Written by: Christina Vestey
And Crawling out of bed and heading into a warm shower feels like it takes the edge of getting up in the morning. However adding a cold shower to the mix may feel like the last thing you want to do. But the chances are after a few days, you will enjoy the morning buzz it gives. And start to enjoy the myriad of benefits associated with hot/cold therapy.
Whilst the benefits of a hot bath or shower are well known. Using cold water is a lesser known centuries old treatment to enhance wellbeing, stimulate healing and cleanse toxins from the body. Which is why alternating or ending on a cold note will give you the benefits of both. Below are some benefits of hot/cold water therapy;
- Enhances energy levels: Switching from a hot or warm shower to a cold shower deepens your breathing and increases your heart rate. This will result in a rush of blood through your body that is energising and awakening.
- Strengthens the immune system: A study in the journal PLoS One found that people who take cold showers are 29% less likely to call in sick for work or school. This is because introducing a cold water shower or bath can increase the metabolic rate that activates your immune system. Which releases virus-fighting white blood cells that may help you get sick less frequently.
- Reduces Pain: According to an article in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences, applying cold water can offer pain relief as it acts as a local anesthetic. Exposing the body to cold water can also cause blood vessels to contract. Which can help reduce swelling and edema that cause pain.
- Improves blood circulation: Cold water therapy can help you improve circulation and avoid hypertension and the hardening of arteries.
- It can boost metabolism: As the body has to work harder to maintain a stable temperature when exposed to cold water. Switching your hot shower to cold towards the end can help boost the metabolism. Which in turn can help in reducing weight.
- Helps the body to recover from muscle work outs more quickly: It is common practice in many athletic activities to take a cold shower or bath as it quickly relieves heat exertion, reduces inflammation and reduces fatigue.
- Stress buster and mood enhancer: Cold water activates the central nervous system and increases feel good endorphins which can help you feel less depressed. It is important to note however that this is not a cure and should not act as a replacement for prescribed depression treatment.
- Great for skin: While hot water dries out the skin by opening pores and drawing out the bodies natural oils. Cold water tightens your cuticles and pores, preventing them from getting clogged. Which helps to hold in moisture and prevents skin from losing natural oils.
After you have had your warm shower. Turn the tap to cold and enjoy the invigorating freshness of the cold water for a few minutes. Allow the cold water to flow over your lymph glands at the base of your neck and under your arms. This helps the body remove toxins.
It should be noted however that while cold baths and showers are generally safe. If you suffer from any health condition check with your medical doctor first.
If you want to find out more scientific benefits of hydroptherapy take a look here: