detox / hydrotherapy

hydrotherapy@home: alternating hot and cold showers

First of all, wouldn’t you want a bath/shower like this? It’s so gorgeous, I’d soak in there all day (and then suffer from pruniness – so maybe that’s not the best idea)
 
Today’s hydro topic? Alternating hot and cold showers! This is going to be a hard one to sell – especially with the word cold in the title. Trust me, it’ll be just fine! I started to do this, after learning about the benefits of cold water in my Naturopathic Philosophy class. It’s really amazing how water can help heal us. When I shower, I like to take a neutral shower (not too hot), and once I’m done exfoliating and washing my hair – I finish with an alternating shower. 
 
Why would you want to take an alternating hot and cold shower? It boots our circulation and immune system, and it helps detoxify the body! 

 
A short hot water shower (try to do at least 3 minutes) has a stimulating effect on the body. It causes your blood vessels to open up, allowing better blood flow. It also increases oxygen absorption and carbon dioxide excretion which is important for detoxification. Hot water also has an intrinsic effect – meaning that the head from the water is directly transferred to your body. 
 
Since this is an alternating shower, you want to be sure to use cold water! Don’t be seduced by the hot, relaxing water. Hydrotherapy isn’t meant to be relaxing (for the most part), it”s meant to get your body working, and that sometimes may include shocking it with cold water. 
 
After you finish your hot shower, turn the dial as cold as you can tolerate. This part will only take you 30 seconds – so while you may be freezing, try to distract yourself. Sing a song! Recite a column in the multiplications table! 
 
A short cold water shower also has a stimulative effect on the body, but it’s reactive – meaning that your body is trying to protect itself. In this part of the shower, your blood vessels are constricting, and all the heat is brought inside to protect your organs. It doesn’t stay like this though, after some time your vessels will dilate. You’re also detoxifying your body (you get increased oxygen absorption and carbon dioxide excretion – more than the short hot shower), your metabolism is getting stimulated, and you’re increasing your red and white blood cells (boosting your immune system!).
 
In order to get the benefit of the alternating shower, you need to be conscious of the time! If you go over the times, and your short hot shower turns into a long hot shower – you’re depressing your circulation. Meaning that you won’t get a detoxifying effect. Same with a short cold shower turning into a long cold shower. 
 
Last thing – you want to repeat this a few times. Don’t be scared, the more you alternate the better you are at handling the cold temperature – and the greater contrast between temperatures means that you’re getting a greater effect! After doing this about 3-4 times, be sure to end with cold. Once you step out of the shower, you’ll feel invigorated and really warm!
 
Have you tried alternating showers? What do you think of them?
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