What is it?
This is a technique that is designed to create movement in the circulatory system by exposing your skin to opposing temperatures.
What does it do?
When the skin is showered with hot water, blood flow to the skin is increased in an effort to keep it at a constant temperature, which is vital for the inner organs. Similarly, when the skin is showered with cold water the blood is driven into the inner body, to help maintain the temperature of the inner organs.
This technique utilises the body’s natural homeostatic drive for keeping the body temperature at a set value. In some people this set value may have dropped and the inner body temperature is actually below what it should be. This drop in temperature will have a negative effect on health because many of the body’s chemical processes depend on temperature in order to work efficiently. It can cause stagnation in cellular growth, cleansing, regeneration, hormonal production: can obstruct the delivery of nutrients and elimination of wastes, and especially disrupt the oxygenation of the body’s cells and tissues. Using external temperatures to stimulate this movement of the blood you can start to enliven the tissues and cells, encourage the removal of waste and literally turn the core body temperature up.
Anything that drives the circulation also drives the lymphatic system too. Which will assist in the elimination of waste and will tone the immune system.
How do I do it?
After having showered and washed yourself as normal, turn the thermostat up on your shower to reach a hot temperature (not burning).
Allow this water to flow over your body, especially on areas that often feel cold to the touch (usually areas where fat tissue accumulates). Do this for a few minutes.
Then turn the thermostat down to reach a cold temperature (not freezing) and do the same.
Repeat this cycle three times, ending on a cold shower.
You can start off with a mild difference in temperature and build up to a strong difference because you will find your tolerance improves the more you do this technique.
How should I feel?
After this technique you are aiming to feel a tingling warmth under your skin, as if you have just been outside in the snow and have entered a warm room with a glowing fire. The idea is that over time, your body will start to generate its own inner latent heat and your core inner temperature will rise to the most efficient body temperature for you (according to most sources it should be around 37 degrees F).
When do I do it?
This technique can be done daily as part of a cleansing and healing program. It can be enlivening and so is often best done in the morning, or anytime you want to feel refreshed. You are advised to be careful if you have any heart condition or blood pressure problems or pregnant. In which case it is best to only do a gentle shift in temperature, so as not to shock the body and put stress on the heart.
Hot and Cold Showering is one of the techniques that I integrate into the personalised naturopathic health programs that I create for my clients. For more information about how you can have a health plan created for you click here.