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Hot and Cold Showers

Hot and Cold Showers

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.

Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom Salt Baths

What are they?

Epsom salts are a well-known old fashioned nursing technique based on using Epsom salts, a magnesium based mineral salt, magnesium sulphate. 

What do they do?

Typically they are dissolved in a bath of hot water and this combination help to draw out toxicity through the skin. The skin pores open as your body reacts to being submerged in hot water and attempts to cool the body down. This creates movement in the blood, the lymph and promotes toxicity release, which will also be stimulated by the magnesium sulphate in the water. Your breathing may also be affected as the body tries to cool and the toxicity is also being released through the lungs.

The magnesium sulphate is also readily absorbed by the skin. Magnesium is the electrolyte that allows the body’s muscles to relax and so an Epsom salt bath is traditionally used to help relax muscles and ease tension. It is especially useful in children with anxiety and to help initiate deep sleep. 

How do I use them?

  1. Use 1kg of Epsom salts in a bath of water.

  2. Use quite hot water to promote toxicity release, making sure you keep a cold flannel handy to keep the head warm. Soak for 20 minutes.

  3. Use comfortably warm water to promote magnesium absorption and soak for 20 minutes, topping up with hot water if the temperature drops to prevent you from feeling a chill.

Do not use any soap or any other substance so as not to disturb the drawing out or absorption process.

You can follow up this technique with the following:

  •  Add cold water to the bath to bring the temperature down quickly. This encourages your body to produce latent heat, promoting further movement of the blood, improving circulation and can help to raise resting body temperature in cases where one suffers from cold hands and feet or feels the cold in general.
  •  Similarly you can take a cold shower to do the same as above.
  • Going to bed straight after a hot Epsom salt bath, wrapped in a towel, will encourage the body to continue sweating which will keep the lymph moving and the release of toxicity through the skin.

After doing this technique once you will have more of an idea of how it makes you feel and you can then guide yourself as to how often you feel the need for it. As part of a detoxification program and health program you can do this up to three times a week. Do not do this if there is a risk of haemorrhaging, high blood pressure, during pregnancy or menstruation. I also find that it is not useful if you have a headache.

Epsom Salt Foot Soak

This is an alternative way of using the salts. The soles of the feet are an area of elimination for the body and also contain the reflex points and the ends of the meridians of the whole body. It has a lesser effect than the whole body baths but can be used in times when doing the bath is contraindicated, when the detoxification needs to be managed at a slower pace, when there is no bath or it is difficult to get in and out of the bath or is a better use of the salts.

·       Place four tablespoons of Epsom Salts in a footbath (small washing up bowl).

·       Add hot water

·       Place your feet in the bowl and soak for 20 minutes, topping up with hot water if necessary

·       Wrap yourself in a blanket to keep warm and generate a higher body temperature

Where can I get them?

Epsom salts are available from chemists, pharmacists and health food shops. If you wish to buy them in larger quantities and make it more economical you can buy a 25kg bag from ebay or amazon and get it delivered to your door. Click here for a link.

How should I feel?

It is common to feel tired and a little weak after an Epsom Salt Bath, it can make your blood pressure drop a little. Make sure you leave enough time to recover if you are going to do anything else. Wrapping up warm and going to bed is the ideal follow up to this technique. 

Epsom salt bathing 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.