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Ryan and Kat England are not medical professionals or registered dieticians or nutritionists. The information we provide is based on our personal experience, studies of food & nutritional supplements and our experience as a wellness coach. Any recommendations we may make about physical activity, weight training, emotional support, nutrition, supplements or lifestyle, or information you receive in our emails, programs, services and products do not take the place of professional medical advice. 

Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy

Cold water showering can trigger a release of endorphins and adrenaline in the brain which results in an anti-depressive effect.

Hydrotherapy

The use of hydroptherapy as a recovery tool from exercise is already poplular among athletes. Popular treatments such as cold water immersion and cryotherapy, can help to reduce the buildup of acid sustained from intense physical activity. This results in less fatigue and a shorter recovery period which makes achieving our fitness goals much easier. The therapeutic use of water treatments is nothing new, nor is exercise recovery the only benefit it provides. Ancient cultures in Egypt, India, and China used hydrotherapy as a basic treatment for various systems of the body. Everything from enhancing the immune response to relieving neurological issues, hydrotherapy is an amazing tool for boosting overall health. There are many different forms of hydrotherapy involving various water temperatures, and they all provide different benefits as well. So let’s look at few of the things that hydrotherapy can do for us.

How about a hot bath before bedtime

Ever notice how relaxing it feels to enjoy a hot bath? Well part of the reason for that is an actual reduction in stress. It’s been shown that one hour spent being immersed in water at a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit can reduce plasma cortisol levels by a staggering 37%. It also helps lower both heart heart and blood pressure (ref). Not a bad way to destress before bedtime eh!

Cold water as an antipsychotic

Cold exposure treatments, like cryotherapy, have become a very popular trend for many biohacking enthusiasts. There are many benefits to cold exposure and one that really stands out is it’s ability to suppress psychosis. Cold showering in particular applies a mild electroshock to the sensory cortex, similar to that of electroconvulsive therapy. Additionally, the stress from cold exposure lowers our ability to experience pain which also leads to a suppressing of psychosis related neurotransmission within the limbic region of the brain (ref). Even though cold showering may be really uncomfortable, this reward alone is worth suffering through it!

Cold water as an antidepressant

Cold showering sends an overwhelming amount of electrical pulses from the peripheral nerve endings up into the brain. This triggers a release of endorphins and adrenaline in the brain which results in an anti-depressive effect (ref). This extraordinary level of electromagnetic activity is likely due to the high density of cold receptors on the skin. And when pairing this with the potential anti-psychotic effects of cold exposure, there’s no better reason to get over the discomfort of showering in cold water!

A whirlpool for anxiety relief

Who doesn’t already love soaking in a jacuzzi!? Spending only 10 minutes immersed in a whirlpool bath increases both pulse and finger temperature, which results in decreased anxiety and increased feelings of wellbeing (ref)! Better yet, when the water is enriched with CO2 there is a measurable decrease in free radical plasma levels, increased antioxidant activity, and improved vasodilation which promotes blood flow and circulation (ref).

Weight loss

Cold water immersion causes an uptick in metabolism, heart rate, and the peripheral concentration of catecholamines (norepinephrine/ noradrenaline) (ref). This is strikingly similar to what happens during exercise. So for any nutcase who’d like to burn some extra calories, jump in a cold bath for several minutes and… enjoy?

Anyone for a swim in January

Regular winter swimming seems like one those things that only a lunatic would enjoy. However, this crazy stunt can actually reduce tension and fatigue, improve mood & memory, and relieve pain for individuals suffering from rheumatism, fibromyalgia, and asthma (ref). Hmmm, perhaps these lunatics aren’t so crazy after all.

Anaerobic recovery

Intense anaerobic exercise leads to an accumulation of lactic acid which results in muscle soreness and fatigue. Jumping in the shower and alternating the water temperature from hot to cold every few minutes can significantly reduce the buildup of lactate when compared to a passive recovery (ref). So before turning to those nasty over the counter pain relievers, try a contrast shower instead!

Can help relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

When comparing the effects of conventional physiotherapy and Aquatic Therapy on patients with Parkinson’s Disease. It has been shown that both land based and aquatic therapy leads to an improvement in the functional reach test. However, only the aquatic therapy resulted in improvements on the Berg Balance Scale and the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale. The changes in both scales represent a significant improvement in postural stability which occurs  after 4 weeks of 45 minute sessions with aquatic physiotherapy (ref).

My help with cancer prevention

Daily brief cold exposure has been shown to increase the level of T cells and Natural killer cells which can both be important for attacking and eliminating cancerous cells. After five to six days of repeated cold stress, plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor increased significantly. This leads to the hypothesis that daily cold exposure can over the course of many months could lead to a significant increase in anti-tumor activity. It may also help to improve the rate of survival in non-lymphoid cancers (ref). Of course this isn’t a cure for cancer, nor should it be relied on as such. However, lifestyle does play a major role in the risk of cancer development. So adopting healthy behaviors like regular cold exposure, may help to improve our longevity and wellbeing.

To finish up...

There are many other benefits that hydrotherapy offers. But, since I’ve pretty much touched on everything major, I’ll leave it at that. I’d like to finish by recommending that we all consider utilizing hydrotherapy as a way to support our health. It certainly isn’t a cure-all and we do need to be cautious in overdoing it. But out of all the forms of hydrotherapy I have found the most uncomfortable to be the most beneficial, that is cold water exposure. Sure, a nice hot bath will lower our cortisol levels and a relaxing whirlpool may give us some relief from anxiety. The true rewards however, are on the other side of discomfort. As is the case with many other things in life.

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