Hot water bath vs. cold water bath -- Which is healthier?

Do not wash your hair with warm water. It can wash away the natural oils, making it dry and brittle. Stick to cold or lukewarm water.

Confused about which bath is healthier, hot or cold? Here's all you need to know!

Although there are many individual benefits of hot and cold water, deciding which is the best for you depends upon your body type. As per Ayurveda, hot water should be used for cleaning the body and cold water for the head as hot water is harmful for the eyes and hair.It also depends upon the temperature of one s body.A person with excessive heat in the body should bathe with water at temperatures lower than their body s and vice versa.[1]

Also, hot or cold water bathing can be therapeutic with different types being used for treating patients with various diseases. Patients with liver disease, indigestion etc, should bathe with cold water whereas, patients suffering from diseases such as respiratory disorders, cold, cough, joint pain, arthritis etc should opt for hot water.

Here are benefits of both hot and cold water baths for you to decide better:

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Benefits of a hot water bath:

  1. Hot water baths are excellent to cleanse your body as the warmer temperatures tend to kill all the germs that you are exposed to throughout the day. It is also helpful in maintaining better personal hygiene.
  2. They are extremely beneficial to relieve cold and cough as the hot water and steam tends to clear your airways and help in decongesting your nose and throats.
  3. They are also known to beat insomnia and sleep disorders and are excellent to induce sleep.
  4. Hot water baths are also known to relieve stress and fatigue and also help relax sore muscles. It has also been shown to improve the flexibility of muscles giving you a supple body. [2]
  5. Studies have also shown that hot water showers reduce sugar levels in the body making them ideal for diabetics. [3] This study showed that sugar levels of diabetics who immersed themselves in hot water tubs for 20 30 minutes for three weeks, had reduced by 13 %.

Benefits of a cold water bath:

  1. Cold water showers give you a push start in the morning. They tend to stimulate your nerve endings and help getting rid of the laziness and sleepiness.
  2. They help you treat depression. [4] Cold water baths have shown to increase the release of depression-beating chemicals like nor-adrenaline and beta-endorphins making you feel fresh.
  3. Helps improve reproductive health in men. [5] Studies have shown that cold water showers stimulate the release of testosterone which helps in increasing your libido.
  4. Cold water baths have shown to stimulate the lymphatic and immune system, which helps in boosting the production of infection fighting cells thereby increasing your immunity.[6]
  5. Your lung function improves tremendously with cold water showers. That feeling of breathlessness you get when you pour cold water over your head is the reason behind this property of cold water. You tend to hold your breath with each mug of water and slowly release your breath ,thus improving your lung function.

How to bathe healthy?

Ayurveda says, a hurried bath is like hurried food, the body does not reap all the benefits of a good cleanse if you rush bathing. A good bathing experience helps you gain freshness and improves.

To experience a complete bath, you should take the process slowly, exposing each body part to water progressively. The hands and feet should be washed first and if it is cold water bath, the approach should be from the head to the toe and if it is a hot water bath, you should begin with washing your toes first and then progress towards your head.

Ideally, soaps available in the market should be avoided and organic products must be used, as the skin absorbs all the chemicals when it is exposed to soaps and detergents. It is also recommended that a good oil massage with mustard, sesame or olive oil before or after bathing, has tremendous health benefits as it improves your skin textures and revitalizes your muscles and nervous system. Bathing for too long should be avoided while bathing only twice a day is enough for better hygiene. [1] You may also like to read about 11 reasons for bathing everyday.


  1. K. Parvathi Kumar. Ayurvedic Principles for Daily Life.1st ed, Switzerland: 2005. 29p
  2. Jerrold Petrofsky and colleagues. The Influence Of Warm Hydrotherapy On The Cardiovascular System And Muscle Relaxation
  3. Hot tub therapy for Diabetics. (
  4. Shevchuk NA. Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression.
  5. Brett and Kater McKay. The James Bond Shower: A shot of cold water for health and vitality.
  6. Jansk L and colleagues. Immune system of cold-exposed and cold-adapted humans.

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