Whoo! I need a cold shower.

… no, really.  It’s called hydrotherapy, one of the oldest pillars of naturopathic medicine.  Hydrotherapy is simply any therapeutic use of water, and a simple practice you can adopt on a daily basis is called a contrast shower.  At the end of a normal warm shower, turn the water down to cool for about 30 seconds before turning it off.

Why on earth would you want to do that?

  • This temperature contrast increases circulation to the vital organs, boosting the immune system.  A small study at Bastyr University found that contrast showers decreased the frequency of catching colds.
  • Getting a cold rinse actually drives more blood flow deep to the core of the body, which keeps you warmer.  No more shivering when you step out of the shower.  (That’s right — I do this in the winter too!)
  • It’s a great way to wake yourself up in the morning.  It’s like an adrenaline shot for your willpower.  If you can do this first thing in the morning, think of what else you can accomplish today!

As you get used to it, you can bump that final rinse colder and colder — the more marked the temperature contrast, the greater the benefit.  If you have asthma, uncontrolled diabetes, Raynaud’s disease, or any disturbance in temperature sensation, talk to your naturopathic doctor before undertaking this therapy.

Make a pledge to try this for one week — what have you got to lose?

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