(NaturalNews) Although it has become just part of the routine, showering has the potential to be not only an enjoyable and invigorating treat but also a revitalizing therapy. By simply alternating the faucets, you can boost your immune system, increase metabolism, enliven healthy circulation of blood and lymph and promote detoxification.
The procedure is simple and easy to remember, just think three minutes, thirty seconds, three times. Three minutes hot, followed by thirty sec cold, repeated three times. Time it accordingly so the shower ends on cold. Start out with mild differences in temperature, working your way towards greater extremes at your own pace. You should never feel sick, uncomfortable, burning or pain during this treatment, if you begin to feel any of these, immediately return the water to a neutral temperate or end the shower and slowly sit down if needed.
Move the Blood and Lymph
Hydrotherapy heals through the fundamental nature cure concept of balancing and moving the blood and lymph. It might be hard to see why such a basic concept could be so rewarding but the blood is responsible for approximately 1/13 to 1/12 of the total body weight and the lymph fluid is an amazingly approximately 1/4 to 1/3 of the total body weight. Purifying and moving the blood and lymph is essential to restoring or maintaining proper health and harmonious vibration of the body. As the blood flows in, it brings with it nutrients to nourish our vital tissues. Then, as it leaves it carries out toxic and inflammatory by-products to cleanse and detoxify.
How Water Heals
Ever wonder why you can tolerate 120°F sauna but not a 120°F hot-tub? Or why winter waters are so much more dangerous than winter air? Water has a profound ability to transfer heat and carries heat rapidly to and from the body over twenty-five times faster than air. Water has the ability to both absorb and expel large quantities of heat because it has a high specific heat. Its fluidity also allows it to contact all areas easily.
Short hot, 98-104°F lasting less than five minutes, is intrinsically stimulative to the circulation. Short heat causes direct dilation of blood vessels. It increases the metabolism, oxygen absorption, carbon dioxide excretion and blood glucose levels while, decreasing tissue tone, red and white blood cell count.
Short cold, 55-65°F for less than a minute, is reactively stimulative. It has an immediate, momentary and insignificant vasoconstrictive effect followed by a direct reactive vasodilatory effect. This vasodilatory effect increases skin and organ circulation, metabolism, detoxification, oxygen absorption, carbon dioxide excretion, and nitrogen absorption and excretion. It boosts immunity through increasing white blood cells and promotes nutrition through increasing red blood cells. Short cold also increases tissue tone, peripheral white blood cell count and decreases blood glucose. Cold is a greater difference from our normal body temperature, making it perceived as more of a threat and therefor reacted to faster than hot. On days when you can't do the full treatment, try to still end with cold!
When alternating hot and cold, each subsequent application is magnified by the application prior to it. The hot application magnifies the effects of the cold, the cold magnifies the effects of the hot and so on. Alternating applications acts a pump through the tissues, magnifying the movement of blood and lymph, maximizing the peripheral heart function, de-congesting and acting as an analgesic.
The greater the temperature differences between the body, the water and the two alternating temperatures, the greater the treatment intensity. In other words, strive for temperature extremes but always do so within your own limits.
Sources for this article include:
Boyle, W., & Saine, A. 1988. Lectures in Naturopathic Hydrotherapy. Eclectic Medical Publishing. Oregon.
Kneipp, S. 2010. My Water Cure. Kessinger Publishing.
Priessnitz, V. 2005. Cold Water Cure. Kessinger Publishing.
About the author: Lindsay Chimileski: I am a graduate medical student currently pursuing dual degrees in Naturopathic Medicine and Acupuncture, expecting to graduate in 2013. I have a passion for health education, patient empowerment and the restoration of balance- both on the individual and communal level. I believe all can learn how to live happily, in harmony with nature and in ways that support the body's innate ability to heal itself.
Please note: I am not a doctor and not giving any medical advice, just spreading the word and love of natural living, and the pressing health revolution.
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