Cold Water Therapy Healing through hydrotherapy includes taking cold showers, known in Sanskrit as Ishnaan.
While the idea of taking a cold shower might send shudders down your spine, many believe that cold showers are the secret weapon of remaining youthful and in good health.
The idea behind this is that when you take a cold shower, this leads to a change in circulation that is healing to and cleanses your inner organs and skin.
Your capillaries open and become flooded with an increased flow of blood. When they close again, returning to normal, the blood that has been released goes into your organs. Your heart, kidneys, lungs, and liver become flushed with the increased blood supply, which causes your glandular system to function more efficiently.
It is believed that cold showers can help your glandular system remain balanced, increase your resistance to disease, strengthen your nervous system, and help your muscles release toxins.
And of course they wake you up!
If this still has not entirely convinced you of the benefits of cold showers, Ishnaan as practiced in Kunadlini Yoga offers a more gentle approach to the practice, the idea being that you slowly introduce the cold water to your body.
The following instructions for taking a therapeutic cold shower are taken from Original Light: The Morning Practice of Kundalini Yoga by Snatam Kaur (US Kindle: Original Light: The Morning Practice of Kundalini Yoga)
- Massage your entire body with almond oil or olive oil. Almond oil has a subtle scent, so you can add a drop of lavender or sandalwood scent if you wish. You can also massage in the oil with a special pair of exfoliating gloves you can find at health food stores. The gloves boost the circulation of the massage.
- Stand outside the shower and turn on the cold water. Step into the stream of water and let the water hit your skin while you vigorously massage your body. Chant a mantra of your choice as you enjoy the shock of the water. Do not allow the stream to directly hit your thighs. Step out of the stream of water after a few seconds and continue massaging yourself.
- Step in and out of the stream of water four times, or until you begin to feel your body warming from the inside. You will begin to feel warm as the capillaries in your organs and skin are flooded with increased circulation.
- When you have completed the cold water shower, massage and dry yourself with a clean cotton towel. You can also wrap yourself in a bath towel and let your body dry. After completing your cold shower, you can exercise, meditate, and relax for a complete and balanced healing yoga experience.
In kundalini yoga it is suggested that pregnant and menstruating women should avoid taking cold showers.