A hot shower may be the best sensation in the world for some people. Is a cold shower, on the other hand, healthier for your health?
Cold and hot showers each have their own set of perks, and which you should take depends on what you’re looking for.
3 Health Advantages of Taking Cold Showers
Although a fast cold shower may not seem to be as pleasant as a hot shower, it may provide greater health advantages.
According to Tara Allen, RN, certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, cold showers may increase alertness and even mood.
Cold showers may be used for a variety of purposes, including:
1. After a workout, rest.
In the fitness world, ice baths and cold showers have become popular for post-workout recuperation.
Exposure to cold water, such as cold water immersion and cryotherapy, was shown to be one of the most effective strategies to decrease inflammation and muscle fatigue in a 2018 meta-analysis of post-exercise recovery treatments.
In fact, as compared to recovery without it, cold water immersion reduced individuals’ perceptions of pain and weariness up to 96 hours after exercise.
2. Itching relief
Because of the cooling, anti-inflammatory properties of cold water, having a cold shower might help to relieve itching if you have sensitive skin.
“Whether with a cold shower, ice packs, or a chilly bath, it helps eliminate the sense of irritation,” explains Carrie Kovarik, MD, an Associate Professor of Dermatology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
3. Increase your immune system’s strength
Researchers believe that exposure to cold water triggers a low-level stress response in the immune system, which aids in the development of resilience. As a result, when your body is attacked by an infection, it may respond more quickly.
Participants in a 2016 study started with warm water and ended with 30 to 90 seconds of cold water. When compared to those who simply showered as usual, those who used cold water at the end of their shower had a 29 percent lower rate of sick days at work.
If you’re already sick, Allen advises waiting until you’re feeling better before taking a cold shower; it won’t be able to heal any illness or infection once you’ve had it.
3 Health Advantages of Taking a Hot Shower
Hot showers may be our go-to, but they’re a no-no from a dermatological aspect since they eliminate natural oils from the skin more rapidly, according to Kovarik.
“From a skin standpoint, the disadvantages of hot showers outweigh the benefits,” adds Kovarik. “Hot showers may dry up your skin,” adds Kovarik, “particularly if you have a persistent problem like eczema.” “In addition, hot baths might irritate individuals because they trigger cells in the skin to produce histamine, a chemical that causes itching.”
Aside from skin problems, hot showers may be beneficial in some situations, such as when you wish to:
1. Let your muscles relax.
Hot baths may help muscles relax and heal faster after a workout.
According to a 2014 research, soaking legs in hot water for 45 minutes before exercising decreased muscle injury and pain afterward.
2. Relieve symptoms of bronchitis and emphysem
Taking a hot shower might aid in the clearing of a congested nose. According to the Lung Health Institute, this is because the steam created by hot showers loosens the mucus in your throat and nostrils.
However, persons with chronic respiratory disorders such as chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, or severe asthma may be at risk from this steam.
3. Improve your sleeping habits
According to studies, having a hot bath or shower for around 20 minutes before bed will help you sleep better.
For example, a 2019 research revealed that bathing or showering at 104 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit — approximately 90 minutes before bed — helped the body’s circadian clock naturally prepare for sleep, allowing you to fall asleep sooner and boosting the quality of your sleep.