Benefits of a Cold Shower

This morning I got up early and did some random browsing. I love great home remedies and ran across an interesting website called www.earthclinic.com. There was a comment on it how someone had gotten rid of his allergies with daily alternating hot/cold showers.  If you haven’t tried hot and cold showing yourself, you might think that this is an exaggerated claim. As usual, there is no controlled research to prove the benefits, but being a cold showerer myself, it didn’t surprise me.

I discovered the benefits of hot/cold showering when I lived in Europe. I was getting sick all the time and was really afraid that I might have a serious immune problem. Europeans are masters of the spa and never sauna or steam without cooling down afterwards with a cold shower, dip in an ice cold pool or a roll in the snow. It seemed that my friends who did this seldom got sick.

Getting every cold and feeling miserable and run down, I saw a homeopath and she suggested I try water therapies like hot and cold foot baths and some of the techniques I had seen people doing in the spas to improve my immune system. I felt great after the foot baths so I started to look a little closer. I found a book called ‘Immune Fitness’ and one technique jumped out at me: cold showers.  The book recommended starting slowly with feet and legs and gradually building up to the hole body – but not the face as this can cause the very small capillaries close to the surface of the skin to burst (thread veins). The benefits were immediate. After a shower I felt completely invigorated and relaxed. I soon stopped getting colds, felt relaxed, got rid of tension in my neck and back (and related headaches) and felt happy.

This is what I think happens: Hot and cold alternating showers increase circulation – blood flow – to all parts of the body. Increased blood circulation increases lymphatic circulation. It doesn’t take a genius to make the connection between increased blood and lymph circulation and good health. Ask any athlete, runner or fitness enthusiast, or even ask your doctor!

How to take a hot and cold alternating shower

Brace yourself! Cold showering is hard at first. I was always the last kid to jump in the pool because I hated the shock of the cold water, so if I can get used to this, and even enjoy it, so can you. Here goes:

  • After normal showering I get the water a little hotter and heat myself up a bit. Then I turn down the hot water. You’ll need to build up slowly to a very cold temperature. Don’t over do it, but try to get it as cold as you can stand.
  • Starting with the right foot (furthest from the heart) shower the right lower leg then the left lower leg. Then move to the right upper leg then left.
  • Then the right arm and then the left arm.
  • Then shower the front torso, then the lower back and finally the upper back.
  • I sometimes I do my head just a tiny bit, but not always.
  • Repeat! Turn the hot water back on and get hot again. Then repeat the cold shower as above.
  • You can do this 2-3 times, but always end with cold. If I repeat a few times I get as read as a lobster!
  • Wrap yourself up in a bathrobe and relax afterwards.

If I’m in a rush I will just do the process once, get dressed and go. It’s a great way to start the day!

Don’t cold shower when you have a cold. Try warm foot baths (not cold) instead.

In Europe, most baths have a shower hose which is very easy to use. In the USA, most showers come out of the wall so you will have to move your body in and out of the water – a little harder, but manageable.

There is no time like the present to start something new!

Leave a comment if you have any questions. If you cold shower let others know how it helps you!

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