A shower is just that thing you do in between waking up and going to the coffee machine, right? You have your routine, and it's served you well for years. The truth of the matter is, you might be showering all wrong. The steamy hot "as long as possible without being late for work" shower is held up as the gold standard in bathing. It turns out you can hack your current technique to see improvements in your health and wellness.
Keep It Short and Simple
Your shower opera game may suffer, but you need to limit the time you spend under the water, especially if you can't give up your hot showers. The reason is simple. Your body needs natural oils to stay healthy, and a long bathroom routine spells big trouble for them. Set a timer and learn exactly how long you're taking. Try to reduce this time with each shower. If nothing else, you're going to love your water bill.
Revisit Your Hair Care Routine
Every bottle of shampoo and conditioner has the same instructions printed on the side: "Wash, rinse, repeat." Billions of bottles of hair care product can't be wrong, can they? It turns out if you skip the repeat step you're doing it right. Rinse your hair under cold water, even if you spend the rest of the time doing a lobster impersonation. Your follicles close up and give you salon-smooth hair.
Are You Getting Too Clean?
Another long-held shower belief is carefully scrubbing every square inch of your body. You once again run afoul of your body's oils without much of a benefit. Spend most of your time focused on the sweaty, smelly or otherwise gross areas. You can give the bits in between some time to recover.
Take the Time to Relax
Is your schedule packed full but your mental health needs a pick-me-up? You have to shower no matter what, so use this time to work in a short meditation. A waterproof Bluetooth speaker is perfect for a guided meditation while you start your day.
Power Up Your Shower With Products
You can supplement the pain relief from a cold shower by bringing in the right product. You+Relief is a natural pain relief cream that you can put on as soon as you're done with your shower. This powerful combination helps you get to the bottom of chronic pain and enjoy a comfortable day.
Clean Your Cleaning Tools
You pay a lot of attention to your body's cleanliness level, but how clean is your loofah or washcloth? Your bathroom is a tailor-made environment for a bacteria party, and the scrubber is the equivalent of their couch. Take the time to get these tools washed off so you can avoid the health problems caused by mold and other microorganisms.
Give Your Water Heater a Break
The biggest change you can make in your showering routine is turning down the temperature. Cold showers might sound like a form of self-inflicted torture, but it actually ends up providing a whole host of benefits. Now, this article isn't intended to convince you to take cold showers. Practically every self-help guru on the planet takes that tactic.
What we want to do is give you the tips, tricks and tools you need to actually follow-through with cold showers. Healthy blood circulation is great for your organs and your overall cardiovascular health. When you step into the cold water, your blood moves to the organs and extremities to keep you nice and warm. Your blood circulation improves in these temperatures, while hot water has the opposite effect. A warm or hot shower moves the blood towards your skin's surface, taking it away from your major systems.
Tony Robbins includes cold showers in his daily ritual, saying "There is nothing that can change everything in your system like a radical change in temperature.” He cites additional benefits such as improved lymphatic circulation, reduced inflammation, better weight loss and more happiness.
Ben Greenfield relies on cold showers extensively for helping with weight loss. He explains the exact mechanisms behind the way brown adipose tissue burns regular adipose tissue when it encounters cold temperatures. He also goes into detail on how the cold boosts the immune system, helps cells live longer, increases metabolism and decreasing blood sugar.
How to Get Started With Shower Hacks
Love the thought of getting all these benefits but feel overwhelmed with the list? Don't worry. There's no rule saying you have to do everything at once (or ever). Start off with the easiest hack on the list. For some people, that's switching to the cold shower. For others, that's rubbing in some You+Relief. Repeat this hack for a week until it's a normal part of your routine. Revisit the list, and add the next.
Cold showers are an intimidating thought for many people, but you don't need to go all-in. In fact, you can simply end your shower with a splash of cold water to create the sensation your body goes through to get some of the benefits. It's better than nothing and can be the first step into a path that leads to longer cold water exposures in the shower. 30 seconds is a great starting point!
Don't freak out the first time you try this shower hack! Your body has four times as many cold sensors as hot, so you're naturally going to feel a more intense temperature sensation. Everyone has experienced the horror that is a toilet flushing in the middle of a shower, after all. Your body reacts, so it keeps the core temperature up, which is exactly what you want it to do.
Get through the cold sensations through slow, steady breathing. This is the secret to feeling the temperature rather than reacting to it by jumping out of the shower or grabbing at the hot water knob. You're going to naturally want to gasp for air and speed up your breathing rate, but you can stop this from happening through this breathing practice.
Alternate between hot and cold water in a practice called a contrast shower. When you run the hot water, all your blood starts going towards your skin's surface. On the cold water periods, the blood goes to your organs and extremities. Oxygenated blood goes to every part of the body.
Always end the shower on cold, so you have the energy to take on the day! Of course, if you're in the mood for a nap, a warm note is appropriate. The biggest advantage of cold showers is improving your willpower. If you want to feel as good as you can, you must include cold exposure in your everyday rituals.
Now go and take a shower to improve your well-being!