Winter running - Young woman running cross-country outdoors on a cold winter day (motion blurred image, color toned image)
Dr. Laura Pipher

Dr. Laura Pipher

Combatting the Deep Freeze This Winter!

The weather this winter has been a little less than ideal with the snow storms and the freezing wind chills, and frankly this creates an added excuse to not get out of bed in the morning! Personally, I loathe even the thought of winter, and this year being especially chilly has really thrown me through a loop!

I’m the type of person who is ALWAYS FREEZING and would rather be cuddled by a nice warm fire with a hot cup of coffee than be skiing or snowboarding out on the slopes any day of the week. So needless to say, winter doesn’t really do much for me.

Lets face it. Its UNBEARABLY cold.

When I started my hydrotherapy course just a few weeks ago, we had many “self-care” assignments that we were supposed to perform throughout the semester. For those of you who are unaware, hydrotherapy is “the treatment of illness through the use of water”. Simply that. Well its much more than that, but its water! No bells and whistles, no investments to be made, JUST WATER.

One self care practice in particular was “alternating hot and cold showers”. You basically get into your shower and have a normal hot shower and finish the last 3-5 minutes of the shower alternating from hot to cold temperatures for about a minute each, always ending with cold.

How does this even relate to the deep freeze we are currently experiencing?

Well simply this.

I began these showers daily at the beginning of the semester, hot shower, ending with alternations between hot and cold (the cold completely unbearable), and always ending with cold. Every morning I got in the shower, turned on the tap and dreaded the end of my freezing cold experience. After a few weeks I started to notice that I could handle the extreme temperatures better. I started making the hot water a little hotter and the cold water a little colder. I also felt less cold and achy getting up in the morning, and the chilly breeze outside didn’t feel so bad.

The point is that there are little things that you can do this time of year to boost your immune system  and tolerance to illness, and hydrotherapy home treatments are an effective and inexpensive option! Alternating hot and cold showers also help to increase circulation and tolerance to hot and cold temperatures which increases our “resilience” to the outdoor weather. The best part is that this treatment is simple and can be done as part of your daily routine!

So try it out,

it’s just water.


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