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Adhvagat
19 January 2011, 07:13 AM
I've heard things about bathing in hot water not being good for the body, specifically about it hitting the top of the head.

Also heard and read things about cold water being bad for the health and even related to loss of hair. So I began to always mix colder with room temperature (quite hot most of the times around here) water.

However, I'm not sure about the validity of these claims. So please enlighten me in this regard.

Om Tat Sat

c.smith
19 January 2011, 09:56 AM
Have heard in many circles that disciples are to take cold showers, especially first thing in the morning to cleanse themselves, but was never sure if it was because the rivers are usually cold naturally or that it would cost an ashram too much to heat the water for all its visitors or not. I know from experience that cold water wakes one up, especially at bhramamuhurta. In the same breath, it is told that initiates warm water for their gurus to bathe in. So I question, must one attain a level of detachment (or other spiritual level (for lack of a better word)) before warm water is permitted? I understand in the case of bhramacharya that cold showers help one to keep oneself in check. I would like to say that I've read most of this in the works of Sw. Sivananda, but I may stand corrected.

In regards to cold water and hair loss, I have heard the same and would like to learn of your replies.

Om Namah Sivaya!

Clayton

devotee
19 January 2011, 10:43 AM
Namaste Pietro,


I've heard things about bathing in hot water not beirieng good for the body, specifically about it hitting the top of the head.

Also heard and read things about cold water being bad for the health and even related to loss of hair. So I began to always mix colder with room temperature (quite hot most of the times around here) water.

However, I'm not sure about the validity of these claims. So please enlighten me in this regard.


Yogis take bath with water whatever is available to them. However, we are not advanced Yogis and cannot imitate them. So, what to do ? The simple rule is "Listen to your body". If you feel like taking a hot bath (in cold season or taking bath after recovering from fever, after a long tiring journey etc.), go for a hot bath. If you feel like taking a cold shower (like in summer) do it by all means. When the temperature is not much down, a cold bath makes you feel fresher than a hot bath. However, when it is too much cold, a cold bath should be avoided as it is a shock to an already distressed system due to extreme cold weather.

You should avoid using very hot water on your head as head is meant to be kept cool. There is common saying in Ayurveda :

Paanva garam, shir thanda, vaidya aawe to maaro danda !

==> Keep your legs warm and your head cool. Then you can afford driving the doctor away with a stick !!

Use of hot/cold water on hair fall seems to me illogical. As far as I know, it is not supported by Ayurveda and it has no other scientific support too.

OM

Eastern Mind
19 January 2011, 11:17 AM
Use of hot/cold water on hair fall seems to me illogical. As far as I know, it is not supported by Ayurveda and it has no other scientific support too.

OM

Vannakkam: I'm not bald yet (other than the tonsure times) and I've been using hot water for all of my life. I wonder where and how such ideas get started.

What about drinking water? Warm, hot, or iced? My wife and I disagree on this. On our recent trip we got used to ordering 2 bottles: 1 at room temperature, and 1 chilled. Personally, I think we should be looking more at whats in the water ... fluoride, bacteria, minerals etc. than the temperature.

Aum Namasivaya

Alise
19 January 2011, 11:57 AM
Namaste,

When I was interested in semi-ayurveda (Book was based on ayurveda & simplified like Vata was Air, Pita - Fire & Kapha - Earth), there was a lot of tips how each dosha should live.

For Vata & Kapha warm water was recommended but for Pita colder, since Pita is hot by nature.

I'm not sure how much of that is true though, I believe it's personal preference.

Have a wonderful day,
~Alice

Adhvagat
19 January 2011, 01:02 PM
Thank you everyone for the contributions.


Vannakkam: I'm not bald yet (other than the tonsure times) and I've been using hot water for all of my life. I wonder where and how such ideas get started.

What about drinking water? Warm, hot, or iced? My wife and I disagree on this. On our recent trip we got used to ordering 2 bottles: 1 at room temperature, and 1 chilled. Personally, I think we should be looking more at whats in the water ... fluoride, bacteria, minerals etc. than the temperature.

Aum Namasivaya

I don't know EM, after I got these informations I began noticing how a bath too hot makes the body feel dull, almost half-dead, and the discomfort water too cold on the mouth gives to the whole head.

In fact, I was mostly curious if I should indeed try to bath colder, because I know how refreshing a cold bath is, but if it's slightly colder (here in Rio de Janeiro, if it's 20ºC (68ºF) you already see people with coats! For someone who lives up North that must be absurd! hehehe) the mind refuses. So I feel bad, like I had to take a cold bath in order to feel austere. :p

Regarding the quality of water, once there was a shortage of water around here and we used a 20 liter gallon of mineral water to bathe. I didn't even use shampoo (I had long hair at the time) and my hair was amazingly smooth, the quantity of Chlorine in pipe water must be really bad for hair and skin.

yajvan
19 January 2011, 01:14 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté

There is a simple āyurvedic¹ principle that like increases like. That is an increase in one tattva (dhātu¹) then the possibility for an imbalance ( will) occur. there will be an excess of one tattva over the other.

