Water is life. Ever since we were swimming in the darkness of the womb of our mothers, we were surrounded by water. A closer look will tell us our bodies are made of 60% water. In that sense, we can say we’re Earth’s walking water, encapsulated in human skin. Earth also reflects how much we are dependent on water to live. Two-thirds of the planet’s surface is made of water. Perhaps, it makes more sense for us to live on the water than on land.
Indeed, there’s no doubt water nourishes us. And yet, above and beyond its ability to quench our thirst, water can heal us. In doing so, it puts our best foot forward. It may not be as obvious as the medicine you take out of your cabinet. Or those pills you buy from the drug store. It may not be as apparent as drinking your liquid vitamins. But water can be your easily-available therapy to give you the health and beauty you desire. Moving forward. Here’s the how.
Cold Water Therapy
The practice of using cold water for therapeutical benefits, also dubbed as cold hydrotherapy, runs back a long time ago, about two millennia, by rough estimates. Over these years, a lot of anecdotal evidence has been given showing the health benefits of hydrotherapy.
By definition, cold water therapy uses water at around 59°F or 15°C to heal the body. You can achieve this by doing ice baths and via your daily shower. If you’re adventurous enough, open water swimming can also do the trick, albeit with a little more risk.
Although tons of anecdotal evidence does exist, science has a lot to say about cold water therapy. A study done in 2011 revealed that cyclists who experienced muscle soreness after intense training largely decreased after being immersed in cold water therapy for ten minutes.
Even better, another study in 2016 showed that athletes who underwent hydrotherapy in a cold water pool (about 15°C) have less muscle soreness compare to those who don’t.
Experts believe cold water constricts your blood vessels reducing blood flow in that particular area. And thereby reducing the muscle swelling.
Moreover, swimming in open water has been proven to be a great way to treat depression. A study found that a 24-year-old woman who regularly had cold water swimming in the open could treat her major depression successfully. Researchers recorded an instant dramatic positive effect on her mood every time she took the outdoor swim.
Hot Water Therapy
Not to be outdone, hot water baths also have their unique health and beauty benefits. For one, getting a hot shower before bed can be a better way to get your needed zzz’s.
Moreover, a study found that a steamy hot shower can burn calories and lower your blood sugar. When researchers observed 14 men, they saw that these men had lowered blood sugar even 24 hours after the hot bath. Plus, these men burned calories equal to a 30-minute walk.
Come to think of it, getting your water heater system at home in great shape should be in order. While doing a DIY on a defective water heater can be a good way to spend your time, that can only worsen the problem if you don’t have the expertise. The right technician has not only the experience but also the tools to get the work done in a jiffy.
What’s more, standing in your steaming hot shower helps your airways to open up. This way, you loosen phlegm stuck in your respiratory system, clearing out your nasal passages in the process.
So if you want to get steamy when your sinuses are up and running, you should let hot water take care of you. It’s like having a natural humidifier. Or, in a sense, it’s also like breathing while bending over a pot of water that’s boiling.
And here’s for beauty. A regular hot shower can give you better, healthier skin. How? It does this by opening up your skin pores, taking away your skin’s toxins and dirt in the process.
Taking a hot shower can also give you an epidermal effect. That’s because warm water traps moisture in the skin, combating dryness and the formation of cracks. Don’t stay too long in a hot shower, though. Doing so can strip your skin’s nutrients and essential oils, causing your skin to wrinkle fasters, just like a grape transforming into a raisin.
Now, if you’re having trouble hitting the sack, getting a warm bath before bed can be a great recourse. It’s tricky, though. You need to observe proper timing.
Our circadian rhythm slows us down as evening comes. So don’t do the hot bath immediately before sleeping as your body could get alerted by all the heat building up inside. Doing it hours before should be key to a most beneficial night rest. And a wonderful morning that follows.