Some people swear by the healing power of a hot shower when they're feeling sick or rundown. Others find that taking a cold shower invigorates them and makes them feel more alert.
So, which water temperature is better for you? Here's what you need to know about the health benefits of hot vs. cold showers.
Health Benefits of Cold Showers
Take a deep breath because we're about to jump into the cold water!
Cold showers have a wide range of beneficial effects that are often overlooked. Let's take a closer look at some ways cold showers can improve your health.
Cold shower benefits include:
Reduce itching and inflammation
If you have itchy skin or skin inflammation, taking a cold shower can help reduce swelling and soothe the itching. This is because cold water constricts the blood vessels in the skin, which reduces inflammation.
Cold showers can also help to relieve the itchiness that comes with certain conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Ease muscle soreness and pain
If you've just had a tough workout, there's nothing like a cold shower to ease muscle pain and soreness and facilitate muscle recovery. The cold water helps to constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation in the sore muscles. It can also help to prevent cramping after exercise.
Boost your immune system
Taking cold showers regularly can help to boost your immune system. This is because cold water helps to increase the production of white blood cells, which fight off infection.
Cold water can also help to improve circulation. This is because the constriction of blood vessels caused by cold water helps to pump more blood around the body. This can help to improve organ function and prevent diseases like atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Lower cortisol levels
Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress. Cortisol levels that are too high can lead to many health problems, such as weight gain, anxiety, and depression.
Taking cold showers can help to lower cortisol levels in the body. This is because cold water activates the sympathetic nervous system, which helps to reduce stress levels.
Health Benefits of Hot Showers
Now that we've looked at the benefits of cold showers let's look at the other side of the coin: the therapeutic effects of hot showers. Here are some of the ways hot showers can improve your health.
Relieve congestion and sinus pressure
If you're suffering from congestion or sinus pressure, taking a hot shower can help to relieve the symptoms. The hot water's steam can help open up the sinuses and clear out congestion.
Hot showers can also help to relieve the pain that comes with sinus infections.
Soothe aches and pains
Hot showers can also help to ease muscle pain and other types of pain in the body. The heat from the water helps to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation. This can lead to reduced pain and stiffness.
Hot showers can also be helpful for people who have arthritis or other conditions that cause joint pain.
Reduce stress levels
Like cold showers, hot showers can also help reduce stress levels by activating the sympathetic nervous system. In addition, the heat from the shower can help to relax the muscles and ease tension.
Boost your mood
Hot showers can also help boost your mood. This is because the heat from the water can help increase serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating mood. Cold showers may have anti-depressive effects.
When to Take Hot or Cold Showers
Here are some general guidelines if you're wondering when you should take a hot shower and when you should take a cold shower.
A cold shower is the way to go if you want to improve your circulation or boost your immune system.
If you're looking for something to shake off a hangover, a cold shower may help, but it won't sober you up.
A hot shower can help ease the pain and relax the muscles if you're feeling sore or have muscle pain.
If you're feeling run down or sick, a hot shower can help relieve congestion and clear your sinuses.
If you're having trouble sleeping, a hot shower before bed can help relax the body and prepare you for sleep.
So, Which Is Better?
So, hot shower or cold shower? The answer is that both have their unique benefits. It's best to alternate between the two, depending on your needs. Some people even have a hot-cold shower.
If you're looking for a quick pick-me-up, then a cold shower is the way to go. A hot shower is your best option if you want to relax and ease muscle pain. And if you're looking to boost your immune system or improve circulation, then alternating between hot and cold showers is the best.
In general, it's best to alternate between hot and cold showers. This can help improve blood circulation and provide all the benefits that hot and cold showers offer.