Your shower can boost your energy, relieve your stress and so much more.
Most people shower to stay clean and fresh. But for others, showering can be a source of therapy. Whether it’s a cold or hot shower, the effects of showering on our personal well-being are tremendous.
Here are some of the therapeutic effects of both hot and cold showers on our bodies.
Cold showers are common practice in many countries and have been around for much longer (before we were spoiled with in-home water heaters). Many health benefits are associated with taking cold showers, the most popular one being improved circulation. Cold water hitting the body causes blood to move closer to the inner organs to keep them warm. This act increases the overall blood circulation in your body.
A cold shower also:
Improves general resilience
For most people, stepping into a cold shower is an uphill task. It takes a lot of courage, especially during the first few times before you get used to it. The cold water also reduces stress by numbing the nervous system, thereby making you calm and less likely to overreact to situations.
Those who take a cold shower in the morning are most likely to be more energetic than their counterparts who take a hot shower. The cold jabs of water will surprise the body, leaving you gasping for air. This, in turn, increases your oxygen intake and heart rate, leading to improved awareness and a more energetic state.
Boosts the immune system
As you take a cold shower, your body struggles to stay warm by increasing its metabolic rate. This results in the body producing more white blood cells because it thinks it’s under attack. White blood cells are responsible for protecting your body and boosting your immune system, making you less susceptible to disease. The increased blood circulation when taking a shower also helps muscle tissues regenerate faster.
Could help reduce depression
As the cold water shocks the nervous system, the nerves send a signal to the brain and activate the part of the brain responsible for releasing hormones that reduce depression. Additionally, the cold water sends electrical impulses from your nerve endings to your brain, which could also have an anti-depressive effect.
Rejuvenates the skin
One can stand in a cold shower for hours without fearing that your skin will dry out. Unlike a hot shower, it will leave your skin feeling fresh and moisturized. This is because cold water doesn’t dry out the fatty layer responsible for protecting the skin.
Cold water coming from shower panels with jets can be cheaper, more efficient and very effective compared to massage therapy. Rather than booking an appointment with a massage therapist, try using an almond oil with a cold shower. Rub the oil on your body before stepping into the shower. The trick is to stay in the shower until your body adjusts to the water temperature and you no longer feel cold.
Those who prefer hot showers have nothing to worry about, since hot showers have several benefits as well.
Feeling sore or stiff around your shoulders and neck? An easy way to relieve that pain is to stand under a hot shower for a few minutes as you let the water run on those stiff spots. It can be helpful to do some simple motions, such as rolling the shoulders or gently rubbing the neck, as the water runs.
Steam from hot shower is a good remedy for congested chests or stuffy noses. It helps in drying out any mucus, thus improving the respiratory system. For this reason, it’s advisable for people with flu or a cough to take hot showers and avoid cold ones.
Rather than shocking the nerves, a hot shower relaxes them. Hot showers also reduce any tension in your muscles. This results in your entire body feeling calm and fresh. Taking a hot shower after a long day can help get rid of your stress. Be careful not to spend too much time under the shower, however, as this could damage your skin.
The relaxation effect that hot water has on the body is essential in helping one sleep well. Just don’t shower too close to your bed time, as hot showers raise your internal body temperature—try an hour and half before bed. For even better results, add a few drops of relaxation oil in the shower.
Relieves menstrual cramps
Cold showers can increase the intensity of cramps. Hot showers, on the other hand, can reduce cramps, since the hot water relaxes your muscles. It’s an efficient and effective way to get some relief during that time of the month.
A major cause of headaches and migraines is constriction of blood vessels. Hot showers relieve this by aiding in the expansion of those vessels, ensuring proper blood flow.
Hot showers as therapy are just as effective as cold showers. Hot showers relax the muscles and nerves, leading to the relaxation of the whole body. You can also rub relaxation oil or herbs on your body before stepping into the shower. This will help relieve any muscle pain and help your body release harmful toxins.
Both hot and cold water have therapeutic benefits. But don’t forget that they can also have negative effects, like drying the skin and intensifying menstrual cramps. Consider these before deciding on which type of shower to use for your therapy. The best part is that both are methods that you can apply in the comfort of your home and get useful results.
Our editor took “Iceman” Wim Hof’s 10-week InnerFire challenge, including using cold therapy at the beginning of each day.
Photo credit: vadimguzhva, Thinkstock