Written by Kathy Feng
Showering simply seems to be an automatic task that we do in maintaining healthy hygiene; however, through adjusting the temperature of the water, showering can help provide wondrous benefits to your health. Typically, when we shower, most of us adjust the temperature of the water to what is comfortable and the rest of the experience is the same as any other day. However, by switching up your shower routine using different temperatures, your daily shower could become a factor in maximizing benefits to your health.
For people who experience a lot of muscle stiffness or tension, hot showers are great because it helps relax tight muscles which will sooth discomfort. Hot showers can benefit anyone! The steam from hot showers not only helps to loosen and clear out oils and dirt within the pores of your face, but it also helps relax and open up your nasal passages to relieve nasal congestion. Hot showers can even help reduce stress and anxiety because the heat can stimulate the brain’s release of a hormone called oxytocin, which is known to be correlated to anti-stress effects, or relaxation . Some cons about hot showers is that the heat can be drying on the skin and hair which not only has cosmetic effects, but can also affect a person’s immune system since the skin is the body’s first line of defense.
Cold showers, on the other hand have their own set of benefits. The cold water can have the same effects as an ice bath and help speed up muscle repair following an intense workout. Cold showers also help improve blood circulation because the sudden burst of cold water causes the blood to retreat toward the organs, providing essential nutrients. This sudden burst of cold water is also great at reducing depression because it causes sudden impulses to be released from our brain . Unlike hot showers, cold showers promote healthy hair and skin since they aren’t as drying. The cons of showering with cold water is that the cold water isn’t good for your immune system if your body isn’t warm enough.
There is a technique called the contrast shower which combines the benefits of both hot and cold showers. Contrast showers don’t take up more time out of your day and it can help you maximize the benefits out of your shower routine. To do this, some suggest having 3-4 cycles of switching between cold and hot showers . The hot showers would be three times as long as the cold shower, with the shower ending on a cold cycle.
What kind of shower would you take? In the end, it depends on what kind of benefits you are aiming for.