Your body is mostly made up of water and just like with a stream, for water to stay clean, it needs to move. The less you move your body, the more the inside of your body ends up literally looking like a murky swamp. Trust me, you don’t want that.
Doing hot/cold gives a boost of circulation to all the fluids in your body, bringing nutrient dense blood to all of your cells and giving you the following benefits:
- Increased energy…and very invigorating!
- Improved circulation
- Stronger immune system
- Can reduce pain
- Relaxes tight muscles
- Improves flexibility and range of motion
- …and even the American Cancer Society endorses it!
Also called ‘contrast therapy,’ hot & cold applications have been used as a healing tool for thousands of years. In 2005 I attended a medical conference in Budapest with three full days entirely dedicated to the healing powers of various hot & cold applications. When applied in successive fashion, heat and cold alter your physiology, such as reducing pain signaling and boosting the production of immune system cells. So doing your own version in the shower is a simple and easy way to enjoy the above health benefits!
How to do hot/cold:
After a hot shower, take a deep breath and then turn the faucet to cold. Stay under the cold for at least 30 seconds turning around so both sides of your body are touched by the cold, head to toes. Then go back to hot for a minute, then cold 30 seconds…Do as many times as you have time for.
There is no need to torment yourself by starting off using super cold water. Feel free to slowly get used to this process. With time, you will eventually be able to tolerate colder and colder water, and you will even begin to enjoy the feeling of the cold.
One trick to make tolerating the cold is to stay relaxed and take deep breaths. Once you work up to it, know that the more extreme your tempurature difference from hot to cold is, the bigger the benefits to your body.
You can also do this while in a hot tub or steam room. Stay in for about 15 minutes or until you are nice and hot, and then rinse off under a cold shower for about a minute (or even better, submerge yourself into a bath of cold water if available). Then get back in the hot until you are hot again and repeat the cold. After you do this a few times, I can almost guarantee you will feel more clear headed and invigorated than ever.
You can even do this to decrease healing time of any injuries. For example, do you have an issue going on with your feet or hands? Soak them in a bowl of hot water for 3 min, followed by 30 seconds in a bowl of cold water. Cycle back and forth at least three times, keeping the hot water hot, and the cold water cold the entire time. No need to burn yourself but lukewarm water won’t work. Do this once per day until healed. You can also do this with hot & cold towels on any body part.
Please note: extreme hot/cold applications are not recommended for people with heart conditions, the elderly, or infirm. Please discuss with your doctor before trying this if you have any concerns.
Why is hot/cold so effective?
The majority of your body is comprised of water…about 55-60% to be exact. So the heat allows the fluids circulate, then the cold constricts everything…then you go back to hot/open, and then to cold/close. You are literally massaging every artery and tissue in your body. If you just did hot, you could create stagnation and pooling. If you just did cold, you would create constriction.
Alternating between hot and cold allows for all the fluids in your body to circulate, bringing fresh nutrient dense blood to your cells and washing away cellular debris…which is a great step for keeping your body healthy and clean.
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