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  • Cold Water Vs Hot Water: Which Is Better According To Ayurveda?

    Cold Water Vs Hot Water: Which Is Better According To Ayurveda?

    The Ayurveda Experience March 15, 2024

    People have their own outlooks on the age-old controversy of cold vs. hot water. However, the real answer to the question is more nuanced than you might expect. According to Ayurvedic wisdom, the correct choice between cold or hot water is based on the individual constitution or dosha of a person and some other factors like age, season, diet, etc. So, if you want to understand more about cold vs. hot water and appreciate the benefits associated with each, read ahead. 

    Ayurvedic perspectives on water1 

    According to traditional wisdom, water is considered one of the panchamahabhutas and possesses cool (shita), sweet (mrishta), hrudya (useful for heart health), bhuddiprabhodana  – activating mind, light (laghu), life (jeevana), nourishes body (tarpan) properties. Ayurvedic wisdom recommends that hot and cold water could be used for multiple purposes depending on the season, individual constitution, requirements of the body, and some other relevant factors. Let us explore how the temperature of the water can have an impact on our bodies. 

    Skincare2,3,4,5,6: Skin is the largest and an important part of our body. So, when it comes to skincare, simply applying pastes, creams, and other ingredients and products is not enough, cleansing it regularly with the right temperature of water is critical. So, what temperature is right for our skin?

    Research suggests that exposing skin to extreme temperatures of water can damage the skin as it impairs the skin barrier. Therefore, it is recommended to use lukewarm water on our face as it will help clean the face without reducing natural oils and drying it. Additionally, it is important to mention that for healthy and glowing skin, one must take care of it from the inside as well. It is in this regard that water becomes all the more relevant.

    Water not only helps clean the face externally, but optimal consumption of water can help maintain hydration levels and help the skin appear healthy and glowing. It is also important to mention that in some recent studies cooler temperatures are associated with reduction in inflammation and acne, however the same may not be successfully concluded about cold water.

    According to Ayurveda, the prakriti (body constitution) of an individual leads to distinctions in physiological, psychological, and physical aspects including variations in the attributes of our skin. The skin of Vata and Pitta-dominant individuals has less hydration compared to Kapha-dominant individuals. Therefore, individuals should keep in mind their skin’s characteristics for maintaining the skin hydration level. 

    Bathing practices7: Ayurvedic wisdom recommends that one should observe certain practices and follow a proper dinacharya (daily routine) to maintain one's health. One such essential component of the dinacharya (daily routine) that could help maintain the health and cleanliness of our body is snana (bathing). A daily routine that includes taking regular baths can help maintain the health and cleanliness of the mind and body and help promote revitalization. 

    Ayurvedic bathing practices

    Read more: Know These Interesting Ayurvedic Bathing Practices For Optimal Health

    There are different forms of snana based on the method, benefits, and duration. Snana is a practice that must be done daily and according to Acharya Charaka, snana is the most suitable way to remove fatigue, stimulate all sense organs, and remove sweat and dirt from our body. Ayurvedic wisdom suggests that both hot and cold water baths have unique benefits associated with them including: 

    • Bath with cold water: Bathing with cold water (sheeta jala) enhances eyesight, improves raktapitta (bleeding disorders) and stimulates digestive fire agni. However, taking a bath with extremely cold water during the winter season might aggravate Kapha and Vata dosha.
    • Bath with warm water: Ayurveda also talks about taking a bath with warm water or ushna jala. The benefits of such a bath include enhanced strength (except for the head), and lowering of vitiated Vata and However, lukewarm water baths should be avoided during summer since they imbalance Pitta dosha.

    Ideally, a person should take a bath daily with lukewarm water except the head, in the morning before the morning meal.  

    Drinking water8,9: Water's temperature plays a vital role and drinking water at either hot or at room temperature is advisable. Drinking warm water can improve digestion and intestinal movements, which is often disrupted with cold water. 

    Lesser known facts about drinking water

    Read more: Interesting Recommendation About Water Intake As Per Ayurveda | When And How To Drink Water As Per Ayurveda? | Why Ice-Cold Water Is Not Good For Your Health?

    Contrast, comparison and insights10,11,12,13: So far we can say that both cold and hot water have their own benefits depending on each individual, the season, and some other relevant factor. However, there are some factors that you need to keep in mind when using water of for different purposes: 

    • Limited research suggests that both cold and hot showers have pros and cons for your health. Ayurveda recommends opting for warm water for bathing but avoid using it during winters.
    • Ayurvedic wisdom recommends using warm water all over the body except for our head.
    • Ayurveda suggests that water should be consumed wisely and one must not drink either excess (impaired digestion and worsen ama) or too low amounts of water (leads to acidity and dehydration).
    • Ayurveda also highlights the concept of ushapana (A practice where a person drinks water first thing in the morning). Ushapana can potentially improve metabolism, deal with constipation, and reduce food intake.

    All the organs of our body need water to function efficiently and Ayurvedic texts describe the benefits of both hot and cold water in great detail based on their properties. Any conversation around hot versus cold water extends past temperature preferences and unfolds to our body's internal balances and surroundings. While temperature is important, Ayurveda and modern science both stress the importance of water quality and by understanding both perspectives, we can make informed choices to promote your internal balance and overall well-being. While both hot and cold water have some benefits associated with them, modern research and Ayurvedic texts recommend using warm water over cold.  




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