Contrast showers are healthy and can be fun if you brace yourself and don’t let yourself be put off by the cold water. The principle is the same as with the traditional Kneipp applications: the cold/warm water shocks constrict and dilate the blood vessels, which indirectly strengthens the immune system, metabolism, circulation, heart and body temperature regulation and our mood. So contrast showers are particularly recommended for people with high blood pressure.
The difference between contrast showers and traditional Kneipp affusions is that the Kneipp affusions are always applied with a jet of water, forming a beneficial film of water on the skin. In a shower, a number of separate jets of water hit the skin (the “watering can effect”).
- The right way to have contrast showers
The right way to have contrast showers
Contrast showers start with a pleasantly warm or hot shower. Then comes the part where we have to brace ourselves. Adjust the water to cool or cold, if possible put it on the jet setting, and start with your feet: Start with the outside of your right foot (the one that is farthest from your heart) and then shower your right side up to your hip. Then switch to the inside of your thigh and shower back down to the foot. Repeat the procedure starting with your left foot.
And if you can, start on your arms: Start with the back of your right hand and shower up to your armpit, and again direct the cold jet along the inside of your arm and down to the surface of your hand. Moaning, groaning and loud sighs enhance the shower experience and prepare you for the next round. (We generally take two contrast showers at a time).
- Contrast showers when you have a cold
Contrast showers when you have a cold
You shouldn’t shower if you have a temperature - this also applies to contrast showers. This is because it’s too late to strengthen your immune system, which only has a preventive function. If you have a non-infectious cold, it depends on the type: If you are a seasoned contrast showerer you can try it out carefully, otherwise it’s best to shower at a comfortable temperature.