Wellness

Cold shower or hot shower: which one to choose?

If a hot shower is what your body craves in the morning, you’re not alone. Most people turn on the tap fully to feel the hot water all over their body. But did you know that cold showers should also have a place in your daily routine?

Yes, cold showers. The ones you dread taking when you’re the last person to get up in the morning. But if you give them a chance, you might find that you like how you feel after taking one. Regardless of your feelings about either type of shower, research shows that both hot and cold showers have health benefits you should be aware of.

What’s so great about cold showers?

The benefits of a cold shower are:

– calm itchy skin: if you have itchy or itchy skin conditions, cold showers can help you overcome the scratching sensation.

– wake you up: When the cold jet hits your body, there is a small shock. This shock increases oxygen uptake, heart rate, alertness

– increase blood circulation: Increasing circulation is one of the main reasons why experts recommend cold showers. When cold water hits your body and outer limbs, it constricts circulation to the surface of your body. The blood then circulates faster in the deep tissues to maintain an ideal body temperature.
In this sense, a cold shower has the opposite effect of a hot shower for someone with hypertension or cardiovascular disease, since exposure to cold temperatures triggers the circulatory system to reduce inflammation and can help prevent cardiovascular disease.

– reduce muscle soreness after exercise: Cold showers help reduce muscle soreness after intense workouts. Since cold water has regenerative properties, your muscles relax and repair after an intense training session.

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– promote weight loss: Some fat cells, such as brown fat, can generate heat by burning fat. They do this when your body is exposed to cold conditions, such as in a shower. These cells are mainly located around the neck and shoulders. So perfect for showers!

– skin and hair radiance: Although scientific research is limited regarding the effect of cold water on skin and hair, anecdotal evidence points to positive effects. As cold water constricts blood flow, which gives the skin a healthier glow. In addition, cold water, unlike hot water, does not dry out the sebum layer, a naturally lubricated barrier that protects your skin and hair. Thanks to the effects of cold water, your hair is more likely to grow stronger and healthier over time.

If you’re convinced that a cold shower is totally out of the question, maybe you should reconsider your philosophy. Unlike the long list of cold shower benefits, the list of cons is surprisingly short.

The disadvantages of cold showers:

Cold showers are not a good idea if you are already cold, as the cooler temperature is not going to help you warm up in any way. It might even cool you down further and increase the time it takes for your body to warm up.

It’s also not a good idea if you’re sick. At first, the cold weather may be too harsh on your immune system, so it’s best to go slowly towards cooler temperatures.

Why do we like hot showers?

If you have trouble relaxing or falling asleep at night, you might be tempted to take a hot shower to wash away the stresses of the day. This is a common practice for muscle relaxation before going to sleep, as hot showers activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which makes us feel tired.

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Other benefits of hot showers include:

– relieve respiratory symptoms
– help muscle relaxation
– Hot showers relieve symptoms of cold or respiratory problems.

Standing in a hot shower with the steam surrounding you has long been used as a natural remedy to reduce cold and cough symptoms. The heat from the water and the steam can help to:

– open the airways
– loosen phlegm
– clear the nasal passages

Hot showers help heal blemishes. Hot showers can help open the pores of the skin, allowing trapped dirt and oil to be flushed out.

But taking a hot shower is not without drawbacks.

However, the good news is that you don’t have to give it up completely. You just need to lower the temperature a bit and take care of your skin after showering.

The disadvantages of hot showers are:

– Hot showers can dry out and irritate your skin. Indeed, hot water damages the keratin cells located on the outermost layer of our skin, the epidermis. By disrupting these cells, it creates dry skin and prevents the cells from retaining moisture.

– They can also aggravate certain skin conditions. High temperatures make it easier to dry out the skin and aggravate conditions like eczema.

– Hot showers can cause itching. Heat can cause mast cells (which contain histamine) to release their contents into the skin and cause itching.

– They can also increase your blood pressure. If you have problems with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, showering too hot can make these conditions worse.

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So which type of shower is the best?

Both hot and cold showers have obvious benefits, so what to do? Well, in an ideal world, you’d take a lukewarm shower, so it’s tolerable, and apply moisturizer to damp skin after the bath. Another approach to try is a contrast shower, which is an age-old technique.

Basically, it’s about getting water as cold as possible and standing in it for a minute. After the minute is up, you change the water to as hot as possible for another minute. Alternate between one minute of cold water and one minute of hot water for three to five cycles.

The health benefits come from the fact that cold water constricts blood vessels. This means that all the blood will go to the middle of the body. The hot water opens the blood vessels and all the blood comes out with a bang. This allows blood to be completely pumped into muscles and organs, which is great for aiding regeneration and detoxification.

Sources

Cypess AM, et al. (2009). Identification and importance of brown adipose tissue in adult humans.

Mooventhan A, et al. (2014). Scientific evidence-based effects of hydrotherapy on various systems of the body.

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