Water therapy, also known as hydrotherapy, has been used for centuries to treat various health conditions. However, cold and hot water offer different potential benefits.
Studies show cold water therapy can relieve symptoms of depression, promote weight loss, and improve circulation. While hot water therapy can help you fall asleep faster, relieve congestion, and clear skin blemishes.
The best part is that you can reap hydrotherapy’s benefits during your daily shower or bath.
Taking a shower with a water temperature below 70° F sounds like a miserable idea to most. Still, the benefits to your health may be worthwhile.
Cold showers lasting up to 5 minutes, 2-3 times a week, effectively relieve the symptoms of depression.
Researchers found evidence that cold water exposure increases the production and release of endorphins, known as feel-good hormones.
When cold water hits your skin, the sympathetic nervous system activates to increase your heart rate, alertness, clarity, and energy level.
Cold showers may speed your metabolism to boost weight loss.
The body contains two main types of fat cells. White adipose tissue (WAT), known as white fat, is the type of fat that helps keep your body warm. Too much WAT can cause obesity. Brown adipose tissue (BAT), or brown fat, is the type that stores energy. When exposed to cold temperatures, brown fat generates heat by burning calories. The process is called thermogenesis.
Brown fat is primarily stored in the shoulders and neck, making a cold shower a great way to activate thermogenesis.
The blood vessels on the skin’s surface constrict when exposed to cold water. The constricted blood vessels push the blood away from the skin and deeper into the tissues forcing them to dilate, improving circulation.
If you prefer a steamy shower first thing in the morning or enjoy soaking in a hot bath at the end of a long day, you aren’t alone.
So, if you aren’t willing to give cold showers a whirl, relax and enjoy the benefits of hot water therapy.
Stop counting sheep and enjoy a warm shower or bath in the evening.
A 2019 study found that taking a 20-minute hot shower or bath at a temperature of 104-109º F about 1-2 hours before bedtime aids the natural circadian process. Study participants fell asleep faster and experienced better quality of sleep.
The body’s core temperature naturally cools in the evening, while the temperature of your feet and hands increases. A hot shower or bath is believed to promote this process.
Take a nice, long shower next time you’re dealing with congestion caused by the flu or a cold. The steam opens airways, clears your nasal passages, and loosens phlegm.
Enjoy prettier skin with an ounce of caution.
A hot shower can open up your skin’s pores to flush out the dirt and toxins that cause blemishes. However, please don’t overdo it. Hot water on the skin can strip the skin’s natural oils and nutrients, promoting premature aging and wrinkles.
There are many benefits to cold and hot showers, so choose what works best for your concerns. No matter which one you try, use caution and check with your doctor if you have a health condition that may be contraindicated.