People around the world have been using water therapy, or hydrotherapy, for centuries. The temperature of the water they use may have different benefits for health. Most studies into the health benefits of cold and hot water have used water immersion therapy. During water immersion therapy, a person immerses their body, or a part of their body, in a vat of water for a specified amount of time.
How It Works
A hot shower is one of life's simple pleasures. After a chilly day, is there anything that feels better than letting the warmest water you can tolerate hit your skin after the anticipation of waiting for the showerhead to rain down that perfect temperature? And it's especially gratifying if you're sore from a tough workout , no matter the weather outside. But as fantastic as it feels in the moment, a hot shower could be doing more harm than good when it comes to your skin's health. You know how your fingers can look wrinkly when you've been in a hot shower for a while? She says it's a sign that the moisture has literally been stripped away from your skin. But it's not just people with certain skin conditions who should avoid hot showers. Extended periods of time under hot water can have negative effects on otherwise healthy skin — and even hair. We chatted with experts to find out why such a common, everyday activity can have such a harsh impact and if there's any hope for those of us who can't imagine life without starting or ending the day in a steamy shower.
The majority of people crank the handle all the way up in order to feel the warm water all over their body. But if you give them a fair chance, you might find that you actually like how you feel after taking one. Regardless of how you feel about either type of shower, research shows that both hot and cold showers have health benefits you should be aware of. Adam Friedman, MD , says if you have itchy skin or skin conditions that cause you to itch, cold showers can help you overcome the sensation to scratch. As cold water hits your body and external limbs, it constricts circulation on the surface of your body. This causes blood in your deeper tissues to circulate at faster rates to maintain ideal body temperature. In that sense, a cold shower has the opposite effect of a hot shower for someone with hypertension or cardiovascular disease , since exposure to cold temperatures triggers the circulatory system to reduce inflammation and can help prevent cardiovascular disease.
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