I have written about the importance of good circulation for anti-aging and treating cellulite in the past. For those who don’t know, our blood is a vehicle to feed our tissues as well as transport waste away. As we age, our circulation slows down along with our metabolism and regeneration, making for less healthy skin tissue. I have seen this directly in hand and foot dryness of those with poor circulation. Because our extremities are the last to receive blood flow, when this is impeded, they become dry, brittle and even cracked. The blood also does a number of important things for health, it transport our immunoglobulins and also regulates our body’s temperature. I hope I’m making myself clear: the flow is important.
You’re Hot and You’re Cold
So what do we do treat poor circulation? There are a number of ways: exercise, eating circulation stimulating foods…a multi-faceted approach is very important for such an issue. One of the best ways to really pump of our blood flow is through hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is the use of water for healing. This includes the use of therapeutic baths, water pressure massage and hot/cold showers.
Hot and cold showers (also known as “Contrast Showers”) basically use extremely hot and extremely cold temperatures in your daily shower to rev up circulation. Our blood vessel constrict (with cold) and dilate (with hot), helping to uber stimulate our circulatory systems. I personally hate cold but once I started doing these showers, I found I slowly built up a tolerance to more and more extreme temperatures. In all honesty, I began with hot and luke warm showers, gingerly inching my way to cool. But once I began to do this regularly, it became less of a challenge and just full on refreshing! The idea that I was going to be doing some natural anti-aging and supporting my overall wellness was also exciting. Studies on this therapy have shown to even increase our white blood cell count!
Hot and Cold Showers 101
This treatment is good for:
– Poor Circulation
– Weak immune system
– Chronic colds and flus
– Intolerance to extreme cold or hot
Regular household shower (with properly working hot and cold water of course!)
1. After washing and shampooing, increase the hot water to make a hot shower.
2. Leave this running for three minutes
3. After three minutes switch the shower temperature to cold.
4. Leave this running for 1 minute.
5. Repeat this hot and cold cycle 3-5 times.
6. Finish with cold to constrict the vessels preventing prolonged vasodilation
– If you are sensitive to hot or cold, you can start with warm/ cool to get used to this practice. The colder, better but you can build towards this gradually. Have faith, your resistance will build up!
– You can also avoid using the contrast shower over your head. Many find this helps them tolerate these extreme temperatures.
Modification: You can modify the amount of time for the hot and cold cycles depending on your comfort but you should always maintain a 3:1 hot to cold ratio. Also, never use more than 1 minute of cold.
Contraindications: Epilepsy or any condition that is prone to seizures, pregnancy, cardiovascular problems, extreme frailty, loss of sensation, advanced kidney disease, recent meal, alcohol or drug consumption