough, or do they actually make you tough? In fact, there are some astonishing health benefits to cold showers:

1. Protect healthy skin and hair. Hot water dries out skin and hair, and opens pores. Conversely, cold water can make your hair look shinier and your skin look healthier.

2. Increase energy and well-being. Cold showers energize, invigorate, and can reduce stress. The hearts starts pumping stronger, and the flow of blood throughout the body can kickstart you even better than a cup of coffee.

3. Improve sleep. In Sweden, babies are often taken for naps outside into the cold, where they’ve been shown to sleep more soundly. And insomniacs are often advised to take cold showers as a sleep aid.

4. Relieve depression. The Department of Radiation Oncology at V.C.U.’s School of Medicine has produced a study showing that short, cold showers can stimulate the brain’s “blue spot”, the primary source of noradrenaline, a chemical that helps clear the clouds of depression.

5. Strengthen immunity. According to a study done in 1993 by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England, individuals who took daily cold showers saw an increased metabolic rate and an increase in the body’s number of virus-fighting white blood cells. In Siberia, there’s a ritual called Rodnichok in which a bucket of cold water is regularly dumped over children’s heads until the age of 6 or 7. 95% of the children who participate in Rodnichok are healthy through the flu season, as opposed to 75% of those who don’t.

6. Increase testosterone. That same study by the Thrombosis Research Institute showed that cold showers increase testosterone production in men, which not only boosts libido, but also strength and energy

7. Maximize fertility. We’ve said this many times before. The testicles are located outside the body in order to keep cool, and if you can lower your daily average temperature, you’re giving your “sperm factory” its best chance to efficiently produce perfect little swimmers. We even invented Snowballs for this reason, and only now are we discovering all the other benefits of “manly cooling”. But whether you want kids now or at some point in the future, your fertility massive reason to get a little cooler. The University of California at San Francisco recently did a study with men who were exposed to 30 minutes weekly of “wet heat” (hot baths and showers). When the men avoided “wet heat”, their sperm counts went up by 491%, and sperm motility improved as well. Want to learn more about the science behind all of this? We have a massive list of serious medical studies demonstrating the benefits of cooling up in the Science section of our website.

So? Ready to take the plunge? Start gradually decreasing the water temperature every time you shower, and see how you feel. We’re pretty confident you’ll experience the benefits after your first cold(ish) shower, and once you work up the nerve to turn the knob colder and colder over time, you won’t want to go back to your overheated days.

And if cold showers have so many benefits, and make you feel so good, imagine how Snowballs make you feel! Imagine the benefits of carrying that coolness around with you all the time…

Want to try them out? Right now with this discount code – getcool – you’ll get 10% off your first purchase. They’re affordable, and they’re good for you. So what have you got to lose? Take the ice bucket challenge to a completely different level…with Snowballs!