So the question at hand - I think of it this way:
Hot + water : hot = pitta + water = kapha
Cold + water :cold = vāta + water = kapha

Excessive hot creates doṣa¹ in pitta. If one is a pitta constitution then pitta is aggravated.
Excessive cold creates doṣa in vāta . If one is vāta constitution (prakṛti¹).
Excessive water creates doṣa in kapha. If one is kapha prakṛti, then this dhātu is aggravated.So , the answer to the question is what is one's constitution (prakṛti¹).

You ask, well how many can there be? If there is only 3 types, then I have a 33% chance of guessing which type I am. This probability will work well if one is in Las Vegas, yet the answer is there are 7 types. Now your probability goes to 1/7th ( 14.2%) chance of merely guessing.
So, what are the 7 then?

pitta
vāta some call vāyu
kapha some call śleṣman
vāta-pitta
vāta-kapha
vāta-pitta-kapha Note some call out pitta-vāta, where pitta is primary, then vāta for the 4th listing above.

praṇām


words

āyurved is āyus + veda : āyus = life , vital power , vigour , health , duration of life , long life + ved = knowledge ;
āyurved then = the knowledge of life and health
doṣa - detrimental effect ; blemish; rooted ( √ ) in duṣ meaning fault , vice , deficiency , want , inconvenience , disadvantage associated with the 3 humours of the body i.e. pitta , vāta (vāyu ), and kapha (śleṣman).
dhātu constituent part , ingredient ; tri-dhā́tu , threefold
prakṛti - the original or natural form or condition of anything;

nature , character , constitution , temper , disposition the original producer of or rather passive power of creating
the material world(consisting of 3 constituent essences or guṇa-s called sattva , rajas and tamas) ;
Nature distinguished from puruṣa.

Eastern Mind
19 January 2011, 01:32 PM
In fact, I was mostly curious if I should indeed try to bath colder, because I know how refreshing a cold bath is, but if it's slightly colder (here in Rio de Janeiro, if it's 20║C (68║F) you already see people with coats! For someone who lives up North that must be absurd! hehehe) the mind refuses. So I feel bad, like I had to take a cold bath in order to feel austere. :p


Vannakkam: No offense to Yajvanji, but when you go for a walk in -35 C weather, and you simple cannot get warm even by crawling into the burning fireplace (What's that? some would ask?) or an oven, there's nothing quite like a hot bath or hot shower. I actually use an electric heating blanket.

But then come summer when we can get to +35 on rare days, I can turn the lawn sprinkler on and run through it like some excited little boy just having fun. So up here where no Hindu in their right mind would ever live, it has more to do with the extremes of outside temperature than dosa or pitta or ayurveda.

Same for drinking it ... hot tea, or chocolate in winter, iced tea in summer.

Aum Namasivaya

yajvan
19 January 2011, 01:48 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté EM,




Vannakkam: No offense to Yajvanji, but when you go for a walk in -35 C weather, and you simple cannot get warm even by crawling into the burning fireplace (What's that? some would ask?) or an oven, there's nothing quite like a hot bath or hot shower. I actually use an electric heating blanket.

But then come summer when we can get to +35 on rare days, I can turn the lawn sprinkler on and run through it like some excited little boy just having fun. So up here where no Hindu in their right mind would ever live, it has more to do with the extremes of outside temperature than dosa or pitta or ayurveda.

Same for drinking it ... hot tea, or chocolate in winter, iced tea in summer.

Aum Namasivaya

First , I do not see where an offense can be taken :) , you ask a good question.

Note that the seasons stimulate various influences in one's constitution. If by being cold, one adds heat, then pitta is on the rise and the effect is warmth. Yet cold persists in winter no? So the stimulation of cold that is ~balanced~ by hot, brings comfort.

In the summer there is the pitta influence throughout the environment. What do we do? Drink cool liquids - that brings ~balance~ again.

So, now let's say it is summer and one chooses not to cool, but heat. Say one increases hot via spicy-hot foods ( hot peppers). What occurs ? there is excess. Excess from the environment ( the sun) and excess from the internal heat of the food, and that creates an imbalance of pitta. Where then is this felt? It could be felt in emotions, or lower intestinal track ( a place for pitta).

Imbalances
Imbalances when there is excess, some say aggravated, other say antagonistic, the balance has been lost and what can occur?

For vatta imbalance, could be experienced as some fear, some nervousness , like that.
For pitta it can be excessive emotions ( rajas), anger
For kapha it can be excessive possessiveness, attachment , overeating, and the likeAre there others ? Yes, many.
The goal is the balance of the 3 - pitta, vāta, kapha.

praṇām

Eastern Mind
19 January 2011, 02:00 PM
namastÚ EM,

First , I do not see where an offense can be taken :) , you ask a good question.


Vannakkam: Since you never seem to take offense, my tired still jet-lagged devious area of mind is pondering what I could say that would offend you.
http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/images/icons/icon7.gif
Problem is I'm not that brilliant at insults either, and even if I could come up with something, you'd just ignore it or realise it was someone being tired and grumpy or mischievous. So you have me in a self-inflicted but healthy dilemma. Maybe with some hot soup, I'll feel more balanced. Perhaps Boss could make me a dosa. Masala dosa. Then go to Pita pit where the daughter works. Vatta for?

