Youthful Cold Showers
Many spas offer a hot and cold shower therapy with waterfalls that run hot and cold. Check out to see if it is offered, if not make sure you simulate this using a hot spa feature such as the Jacuzzi, steam room or sauna and follow it with the at home cold shower technique.
"Ishnan" is an old term from India for the point at which the body, by its own virtue, creates the temperature that it can beat off the coldness of the water. This happens when the capillaries open with the onset of the cold water. They close again during the course of the cold shower and it is at that point that all the blood rushes back to flush the organs and the glands. This process allows the glands to renew their secretions and "youth" (i.e. young glands) again returns to the body.
A study by Researcher Nikolai Shevchuk of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine found that cold showers can alleviate, and even prevent, depression. The recipe to get the psychological lift includes taking a cold shower, which is defined at around 68 degrees, for 2 to 3 minutes once or twice daily, preceded by a five-minute gradual adaptation to the temperature.
Before you begin, make sure you check the Contraindications for Cold Therapy. To gain the benefits of cold-water therapy at home, begin with your usual warm shower. When you're finished, step out of the water stream and turn down the hot water until a water temperature of about 60°F. If necessary leave only the cold water running.
Start by wetting your feet first. Next, expose the hands and face. This is important, because jumping in all at once may hinder circulation.
If you can't tolerate the cold: Keep the water cold but expose only your feet, hands and face. Gradually increase the duration and area of exposure.
Next, step under the shower. Let the cold water run over your scalp, face, the front of your body, then down your back. You can begin with a shower that lasts only a couple of seconds. Work up to whatever is comfortable for you. After one month, the entire process should last no more than 40 seconds.
Caution: People who are very thin or frail may be unable to tolerate cold showers in the beginning. If you do not feel warm and invigorated after the shower, decrease the length of your next cold shower.
If you still don't feel warm within minutes, forgo cold showers. Instead, condition your body with cold sponge baths of the feet, hands, face and then the rest of your body -- after your warm shower.
Do not try cold-water therapy if you suffer from an acute illness, such as severe back pain... have hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)... Raynaud's disease... or have high blood pressure not controlled by medication. Cold water causes a spike in blood pressure, which can be dangerous for those with conditions such as unmanaged hypertension.
If you have any questions: See your doctor before beginning a cold-water regimen.
Make sure the bathroom temperature is warm or heated. Never get out of a cold shower into a cold room.
*** Please note: Cold showers should not be taken during a women's time of menstruation. A woman needs extra rest and gentleness during her menses. Taking a cold shower is too much for the reproductive system during menstruation. A lukewarm shower is recommended.
Generally speaking, hot showers tend to depress the various physiological systems of the body.
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If you are an athlete, you may want to try this Cold Shower therapy:
While taking your post-exercise shower, alternate 2 minutes of hot water with 30 seconds of cold water. Repeat four times with a minute of moderate temperatures between each hot-cold spray. If you happen to have a spa with hot and cold tubs available, you can take a plunge in each for the same time.
The theory behind this method called contract water therapy is that by repeatedly constricting and dilating blood vessels helps remove (or flush out) waste products in the tissues. Limited research has found some benefits of contrast water therapy at reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Cold Shower Benefits
Cold showers have the following positive effects:
- Brings blood to the capillaries, therefore increasing circulation throughout the body.
- Cleans the circulatory system.
- Reduces blood pressure on internal organs.
- Provides flushing for the organs and provides a new supply of blood.
- Strengthens the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
- Contracts the muscles to eliminate toxins and poisonous wastes.
- Strengthens the mucous membranes, which help resist hay fever, allergies, colds, coughs.
- Many health problems are reduced or even eliminated over time by providing proper circulation of the blood to the affected area using the cold shower massage.
- Using cold water showers is a beauty aid to your hair and helps remove cellulite too.
- A blast of cold water at the end of your shower is a great beauty multi-tasker. Your hair will be shiny, smooth and look healthy, you'll feel warmer after your shower and cold water is purported to stimulate sluggish circulation on cellulite-prone areas
Ending your shower with cold water clearly has its advantages. I know this is something that can be very difficult for many people to do. The key is to not torture yourself. Go about it gradually. Start with a level of cold you can deal with, and slowly make it colder after each shower. As long as you get your feet wet (no pun intended!), and begin adding this routine at the end of your showers, you will be on your way to making a habit out of it and enjoy the benefits that this practice can bring you.