Stressful situations occur in everyone’s life. The tension that the human psyche experiences, when confronted with adverse situations, is quite surmountable. However, one important condition should be observed: a person must be mentally healthy. Periodic additional stress in this case will not bring any harm due to the work of compensatory mechanisms. The burden on them can be relieved by the use of additional softening and tempering techniques, such as hot and cold therapy.
Importance of Mental Health Category
The notion of mental health appeared in American psychiatry in the mid-19th century. During this period, a psychiatric movement arose that fought to improve the situation of mentally ill people and eradicate the social causes of mental deviation. Gradually, it became one of the key concepts of psychiatry that was dealing with the stability of the psyche:
● a mentally healthy person easily copes even with serious challenges
● a person with weakened mental health behaves unpredictably and can easily slip into illness in a situation of severe stress
● a mentally ill person experiences the worsening of his condition in situations of increased stress
Each of these categories of people required their own special approach and methods of improving the psyche or maintaining it in a prosperous state.
What is Mental Health?
Ideas about mental health have changed along with the development of the sciences of the human psyche. Today it can be defined as the integral ability of the psyche to perform all its functions. Psychologists have identified and studied a lot of such functions. Here are just a few of them:
● Personal autonomy, a sense of integrity of self and the ability to maintain a consistent identity
● Adequate responses to repetitive situations and the ability to mitigate and minimize damage from unforeseen adverse situations
● The ability to manage one’s behavior, make plans and successfully implement them
● Positive and friendly attitude towards the world, oneself and other people
● Ability to build mutually beneficial relationships with others
How to Maintain Mental Health?
Recommendations for maintaining mental health are based on an experimental study of the influence of various factors (both favorable and unfavorable) on the state of the human psyche, the perception of reality, the adequacy of reactions, the formation of attitudes, and behavioral patterns:
● Sleep at least 7-8 hours a day
● Engage in physical activity and sports
● Take contrast water baths or hot and cold water therapy
● Have a rest by regularly changing the form of activity
● Stick to a healthy daily menu
● Exclude bad habits, such as drinking alcohol, drugs, and smoking cigarettes
● Engage in activities that bring a special positive attitude, such as hobbies
On the Positive Impact of Hot and Cold Water on the Human Psyche
The contrasting effect of hot and cold water constricts and dilates the vessels of the body:
● Under the influence of heat, the blood runs faster, which means it quickly supplies all parts of the body with the necessary nutrients.
● Under the influence of cold, reverse processes are observed: the blood flow slows down. As a result, pain and swelling are removed.
These properties are used in hydrotherapy, which is prescribed for a variety of conditions, including insomnia, irritability, inability to cope with stress, and more. All these adverse phenomena of the psyche are important symptoms of the weakening of mental health.
What Equipment Is Needed for Hydrotherapy?
Modern societies use multiple tools for hydrotherapy procedures: sauna, jacuzzi, steam bath, ice bath, and more. You can choose any tradition of healing the psyche with the help of contrasting water therapy. However, to maximize the effect of contrast baths, complete immersion is preferable. A light version of the contrast shower will also have a positive effect, but not as deep. It is necessary that all parts of the body experience contact with cold or warm water, which cannot be achieved when taking a shower.
● If you don’t have a sauna or steam bath in your backyard, don’t be upset. For regular hydrotherapy, it is enough to have two baths that can be filled with hot and cold water. Select the best cold plunge tub, which would be ideal for your country house, apartment, gym or other premises.
● If the bathroom space is limited, you can install a special ice barrel. In this case, the water will also completely cover the human body, but such a bath is taken in an upright position.
● If your determination to take cold baths regularly is not strong yet, or if you’re looking for an easy country option, get an inflatable ice bath.
How to Perform Hydrotherapy?
When starting therapy with cold and hot water, it is important to join this gradually, not trying to immediately test the endurance of the body. In addition, you should be well aware of your general health and consult your doctor regarding the contraindications. While changing two contrast baths, a person should stay in a hot bath for a longer time. Start with short time frames and a 5:1 ratio:
● Soak for 5 minutes in a hot bath and change it for a minute to an ice bath
● Return to the hot one again and stay there for 3-5 minutes. Get back into the ice bath.
● Repeat this procedure several times. Subsequently, when your body adapts to such procedures and will not experience a strong shock, the stay in an ice bath can be increased and brought up to 3-8 minutes. Longer cold baths can be detrimental to health. Therefore, it is not worth striving to set records for staying in cold water.
By balancing and applying the right approach to hydrotherapy, you can improve both physical and mental health. The psyche will become resistant to external stimuli. The contrasting sensations of the warm and cold water temper psyche and make it less susceptible to stress. That is why hot and cold therapy is one of the best methods to maintain and improve mental health.