I can best explain the healing power of hot cold therapy in one of my favorite childhood memories:
Summer. Poolside. Late Afternoon.
I’d climb out of a cool swimming pool just as the late afternoon sun began to sink into a dusty periwinkle horizon. I’d spring from the pool into the brisk air, a burst of cold hits me. I’d grab a towel and tip toe down a stone path with my friends and jump into the hot bubbling, steaming hot tub around the corner. Ahhh.
It was pure relaxation from the hot tub warmth and complete invigoration from the quick progression from cold to hot. Sometimes we’d even have the urge to jump back in the pool and then back to the hot tub. We had no idea it was our summertime version of hot cold therapy.
Click ahead for more about hot cold therapy and how you can try it at home.
Hot Cold Water Therapy
HC therapy is incredibly effective. And easy. You can do it every morning in your shower if you’d like. The idea is that by transitioning from a hot water to a cold water environment -or vice-versa- you are stimulating your body, especially your circulatory and lymphatic systems.
The hot to cold or cold to hot transition, actually causes your blood vessels to expand and contract in reaction to the environment. When your blood vessels expand, the blood flow slows as the vessels loosen. Then when your blood vessels are moved to cold water, they contract and tighten. The blood flow speeds up. Your circulatory system is stimulated.
The same occurs in your lymphatic system, and many therapists believe this therapy is helpful in detoxing or inspiring healing in a slow or lagging lymphatic system.
Hot Cold Water Therapy at Home
caution: do not try this therapy without consulting your doctor, or having knowledge that you have no health conditions that could be aggravated by this therapy. If you have any hesitation, simply ask your doctor.
1. Soak in a hot bath or take a hot shower for 2-5 minutes.
2. Turn on a cool to cold water shower and stay under the water for at least twenty seconds, or as long as you can handle. Super cold water will be more difficult to sustain.
3. Go back to a hot water shower or bath for a few minutes.
4. Return to a cool water shower for a few seconds, up to a few minutes.
Repeat as many times as you’d like.
You will notice your skin becoming red due to the increased circulation.
For me, this therapy gives me energy, relaxes my tense muscles and gets my circulation moving. What a great way to start or an end a day.
You can also try this therapy using a cool swimming pool and hot shower or hot sauna. However, go slowly and follow the signals of your body. If you feel dizzy or weak, stop the therapy immediately. As always, consult you doctor first.