Incorporating hydrotherapy into your daily routine can help support or, even elevate your active lifestyle.
What is hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy is defined as any internal or external use of water (as steam, ice, or liquid water) for the promotion or treatment of one’s health. Popular examples of hydrotherapy include wet saunas, warm water baths, hot/cold compresses, and contrast showers.
These techniques utilise the effects of temperature-controlled water on the body to produce a desired result, such as increased blood flow or improved skin. (Types and Benefits of Hydrotherapy, Verywell Health, 2019)
Contrast showering and its many benefits
Contrast showering is the alternation between hot and cold water temperatures during a shower. Research has shown that contrast showers can be highly beneficial for people looking to give their mind or body some extra attention or improvements.
Our bodies react differently to hot and cold water temperatures. Exposure to heat causes our blood vessels to dilate or widen, increasing blood flow throughout the entire body. This reaction activates the sweat glands, which in turn push out waste and toxins from the body tissue via the skin.
In contrast, exposure to cold temperatures causes the arteries to constrict or tighten, reducing blood flow and redirecting or pulling it largely to vital organs to keep them warm.
The push/pull effect of contrast showering helps improve the body’s overall blood flow along with several other benefits such as:
- Stress relief
- Improved skin & hair quality
- Increased energy
- Increased fertility
In addition to these benefits, contrast showers have long been used by athletes to help accelerate muscle recovery or provide relief from muscle soreness.
Furthermore, researchers from the Netherlands have found evidence that routine contrast showers coupled with exercise helped boost immune function by increasing the production of disease-fighting white blood cells. (Cold Showers Lead to Fewer Sick Days, Harvard Business Review, 2018)
“The combination of hot-to-cold showers and regular physical activity resulted in an expected 54% reduction of sickness absence compared to people who don’t do either.”
Source: PLOS One, 2016The Effect of Cold Showering on Health and Work: A Randomized Controlled Trial
How to do contrast shower hydrotherapy at home
Adding contrast showering into your home care routine is easy, although the cold temperatures may take some getting used to. If you have any health issues or are pregnant, always consult your doctor before testing contrast showering. Below are some tips for getting started
- Start your shower on warm/hot for 2-3 minutes.
- Change your water temperature to as cold as you can tolerate (we recommend 30 seconds in the beginning and building up to 1 min).
- Repeat 2-3 times.
- Finish with a cold shower, for a longer lasting energy boost.
Pro-tip: make a short warm up exercise just before your shower for a better tolerance of contrasting temperatures.
Shower smart for a maximised hydrotherapy experience
While hydrotherapy is popular in many public places like spas and saunas, it is an easy practice to maintain right at home through contrast showering.
Adjusting to the new routine can be made easier with the help of smart shower systems like Orbital Shower, which gives you the power of precision temperature control without wasting water.
You can personalise temperatures to fit your contrast shower needs without feeling guilty about wasting water, since Orbital Shower can save up to 90% of the water used which during a 20 minute shower session it’s a lot of water!