Dr Michael Mosley shares a shower trick that could make you sick less often

Dr Michael Mosley has revealed a shower trick that could be a secret weapon in your arsenal of protection against winter bugs. The simple practice could also make you feel more energetic.

The current miserable, rainy and cold weather makes hot showers the only way to get through the winter months. But the health guru shared that cold water could offer some surprising benefits.

Speaking on a new BBC Radio 4 podcast called Cold Therapy, Dr Mosley said: “The cold is something we, at times, can work with and harness in ways that can help our health and wellbeing.” During the new podcast series, the doctor is examining how to use the power of the cold, looking at the latest research and speaking to experts along the way.

The podcast host explained that there was a long history of combining the cold with the heat. Think of the Finnish tradition of alternating between a hot sauna and a cold dip, which has been linked with many benefits, including a long life.

However, you don’t need to travel all the way to Finland to enjoy these perks. Instead, Dr Mosley suggested alternating between hot and cold water when you’re having a shower.

The doctor said: “As well as reducing stress, hot-cold cycling could also boost your energy and, surprisingly, reduce the amount of sick leave you take.”

Don’t just take the expert’s word for it, as a study from the Netherlands also backs Dr Mosley’s advice.

Looking at more than 3,000 people split into two groups – those who took hot showers and those who alternated between hot and cold water, the research team found that harnessing both of the temperatures offers some surprising benefits.

Dr Mosley said: “Over the course of the following winter, those who did the hot-cold combo took nearly 30 percent less sick leave and most reported a boost in energy levels, so much so that nearly two-thirds of the participants carried on with the hot-cold showering after the completion of the study.

“And, for me, the really good news was that ending with a 30-second cold shower was just as effective as the full 90 seconds.”

If you want to give this hack a go, a guest on the podcast, Dr Amir Pakravan, a consultant in sport, exercise and musculoskeletal medicine, suggested starting with water that is a little warmer than body temperature, then switching to something colder.

Dr Pakravan said: “It’s not freezing, it’s not zero, it’s within a range that would be the same temperature as having a cold glass of water.”

Dr Mosley even gave this a go himself. He explained that while there are many ways to do it, he started by having a quick wash in warm water, then 30 to 40 seconds of cold water.

The doctor added: “I normally time myself by belting out a couple of verses of a song – and I find that also helps with the shock.

“If you want you can do a second hot-cold cycle on top of the first, although I’ve not seen any compelling evidence that this is particularly beneficial.”

While alternating between hot and cold water could boost your health, Dr Mosley warned that those with any cardiovascular issues, should seek medical advice before giving this a go.

He added: “If you alternate heat with cold, you just might see an improvement in mood and energy and have less sick days. A hot shower followed by a cold one is a simple way you can bring the benefits of the cold into your life.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *