How to Wake Up Without Coffee

Do you wake up in the morning tired? Do you need “your morning fix” (coffee) to kick start your engine before feeling awake and alert? Do you feel stiff or sluggish when you get out of bed? If so, then try this simple hydrotherapy tool to revitalize your mornings, get the “glue” out of your system, and launch your day—coffee free.

Here’s the method:

During your morning shower, finish it with quite hot water for the last minute. Then, turn the shower to full cold, or at least tepid and stand back. Once the water is completely cold, begin by rinsing your right leg starting at the foot and finishing with your hip. Turn and quickly rinse the back of your leg. Then step back and repeat with your left leg, again starting at the foot and finishing at the hip. Next, rinse your arms, starting with your right hand and rinse up and down your whole arm on both sides. Repeat on the left arm. Finally, step into the shower and quickly rinse your back, chest, face, and head. The cold rinse should take about 10 – 15 seconds. Shut off the shower and dry off. Your entire body will be buzzing, your head will be clear, and your senses highly alert. You’re alive!

This hydrotherapy or “water therapy” technique is called contrast bathing and can be used to stimulate your circulation, immune system, and hormonal system. When exposed to warm water, your blood vessels dilate or expand as blood courses throughout your body. Then when you are suddenly exposed to cold, your blood vessels quickly contract driving the blood from your periphery and superficial surfaces, inward toward your core. This dilation and sudden contraction of your blood vessels has a stimulating effect on your body creating an immediate sense of wellbeing and alertness. Once you finish the cold rinse and dry off, your body will quickly feel warm again as the warmth of your core begins to circulate to the periphery again.

It’s important to start the cold rinse on your right foot, because it is furthest from your heart, gradually working toward your centre by following with the left leg, right arm, left arm, and finally head and torso.

If you are very sensitive to the cold or get chilled easily, try starting with only your arms or legs and gradually work up to a full body immersion over time, or alternatively rinse in tepid water instead of full cold. For those with cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, try bathing just your feet and hands in the cold and perhaps splashing some cold water on your face rather than doing a whole body immersion.

Various methods of hydrotherapy have been used throughout the centuries to treat many health related problems. Athletes often use a form of contrast bathing for the recovery of injuries and to help reduce inflammation. Contrast bathing also has a gentle tonifying effect on the body somewhat like simple exercise.

I first learned this technique of contrast bathing almost 20 years ago in massage therapy school. One of my instructors said this was a surefire way to start the day right without the need for coffee. She was right. Give it a try and see if it works for you.