T Nation

Contrast Showers?


So I've done searches and I haven't found any studies done on contrast showers, just people say they feel better following them, citing an anti-inflammatory effect from ending on ice cold water.
I find it more comfortable to start the shower very hot and slowly bring the temperature down over the course of the shower, ending on ice cold. I feel I will still get the anti-inflammatory effect and its easier to adjust then just going from steaming hot to freezing cold.
Any thoughts on this?


Nope aint the same there are studies done on contrast showers and baths several articles here with the benefits.

In short. you go COLD is rushes bllod flow into the skin and muscles to heat the body keep it well warn and not die. Then you turn it DAMN HOT burning hot and the opposite happens, the blood in flushed out aimikng to what keep you cool, then again cold blood in, etc. what it does is flood the muscles/etc with blood in and out carrying out with it the waste bi products etc and bringing in fresh goods. :slight_smile: Oh and always end with COLD leaving nice fresh boold in that tissue.

just out of interest did a google for Contrast showers and had HUNDREDS turn up and the third was well an article from here.

hope that helps,


The reason contrast showers are effective is because of the 'shock' effect, so it's really best to go from as hot as possible to as cold as possible.

The hot increases body temp and circulation as long as you don't exceed about 3 minutes. The cold constricts blood vessels and also boosts circulation if you keep it to under 1 minute. If you go longer it will depress circulation.

The contrast of going back and forth creates a 'pumping' action and encourages lymphatic flow, stimulates circulation, healing, detoxification. I don't know of any studies per se, but it's not really a highly disputed theory as far as I know. The effects of heat and cold are pretty much accepted - using them together just boosts the efficacy of each.

Be sure to end on cold though, especially if you're focussing on an injured area (for example, I always end on cold and then let the cold water run directly over my ankles since I have an injury prone right ankle - I've really noticed it helps keep it happy and encourage healing if it does act up).