When going to take a shower, the thought of standing or sitting under cold water for the duration probably wouldn’t cross many people’s minds. While we understand why this would be the case; there are a surprising number of benefits to taking cold showers, as well as hot.
A hot shower is by far the most relaxing option and boasts many therapeutic properties for those living with health issues – but while cold showers are not so appealing, they too can prove to be very helpful for those living with disabilities or have limited mobility. With this in mind, we have delved a little deeper into this subject, in order to explore the health benefits of cold water vs hot water showers.
Cold Water vs Hot Water Showers Explained
Both hot and cold showers have the ability to relieve many problems, including those of a muscular nature. Many people with disabilities suffer from muscle tightness and spasms, including those with cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease. Others may live with more muscular specific disabilities, such as muscular dystrophy and sclerosis, while older adults may also suffer from musculoskeletal problems, resulting in limited mobility.
Bearing all of this in mind, the need to relax the muscles and alleviate problems associated with many of the above conditions is vitally important. Water is a fantastic form of non-medicinal therapy, available to anyone who may require additional remedial treatment to reduce their symptoms. We’ve broken it down and have looked at the benefits of both hot and cold showers, so you can decide which would help you or the person you are caring for the most.
Definitely the less popular of the two, but beneficial nonetheless; cold showers can help with a range of health problems. While they may not be as relaxing, a quick cold shower in the morning can blow away those cobwebs and prepare you for the day ahead. If the thought of being covered in cold water is the last thing on your mind, there is a way around it to reap the benefits of cold showers without having to bear icy water for longer than necessary.
The technique is called contrast showering and combines both hot and cold water. The effects are so positive, that it is actually used as a therapy for those with strain injuries. Follow these steps to get it right –
- Begin the shower with hot water, at a temperature that is comfortable for you. Keep it like this for a few minutes.
- Start making the water cooler little by little, so it isn’t too much of a shock. Once it’s as cold as you can handle, begin by rinsing your ankle and work your way up your legs to get your body used to the temperature.
- Carry on by washing your arms down to your palms, and then rinse your whole body in cold water to make sure that you have been fully immersed.
- Repeat this process another time, returning back to hot water and again to cold, to complete the contrast showering method.
Let’s go into a little more detail as to how cold water and this method of showering can help, focusing on specific health problems.
Speeds Up Muscle Recovery
If your muscles are sore due to your health issues or disability, cold water can be extremely beneficial in speeding up their recovery. It has been scientifically proven that any delayed-onset muscle soreness will be stopped in its tracks by cold water immersion, and speed up muscle repair in the process.
Older adults, particularly, can suffer from poor circulation, and so anything that helps to improve this is hugely beneficial. As cold water hits the skin, the body encourages blood to rush towards our organs, and in turn, stimulates blood to be pumped around arteries and blood vessels much more efficiently. This can also help to lower blood pressure – an added benefit If you suffer from poor circulation. Take a look at this article from Stannah Stair Lifts, listing lots of helpful ways in which to improve this particular health concern.
Many people with disabilities or with limited mobility suffer from depression, with symptoms of depression occurring much more commonly in those with disabilities or chronic illness. If you are disabled and struggling with depression, make sure you speak to your GP and get some help to manage it effectively. Take a look at this article from Very Well Health, for some great tips on ways to cope with depression and disability.
This sounds unlikely but it’s actually true! If you are struggling to sleep, why not try having a contrast shower just before bed, as it could go some way in helping you to drop off easily once you’re in bed. As our body temperature drops once we are asleep, a cold shower an hour or so before we go to bed can help to trigger sleep signals, enabling you to drift into a deep and natural slumber. Take a look at this article from Sleep Advisor and discover the many different ways a cold shower before bed can help to aid sleep.
Moving onto the slightly more preferred shower temperature now! There’s nothing nicer than having a lovely hot shower at the end of a long day; to relieve tired muscles and completely relax. On top of this, there are a number of additional health benefits that hot water can bring.
Help To Relax Muscles
As mentioned above and something that is widely known, hot water helps hugely in relieving muscular tension, along with cramps and swelling. Just as a hot water bottle can help to ease pain, a hot shower helps to relax your whole body and relieve those aches. Many disabilities, as previously discussed, cause muscle pain and tension, meaning that bathing is an important part of therapy for those with limited mobility. Being able to relax in a hot shower safely is something that many of us take for granted, but having designed many mobility friendly wet rooms in Leighton Buzzard for older adults and those with disabilities, we know how vital they are for people needing a more accessible bathing solution.
We shared some information above about the link between depression and those living with a disability; with this in mind, this next one is very significant. Studies show that warmth increase levels of oxytocin – the hormone that contributes towards how happy we feel. As well as helping those who suffer from depression, a hot shower can ease the symptoms of anxiety and provide a good escape from any negative feelings.
Relieves Respiratory Problems
Older adults, particularly, can suffer from respiratory problems that affect the lungs and airways. Hot showers are proven to act as a natural decongestant for those suffering from respiratory issues. The steam from hot water clears nasal passages and breaks up accumulated mucus, which is great if you are struggling to breathe through your nose. This, in turn, will help you to sleep better and go about daily activities with much more ease.
Lowers Blood Pressure
As detailed in this article from Healthy Hildegard, soaking in warm water is one of the best home remedies when combating high blood pressure. As when taking a hot bath, a shower will help to relax your muscles and brain, widen blood vessels and regulate temperature. This all ultimately results in the reduction of blood pressure required, as signals will be sent to your heart and circulatory system, causing them to relax.
Hot Or Cold – The Choice Is Yours!
While a hot shower is almost always the preferable option, we hope that we’ve demonstrated a good case for considering taking a cold or contrast shower now and again. Each has its own fantastic set of benefits, so the choice is yours, depending on your health needs. Water therapy, in the form of baths or showers, is extremely beneficial for older adults or those with disabilities.
People often come to us wanting a mobility bathroom in Buckingham as well as the many surrounding areas we operate in, due to the need for a safe and therapeutic space to relax in. There are so many ways to enjoy the benefits of hot and cold bathing, from walk-in showers to wet rooms. If you’d like more advice on mobility bathroom suites, the team here at Lifestyle Mobility would be happy to answer any questions. If someone you know could benefit from an accessible and stylish bathroom, why not share this article on social media and point them in the right direction.