Contrast showers are another one of my favorite recommendations for people. This is a simple, generally accessible and incredibly powerful tool for boosting your immune system. First the cautions… if you have diabetes or any other problem that causes you to have difficulty sensing temperature, or if you have heart disease of any kind, please talk to your doctor before doing this treatment. Also, contrast showers can be fairly stimulating, so I generally recommend them for morning showers rather than evening showers.
To do a contrast shower, first take your shower like you normally do. At the end of your shower, turn the water hotter, as hot as you can comfortably stand *not scalding* and focus the water on your trunk – front and back (chest/belly and back), then turn the water colder, as cold as you can comfortably stand *not gasping for breath* and again, focus on your trunk – front and back. Note that how cold the water is, will vary from day to day. Some days cold may be only lukewarm and some days it may be fairly brisk, listen to your body and only go as cold as feels good. End the shower on cold.
The most common concern I have from people regarding this therapy is from those who hate to be cold. Believe me I understand. I lived in Florida for a couple of years and loved the climate, so I am not one of those Northwesterners who actually like to be cold. One of the great things about this treatment though, is that it is actually warming. When your body senses the cold water on your skin, it re-sets your thermostat to warm you up.
Here’s how it works (or at least my interpretation of it)…
Basic concepts to start with: The smallest blood vessels in your body are called capillaries and they have little holes in them (called fenestrations) that stretch open when the blood vessel dilates. Heat causes things to dilate and get larger, and cold causes things to get smaller. Heat will cause your blood vessels to dilate (this is why skin gets a pinkish hue to it when you are in hot temperatures, because the blood vessels near to the surface of the skin are dilating and bringing more blood to the surface).
Now if you think of your cells like bricks in a brick wall, and the mortar spaces around the bricks are like the spaces around the cells. When you are in the hot water, your capillaries dilate open and those little holes in them open up; some of the fluid comes out and washes through those spaces, washing over the cells, dropping off nutrients and picking up toxins. When you turn the water to cold, you are flushing all of that out of the area and back into the capillaries where it can be carried off and cleaned up.
So essentially when you do a contrast shower, you’re not only washing your body, it’s as if you’re actually washing your cells too. Contrast showers are a simple thing you can incorporate into your daily routine that can help to dramatically improve the strength of your immune system. Try it starting tomorrow and watch how your health improves.