The Astonishing Health Benefits of Water
How indulging in baths or taking showers can improve your health and happiness
Water contains healing; it is the simplest, cheapest and — if used correctly — the safest remedy.
Water has been used for centuries to prevent or treat many health conditions. The therapeutic use of water (hydrotherapy) includes hot or cold baths, stems, and the use of ice.
This article will provide you with some examples of how water can help you to live a healthier and happier life (and that you can try today).
Let’s start with the health benefits of hot baths:
The exposure to high water temperatures can help you to relax your muscles, flush out toxins, decrease inflammation, stimulate your immune system, and promote sleep.
A study conducted by the National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute suggests that hot baths increase circulation. This can aid the healing process of muscles, joints, bone, and connective tissue injuries as well as help the recovery from intense workouts.
Apart from that, recent research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology has shown that soaking in hot water can accelerate the metabolism and thus aid weight loss. A study from Loughborough University supports this: researchers found that soaking in hot water for 60 minutes (not recommend!) can burn around 140 calories.
But most importantly, warm water can help you to reduce stress because it activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which allows you to relax and unwind.
The ideal bath temperature for warm baths is 98–100 degrees Fahrenheit (37–38 degrees Celsius). If you want to take hot baths, it might be a good idea to check in with your healthcare practitioner first, especially if you suffer from any chronic condition. 15–20 minutes is the recommended duration for full baths.
To further enhance the health benefits of your warm bath, you can add essential oils such as lavender (relaxing) rosemary (improved circulation), or menthol (sore joints).
If you’re up for some cold water therapy, you can try a knee affusion:
The therapeutic benefits of cold water have been known for centuries. They include improved circulation, activate the nervous system, and strengthening of the immune system.
One of the forefathers of hydrotherapy was the German priest Sebastian Kneipp (1821 to 1897). He had cured his tuberculosis with baths and other hydrotherapy treatments and developed a wide range of water therapy exercises, now know as the “Kneipp Cure.”
The Kneipp Cure includes hot and old water treatments. One of my favorites is called the knee affusion. According to Kneipp, it provides you with many health benefits, including:
- Strengthening of the immune system
- Decreased blood pressure
- Improved circulation
- Improvement of headaches
- Pain relief for aching feet
I have learned this health hack from my grandfather, and I’m trying to do it every day. Here’s how you can easily do it in your shower:
Use water tempered between 10 and 14 degrees Celsius (50 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit). Take your shower hose and move the water stream on the backside of your right leg from your toes to your knees. Circle the hose on the back of your knee for 5 seconds. Then move the stream back to your toes. Repeat on your left side. After that, do the same procedure on the front of the lower right and the lower left leg.
You can find more ideas for hydrotherapy on the Kneipp USA homepage.
Do you need a dose of hydrotherapy after a sleepless night? Try a cold shower.
Taking showers with a water temperature of 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) can help to activate your nervous system and release endorphins. This comes in handy when you have early morning appointments or need to cure a hangover.
But cold showers can more than just waking you up:
According to research by Nikolai Shevchuck, regular cold showers lasting 2 to 3 minutes, can help to improve your mood and potentially contribute to decreasing depression.
Apart from that, cold showers lower your body’s temperature, which stimulates thermogenesis (the process of heat production in the human body) and thus boosts your metabolism.
I usually take a cold shower after my regular shower. On good days, I stand in the cold water for 3 minutes, but even if I can only take 30 seconds, I feel refreshed and invigorated.
A word of warning: if you’re suffering from any chronic conditions, please check in with your healthcare provider before taking hot baths, cold showers, or trying the knee affusion.
In good health,