How to use your bath or shower to Jumpstart wellness.
Activities such as sun bathing, meditation and breathwork are low cost and easy ways to help with your overall wellness, but we often overlook one of the best resources we have right in our own homes: water. Cleansing can have health benefits far beyond just removing dirt and germs from the skin’s surface. Furthermore, you can reap the benefits in as little as 15 minutes!
Hydrotherapy is the practice of using hot and cold water to soothe muscles, invigorate the central nervous system and promote healing by awakening the skin cells. Some of the benefits include:
Improved circulation – Hot water increases blood flow to the surface of the body and cold water drives blood to the core of the body. This “wave-like” effect increases blood flow and speeds up circulation, which brings fresh oxygen and nutrients to organs and takes away toxins and pathogens.
Reduces muscle pain – Hot and cold cause your muscles to expand and contact, which can create a gentle detoxification as toxins are squeezed from your muscles.
Improves lymphatic flow – Hot and cold water stimulates the lymphatic system by causing it to relax and contract in response to hot and cold water, respectively. This creates a “pump” action which helps move lymphatic fluid which may have become stagnant in the system, reducing build up of fluids and easing inflammation, as well as allowing the immune system to rid the body of foreign pathogens.
Improves mood and focus – When you’re exposed to cold, your body increases production of norepinephrine in the brain, which is involved in focus and attention. It also improves mood and alleviates pain, partly because it lowers inflammation.
Reduction of tumors – Cancerous growths can develop when proper circulation and detoxification can’t be completed by the body. When circulation and detoxification are improved, these growths can be broken down and be removed from the body.
As a result of these health promoting benefits, one may also experience a boost of energy due to the removal of toxins, increased circulation, and improved mood and cognitive function. This makes hot and cold showers a great way to start the day!
How to do hot and cold showers
Firstly, the cleanliness of your water is of utmost importance when doing hot and cold showers, so ensure you have a filtration system in place to purify your water, if required. Secondly, to get more out of your hot and cold shower routine, try dry skin brushing using a natural-bristle skin brush. Do this right before your hot and cold shower routine for additional benefits. Want to learn more about dry skin brushing? Read our article here.
Note: while hot and cold showers are generally safe, if you have any sort of medical condition, discuss it with your doctor beforehand. Since both hot and cold put stress on your heart and cardiovascular system, it may be contraindicated for those with serious heart conditions. Listen to your body, and go slowly with your hot and cold tolerance and build up to the full routine, if required.
Hot and Cold Shower Routine
Make sure your bathroom is not too cluttered as this also clutters your mind, making you feel less calm. Glass shower panels will help so that you don’t feel confined in your shower, again making you feel calmer.
Get in the shower and get completely wet at a temperature that is completely comfortable for you.
Slowly increase the temperature to the point you can barely stand it. Expose all areas of the body to this hotter water, including the top of your head and your face. Do this for a minimum of 30 seconds and up to 2 minutes for more effect.
Now turn the water down to the coldest tolerable setting, and expose all areas of the body to this colder water. Do this for a minimum of 30 seconds and up to 2 minutes for more effect.
Repeat this alternating hot and cold exposure 5 times or more, always ending with cold.
At first, your hot and cold tolerance may be minimal, and it is important to honour your extremes in the beginning. However, you should work on building up to hotter and colder temperatures to increase your tolerance and the health benefits of the routine.