People take a bath because it is considered a necessity — staying clean and hygienic, and feeling fresh. But some take it as a source of therapy which is recommended as there are numerous therapeutic benefits with baths and showers like the 10 week Wim Hof method that includes cold showers.
Cold and hot showers both have their individual health benefits. It solely depends on what we seek and what our needs might be to choose from the two.
People are known to hate cold showers but some actually prefer them especially ones who reside in tropical countries. Before we were blessed with water heaters installed by our trusted plumbing company, people have long been resorting to cold baths and showers. They have a lot of benefits to offer such as better blood circulation.
Water Therapy or Hydrotherapy
People have resorted to water therapy or hydrotherapy for years. As the name suggests, it is the use of water to treat different physical conditions like joint pain and muscle spasms. It can also treat skin-related concerns like peptic ulcers and burns.
Hydrotherapy uses cold and hot water. Its practices and procedures differ on where you will get it like saunas, baths, whirlpool spas, swimming pools, and physical therapy centers. There are also several types of water therapy. A physical therapist or a doctor will determine which is the best fit for your needs. It can be as simple as a warm water bath, saunas to water circuit therapy.
Not only can it ease physical pain, but it can also help you mentally. Water activities like swimming have proven to improve mood, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
Boosts immune system
There is a chance for your body to respond better to infections since cold water provokes a low-level stress response. Your body takes its time to feel warm by increasing metabolic rate which causes the body to produce more white blood cells thus helping your immune system, though you should stick to warm showers if you are already feeling sick.
Cold water helps your skin feel moisturized since it does not dry out the sebum layer, a barrier that protects it. It won’t make you feel dry compared to hot showers and will do the opposite: lock in moisture and natural oils. It can also help with calming itchy skin since the low temperature may help you overcome the need to scratch.
Helps blood circulation
Cold showers are known to “shock” your body which helps with oxygen intake, alertness, heart rate, and blood circulation since the cold water causes our body to work harder to maintain our natural temperature. Bathing regularly with cold water can make our circulatory system more efficient since bringing the temperature down makes the body speed up with freshly oxygenated blood.
Relieves stress and stiffness
The most known reason why people take hot showers is to lessen body ache. After a long day’s work, they hop on the shower with the maximum temperature they can handle in order to have a soothing feeling in their body. Doing simple motions will help relieve the stiffness more like rubbing your back, shoulders, and neck.
With its soothing factor, hot showers can also help your body feel calm and destress. It reduces tension, making you ease up your whole body.
Helps reduce flu
Doctors advise us to take hot baths when we are sick since it acts as a natural reliever when we have colds. It can also get rid of phlegm or blockage through our nose since the hot steam soothes nasal passages. It reduces headaches too since it lessens the pressure of blood vessels in the head.
More relaxed sleep
When a tense and stressed body is soaked in a warm bath or a hot shower, Hot showers tend to relax the body hence prepares us to fall asleep faster. A 2019 study found that a hot shower, 104 °F to 109 °F, an hour or two before you go to bed helps you prepare for sleep, makes you drift off faster, and sleep better as well.
There are many benefits that support both hot and cold showers. But be wary because they both have their own cons as well. Hot showers tend to irritate the skin, the epidermis specifically, and may worsen skin conditions like eczema while cold showers are not ideal for sick people nor with people who have trouble sleeping since they make it harder for you to fall asleep. They are not relaxing and calming either. If you are undecided, then stick with lukewarm water.