Today we’re going to look at the pros and cons of something we typically do every day: taking a shower.
Is a hot shower better for your bones and your health? Or is a cold one going to assist your body in new bone formation? we’ll look at the research examining the effects of both.
Anything from around 96 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit qualifies as a hot shower, & you only need 5 to 10 minutes to get the benefits of the soothing heat. Staying too long will dry out your skin.
If you suffer muscular or joint pain, hot water can ease those aches by stimulating blood flow and loosening up muscles, tendons and tissues. Its a relaxing, drug free way to ease physical discomfort.
Plus, staying away from pain relief medications takes the burden of removing those acidifying drugs off your body’s filtration system. Allowing your liver & kidneys to maintain a better pH, keeping valuable bone-building minerals where your bones need them.
Another physical symptom that hot showers can alleviate is stiffness. Its also a useful trick for helping to get warmed up before exercising.
As for Toxins, we are in contact with an incredible amount of different chemicals everyday, Our skin is porous, allowing for the transit of molecules in and out of our bodies. A hot shower opens those pores, making it easier to clean them out and for toxins and impurities to be washed away. A cold water rinse afterwards will cause your pores to contract again, helping to keep out the next batch of unwanted micro-materials!
Similarly, if your sinuses are clogged, a steamy shower can do wonders to break up phlegm and relieve congestion.
A hot shower can put you in a better mood. The warmth of the shower actually increases your oxytocin levels, which has the effect of reducing levels of stress hormones like cortisol, while lowering blood pressure. Once you are more relaxed, you may get a better night sleep which is important for supporting healthy bone formation.
You may think because hot showers offer so many benefits, cold showers must be detrimental to your health, not so fast. Fact is, a chilly rinse can trigger a number of beneficial physical changes.
A study published in the Behavioural and Brain Functions journal recommends the use of repeated cold stress for reducing fatigue in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). One of the reasons this might work is explained as follows:
“Exposure to cold increases metabolic rate and transiently activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis as evidenced by a temporary increase in the plasma levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone, beta-endorphin and a modest increase in cortisol. The increased opioid tone and high metabolic rate could diminish fatigue by reducing muscle pain and accelerating recovery of fatigued muscle, respectively.”
The shock of cold water in a shower was the author’s suggestion for triggering this response. While an accelerated recovery of fatigued muscle and a reduction in muscle pain is certainly valuable for those suffering from chronic fatigue,
Hydrotherapy is one of Naturopathy’s main treatments.
Technically, using a physical interaction with water for its health benefits can be called hydrotherapy. It’s a form of holistic self-care that you’ve been using your whole life! Any time felt better after a refreshing shower, you were longing for the soothing effects of hydrotherapy.
Many medical professionals recommend hot or cold baths\showers as part of addressing anxiety and depression.
Cold water is thought to be especially useful in this regard because lowering the temperature of the brain and body can relieve inflammation, reduce pain, and activate the sympathetic nervous system, which increases norepinephrine levels. Along with the release of beta-endorphins, this cold-response quite literally changes your brain chemistry. Researchers have suggested regular cold showers as a treatment for depression.
Everyone is different, and everyone reacts differently to new stimuli. If you decide to see what the effects of hot or cold showers can do for you, try them out gradually. Listen to your body and don’t torture yourself trying to regulate the temperature.
So…begin your shower at a comfortable temperature, and then try bumping it a little one way or the other. This simple method allows you to ease yourself into an unfamiliar temperature. You only need a short time in the water for it to have an impact on your body. As little as two or three minutes in a really cold shower will do, and just a few minutes longer in a hot shower is just right.
In fact, overdoing it might undo the benefits you’re seeking, as with most things, moderation is the Key.