I love the simple things in life. Especially if it’s something that’s easy to do and accessible to most everyone. That’s one of the many reasons I love contrast showers.
You probably take a shower sometimes, right? So why not make the most of your time in the shower by using this simple technique to improve your overall health, boost your immune function, increase your circulation, and speed up your metabolism? Besides, it’s so invigorating you might feel awake, before you’ve even had a coffee.
Cold extremities in the winter? Slow muscle recovery after working out? Low energy? Trying to lose weight? Low mood? Stressed? Contrast showers help to promote overall health in so many ways.
Contrast showers are simple. Alternating between hot and cold water increases the microcirculation of blood through muscles and other body tissues. This helps move lactic acid, inflammatory byproducts, and other metabolic waste away from muscles and other tissues. At the same time, it helps to bring nutrients, oxygen and immune cells to areas that may be damaged or stressed. Contrast showers have been shown to improve recovery after exercise. Contrast showers also strengthen the immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells and lymphatic flow.
I know, a cold shower doesn’t sound all that appealing, especially as the days get cooler. But thousands of years of hydrotherapy and recent clinical research agree that it’s a good idea.
How do you do it?
The trick is in the alternation.
- 3 minutes hot, followed by 1 minute cold (or 1 minute hot, then 30 seconds cold)
- repeat 3-5 times, ending on cold
Want to take it to the next level? Dry skin brush before your shower.
How does it work?
|Cold Water||Hot Water|
|constricts, then dilates blood vessels||dilates small blood vessels|
|decreases inflammation||relaxes muscles|
|stimulates metabolism, digestion, nervous system||raises body temperature, perspiration|
|improves muscle strength, resistance to disease||aids in relaxation, decreases pain|
|increases energy, reduces fatigue||stimulates healing|