Blood flow is important...don't underestimate or dismiss this. It may not be a cool nutraceutical or extreme diet but monitoring your circulation is as sexy as any other new health trend.
Good circulation is critical for anti-aging and treating cellulite. 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.
We 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 circulation is impeded they become dry, brittle and even cracked.
The blood also does a number of important things for health; it transports our immunoglobulins and also regulates our body temperature.
You're Hot and You're Cold
So, you have poor circulation. What can you do to treat it?
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 up 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 vessels constrict (with cold) and dilate (with hot), helping to uber-stimulate our circulatory systems. We personally hate cold but once we started doing these showers, we found we slowly built up a tolerance to more and more extreme temperatures.
In all honesty, many of us begin with hot and lukewarm showers, gingerly before inching our way to cold. But once done regularly, it becomes less of a challenge and just full on refreshing!
Doing this for natural anti-aging is great but it can also support overall wellness. Studies on this therapy have shown an increase in white blood cell count.
Hot and Cold Showers 101
This treatment is good for:
- Poor Circulation
- Weak immune systems
- Chronic colds and flus
- Intolerance to extreme hot or cold
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 to prevent prolonged vasodilation.
If you are sensitive to hot or cold, you can start with warm/ cool to get used to this practice.
The colder, the 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.
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.
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Image by Seth Doyle via Unsplash