Why you should try alternating hot and cold showers

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March 16, 2012

Let’s be honest, who would willingly take a cold shower? It’s an incredibly tough sell! In my first year Naturopathic Philosophy class we learned about the benefits of cold water, and who water in general can heal us (are you surprised? The majority of our bodies is made up of water!) Cold water boosts our circulation and immune system, and also helps to detoxify the body!

HOT WATER | Has a stimulating effect on the body. It causes blood vessels to open, allowing better blood flow. It also increases oxygen absorption and carbon dioxide excretion – important for detoxification. Hot water also has an intrinsic effect – the heat from the water is directly transferred to your body.

COLD WATER | Also has a stimulating effect on the body. Because the body is protecting itself from the cold, blood vessels constrict and all the heat is brought inside to protect the organs. However, after some time the vessels with open (similar to the effects from the hot water). The cold water further increases oxygen absorption and carbon dioxide excretion, and it helps stimulate the body’s metabolism and red and white blood cell production.


  1. Begin the alternating shower protocol towards the end of your shower.
  2. Start with a 3 minute soak in hot water.
  3. Turn the dial to as cold as you can tolerate, for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 3-4 times, and end with cold.

In order to get the benefit of the alternating shower, you need to be conscious of the time! If you go over the times, and your short hot shower turns into a long hot shower – you’re depressing your circulation. Meaning that you won’t get a detoxifying effect. Same with a short cold shower turning into a long cold shower.

To determine if an alternating shower is right for you, talk to your healthcare professional like a Naturopathic Doctor!

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