The debate is on: should you take a cold shower or a hot one? Experts are still looking into the matter. However, based on the initial studies, both can do wonders for your body.
Why You Need a Hot Bath
Here’s why you need to call that appliance repairman to fix, install, or upgrade your water heater. The benefits of a hot shower go beyond keeping you warm during fall and winter.
- It Opens Up the Nasal Passages
Your body, especially your nasal passages, produces a lot of mucus every day. It works as a filter, trapping foreign threats that could harm you.
Any mucus, including which that contains the invader, goes out of the body. But you don’t know it since you have an incredible way of eliminating it.
The problem comes in when you have excessive sticky secretions. It can lead to postnasal drip, that uncomfortable, icky feeling of mucus passing through your throat. Plenty of mucus can also increase the risk of respiratory conditions.
A hot shower or bath can help by “softening” the mucus lining up the nasal cavity and even the lungs. If you have a productive cough, this technique can help expel sputum or phlegm.
- It Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure raises the odds of cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disorder. Studies also link it to other health conditions, such as diabetes.
Usually, people with hypertension medicate to control it. However, they can also explore non-drug interventions, such as a hot bath.
In a 2003 study, spending only 10 minutes in a hot tub could already help decrease blood pressure levels. None of the participants experienced adverse side effects, such as chest pain, palpitations, or dizziness. The research showed that it’s a safe procedure even for diagnosed hypertensive patients.
How about a Cold Shower?
If hot showers are great, can you say the same thing with cold baths? The answer is yes.
- It Can Help Improve Immunity
In a randomized controlled trial published in 2016, those who took cold showers reported fewer sickness absences. An earlier study can explain. According to it, cold baths can help strengthen a person’s immunity in two ways.
First, it can increase the production of leukocytes, a type of white blood cells. These “soldiers” help the body fight against infections. However, it can also dampen inflammatory markers such as leukocytes.
- It Can Be Great for the Skin
A hot shower can be problematic for people prone to skin conditions, such as eczema or allergies. Heat can increase mast cells, which promote redness and itchiness.
Taking a cold bath, though, can help counter that. It can constrict the blood vessels and prevent these cells from dysregulating.
Note: Some people might be allergic to extreme water temperatures. If you’re sensitive to cold water, it’s best to skip it.
Why Not Combine Both?
Choosing between hot and cold showers can be daunting, so why not combine both in a process called contrast bath? Here, you alternate cold and hot water for a minute each in three to five cycles. Initial research suggests that doing this can:
- Dilate and constrict the blood vessels, which can help improve blood circulation and blood flow
- Deliver the much-needed nutrients to the vital organs
- Boost focus and alertness
- Relax aching and tensed muscles
- Strengthen the immune system
While cold and hot showers can be beneficial, it’s still best to consult your doctor before making these a part of your lifestyle to be on the safe side. Don’t forget to make sure your water heater is on the right temp to avoid accidents and injuries.