Take the Plunge (but should it be hot or cold?)

Looking for a way to relax? Increase circulation? Boost immunities? Would you believe me if I said you could accomplish all of that with something as simple as water? You just need to know how to use it.

Across the planet, water has been associated with healing and physical/mental well-being for, as long as human beings have kept records. Hydrotherapy has been credited with curing everything from indigestion to cancer. Sound too good to be true? Maybe it’s time for you to give it a try.

Let’s start with the basics.iStock_000022190585Medium

Soaking in a natural hot spring, mineral bath, or even your tub at home is a great way to unwind after a strenuous activity or a long day. The warm water soothes aching muscles allowing a feeling of total relaxation to (literally) wash over you.

Benefits of a HOT soak:

  • Reduces the effects of stress on the body
  • Nourishes the skin and body by flushing toxins out through the pores
  • Dilates blood vessels thus lowering blood pressure
  • Decreases insomnia (when timed within 2 hours of bedtime)

Water can also offer mobility to those limited by arthritis and other physical ailments. While the warmth relaxes the muscles, the buoyancy supports the body reducing stress on joints and allowing for freer movement. Further, minerals found in hot springs contain natural curatives like calcium, magnesium and lithium which aid in bone, muscle and brain function … to name only a few of their benefits.

Now let’s take it up a notch.

While hot water therapies have always been embraced in this country, Americans are just starting to dive in to the idea of cold water plunges. Other cultures around the world have been using them for centuries to heal, rejuvenate and promote health and vitality.

Benefits of a COLD plunge:

  •  Awakens the system better than a cup of coffee
  •  Flushes the organs by contracting muscles to eliminate toxins
  •  Increases circulation
  •  Stimulates the release of norepinephrine (a stress hormone) and epinephrine (adrenaline) to energize the body

The good news here is that less is more. It’s not an endurance test, so you need only expose yourself to the low temperatures for 30-60 seconds to reap the health benefits. What other physical exercise delivers so quickly? Seriously, where’s the nearest creek? Cannonball!

By Michelle Robert Poche

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