Santa Monica Naturopathic Doctor on The Practice of Hot and Cold Showers
The practice of hot to cold water immersion is nothing new. There is evidence of ancient Romans utilizing this practice for health. Hippocrates, the father of medicine consistently used cold water bathing with his patients. The use of this water technique for health is called hydrotherapy and it is one of many naturopathic modalities. A randomized control trial of 3,018 people out of the Netherlands studied the effects of hot to cold showers on subjects over a month period. The groups included those that ended showers in 30, 60, or 90 seconds in the coldest temperature and one group which just took normal temperature showers throughout. All three hot to cold groups showed a statistically significant outcome of 29% reduction in sickness absence vs. the normal shower group. In other words, the 3 intervention groups had more robust immune systems than the control. There is a new found interest in cold water therapy due to the growing popularity of the Wim Hof method and how it amazingly modulates immune responses during cold exposure. The exact mechanism of how this phenomenon happens is unknown but it is believed to be governed by the nervous systems effect on immunity. For me it is intensely rejuvenating, energizing (better than coffee) and therapeutic to injured muscles. I look forward to these daily showers. How to do it: Start with a warm shower, wash yourself as you normally would. Once you are done move the lever down to as cold as it gets. Let the water hit all parts of your body for 60 seconds. Once done, immediately go back to warm for 3 minutes. Repeat this cycle 3x (hot (3min) to cold (1min)) then END IN COLD. Be careful if you have any heart issues or other at-risk diseases. This is one of my favorite remedies during flu season!