The bucket shower, also known as the contrast shower, has become more and more popular over the years, thanks to a campaign to raise awareness.
However, not many people know that the classic “bucket of cold water” is actually an age-old Tyrolean tradition which, due to its many benefits, is considered an effective hydrotherapy treatment.
What is a traditional contrast shower?
In a Tyrolean bucket shower, a bucket of icy water is “hung” from the ceiling and poured suddenly over the body by pulling on a chain, causing such a thermal shock that it actually makes the body stronger. According to tradition, the bucket should be made of hard-wearing larch wood and hold around 5 litres, and the water should be poured quickly, and in one go, by pulling on a rope or chain.
When should you take a bucket shower?
Traditionally in Nordic countries the best time for taking a bucket shower is immediately after a sauna, because the body is overheated so gets the greatest benefit from the thermal shock.
What are the benefits of a bucket shower?
- Strengthens the immune system: in the same way as a sauna does, it prevents colds, seasonal ailments and infections, as it can increase levels of lymphocytes and monocytes.
- Increases the metabolism: as the body tries to warm up, it works harder and burns glucose, thus encouraging weight loss.
- Improves blood circulation: especially if taken after a sauna, as vasodilatation and vasoconstriction alternate in the body.
- Helps regulate body temperature: so is useful for anyone whose hands and feet are always cold or feel abnormally sweaty.
- Keeps skin pure and glowing: low temperatures tighten pores, thus preventing the formation of blackheads and skin blemishes. Best results are obtained after a sauna, as the heat first detoxes the skin deep down, eliminating impurities, and then the cold shower “seals in” the clean skin.
- Improves wellbeing and reduces stress: cold water stimulates the production of noradrenaline, which helps fight depression. It also leaves us feeling invigorated and energised, promoting a feeling of renewed wellbeing and relieving us of stress.
Do bucket showers have any contraindications?
As this treatment is fairly extreme, it is not recommended for anyone suffering from cardiovascular conditions.
The Effe product range includes a traditional bucket shower: the bucket is made of larch wood, it is fixed to the wall with brackets and the water is poured by pulling on a chain, just as tradition dictates.
Bucket showers are a popular feature of many wellness centres nowadays and, in order to offer the greatest benefits, they should be installed in the spa area next to the sauna, as they deliver a final burst of energy after a hot sauna.
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