2:45 am I’m ripped from my sleep by what feels like a tornado twisting through my stomach. In the blackness, I trip over something hard and blunt, stubbing my toe and barely make it to the bathroom before I wretch myself inside out. After a few of what seemed like days and nights of that, It stopped. Heaving dry, I think I am in the clear. Head spinning, stomach wrenching. I think I am empty. I thought wrong. This continues until 9 am, with the respite of just a few teases of cold clammy sleep in between.
Ugh, food poisoning.
Now what? I attempt to scan my mental encyclopedia archived with 10 years of natural health publishing to remember what I should do. I have an arsenal of herbs and supplements in my medicine cabinet—more like a supplement closet really, and, no, not this time.
I. Just. Cant. Do. It.
I am not brave enough to swallow anything for fear of throwing up again.
Homeopathy would have been a good choice. Yes! Phew!
But with my swirling, pounding headache and lack of sleep I was in a brain fog. I couldn’t squint my eyes to see clearly enough to find where I put my case of remedies. If only I could find my homeopathic Tabacum, that would probably do the trick.
I guess I’ll have to die.
Eew. The sunlight was stabbing at my tired brain. I looked in the mirror and felt a little sorry for myself. Not a good look. Certainly I didn’t smell great. And that’s when I remembered exactly what would help. A shower. But not just any shower, a Contrast Shower. A form of water or hydrotherapy that is a modern riff on the hot sauna/hot spring and cold plunge, that many cultures tout for healing and rejuvenation. I could do this at home without travelling to a Baden Baden spa.
The idea is that the alternating of hot and cold water (we are not talking warm and cool, my friends) actually helps pump the blood and lymphatic system-which carries nutrients to and toxins out of cells. I definitely was in need of ridding toxins. The hot water felt great. The cold water was shocking, but I came out the other side feeling invigorated and, a little better. After some rest and another contrast shower that evening, I was alive to tell about it:
Here is the best way to conduct a contrast hydrotherapy shower, according Dr. Shawna Eischens of Scottsdale, Arizona:
- Begin the shower with hot water phase. Turn the faucet to as hot as you can comfortably tolerate for about two minutes. This will cause vasodilation of blood vessels.
- Next, to the cold water phase. Turn the faucet as cold as possible for at least 30 seconds, which will have an opposite vasoconstricting effect.
- Alternate this rotation of 2 minute hot/30 seconds cold for 12 cycles, always ending with cold. The first cycle has the greatest effect on your blood vessels so it is ideal to have the most dramatic temperature changes.
Don’t worry, you should not remain chilled afterwards, but rather invigorated!
This at home treatment can be equated to exercise for your vessels, blood, and lymph which in turn can help improve energy, healing, and cellular metabolism. Contrast showers are recommended on a daily basis, and can be complimented well with dry skin brushing before showering. Best results for overall health are seen when patients combine a healthy diet and lifestyle with comprehensive recommendations from a trusted naturopathic physician.
For more articles on this and other hydrotherapy for healing, click here.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.