Want to know my new secret to success and well-being? Hot and cold contrast showers!
Yep! Contrast showers, or hydrotherapy, are actually not a new trend, but rather have been used around the world for centuries as a healing modality. This technique, generally used by athletes to improve recovery between training sessions or post-competition, involves alternating between hot and cold water multiple times.
I always start my shower with warm water for a couple minutes, then switch to icy cold for a couple more minutes. I do about three intervals of switching back and forth between hot and cold, always ending with water as cold as I can stand. (And learning about what I can “stand” is a meditation in itself. Hint, it helps to breathe!)
Contrast showers improve circulation as the cold exposure causes blood flow to be re-directed inward vital organs. Then the hot water increases heart rate and causes the blood to flow outward toward the skin. The lymphatic system also gets a little pump action as it contracts and relaxes with alternating hot and cold therapy. This is thought to assist stagnant fluid to flow out and allow fresh blood and lymphatic fluid to flow in.
It is truly amazing how energized, clear-headed, and invigorated I feel after a contrast shower (yeeehaw!) but the benefits of this natural therapy go well beyond just feeling vibrant and alive.
There is much scientific backing that shows contrast showers are helpful for:
Contrast showers pose no risk for any healthy adult – though any individual with any type of chronic condition including heart disease or high blood pressure should seek medical advice before starting the treatment – so I encourage you to try it every day for one week. Let me know how contrast showers work for you.
This is one of a few choice practices I’ve designed for you in the Morning Rituals module of my course Revive: 30 Days to Vitality, Health & Ease.
By Elise Fabricant
Along with teaching for YogaDownload, Elise works one-on-one with clients around the globe to help them up-level their energy, turn their new healthy behaviors into habits that last, and discover how best to express their gifts to the world. Elise nurtures her creative streak by producing online courses on a balanced, purposeful lifestyle. Along with giving massage to Denverites, Elise also teaches group yoga classes in central Denver. Elise feels blessed to be able to combine her love of travel with her work by taking yoga and health coaching to workshops and retreat centers around the world. Connect with Elise on her website.
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