Aum Namasivaya

yajvan
19 January 2011, 03:18 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté EM


my tired still jet-lagged ... mind http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/images/icons/icon7.gif


Just a note - flying increases vāta doṣa. Think of it , when we fly we are in excessive vāyu (vāta). What balances vāta doṣa ? you are on the right track:
Maybe with some hot soup

Within that soup cooked vegetables, carrots, beets, green beans, sweet potato, zucchini; limit-to-avoid tomato (acid based), celery ( salt), eggplant.

And sweet juicy fruits - peaches, oranges, pineapples; vs. dried fruit ( dry = vatta = aggravated condition)

Also ghee in hot milk is excellent. The milk has to come to a boil, then settle down, then its ready.

A ~fast way~ to get this done? Chai latte at Starbucks® yet there is no ghee, but you will get 5 tastes in the latte with the steamed milk.



praṇām

satay
19 January 2011, 04:58 PM
namaskar and Welcome back Eastern!


So up here where no Hindu in their right mind would ever live, Aum Namasivaya

Well, temp here last night was -45C. Yes, no one in their right mind would live here but ...

Eastern Mind
19 January 2011, 06:12 PM
namaskar and Welcome back Eastern!

Well, temp here last night was -45C. Yes, no one in their right mind would live here but ...

Vannakkam: I shall never complain again. This -10 today is suntanning weather compared to that. You poor sot. Aum Namasivaya

Arjuni
19 January 2011, 07:41 PM
NamastÚ, all,

There are a lot of useful posts on this thread! Adding what I can:

C. Smith, you're right; Sri Swami Śivananda discusses cold water bathing in Practice of Brahmacharya, under the section entitled "The benefits of a hip bath." Cold water bathing just makes me shiver miserably, so I can't comment on the practice's effectiveness.

Regarding the original topic, I've read in several Ayurveda books about keeping the head cool, not showering or bathing in excessively hot water, etc., and linking too much hot water on the head with increase in Pitta and/or hair loss. The closest at hand is Melanie Sachs' Ayurvedic Beauty Care, which has this to say:

A cool bath or quick cold shower can refresh your energy, sharpen your mind, and improve appetite - which tends to diminish in very hot weather. When it is cold and damp out, wash well, but avoid soaking in hot, steamy baths as this will leach the body of minerals and generally weaken the body in times when it needs to be strong and fortified. It is a general rule to only use cool water on your head when washing your hair. Heating the head overstimulates the nervous system and weakens the hair roots.

Good advice for Vata types (like me) follows:
Cold-bodied Vata people usually like to soak for long periods in hot baths. They are comforted and relaxed by the warmth. To maintain this warm-all-over feeling, either get directly into bed or follow the warm soak with a quick cool shower. This will dilate the pores and peripheral circulation to keep hands and feet warm and set the skin to glow.

This works very well, especially during the winter; when showering, I gradually turn the water from hot to lukewarm to cool so it's less of a shock.

Yajvan, I remembered your chai latte advice from another post, so I got one at the 'bucks the other day on my way to run errands. Delicious, and got rid of a headache, too.

EM, haha on the 'Pitta' Pit, etc. The book I quoted above also gives dietary guidelines for all three doshas and general guidelines for everyone, and in the latter section, has this advice: Sip warm water with your meal to aid digestion. Never drink ice water or milk with your meal. I don't have other sources on hand at the moment to quote, but the general recommendation is to avoid ice or very cold water as it dampens the digestive fire/agni. I've also read that it's best to drink (room temperature) water before and after the meal but never during. I'm firmly on the side of warm/lukewarm water, myself. There's enough ice and coldness outside...

Hmmm...Satay, I also live in -45C-the-other-night...and thus agree firmly with the many "no sane people should live here" comments...

I often wonder if the entirety of Canada, and Winnipeg in particular, was settled by folks of Pitta constitution who found the winters 'cooling' rather than 'torturous'...

Indraneela
===
Oṁ Indrāya Namaḥ.
Oṁ Namaḥ Śivāya.

yajvan
19 January 2011, 08:39 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté


I mentioned,


flying increases vāta doṣa. Think of it , when we fly we are in excessive vāyu (vāta).
Why so?

vāta = air + space (ākāśa)

When we fly we are propelled though air and space at rapid speeds. Hence there is 'movement' - this is another quality of vāta.
We are also compressing time, no? If I go to India by boat it takes weeks, if I go by plane it takes hours. So we have compression of time.

All added together air + space + speed/movement + compression of time aggrevates vāta.

vāta = air + space (ākāśa)
pitta = fire + water
kapha = water + earthSo, when we know the underlying tattva's we know where one can aggravate a particular tattva ( in excess).


Yet one needs to be aware of the benefits of these qualities. Without vāta we are without our motor functions ( movement);
without pitta we're without digestion (heat) ; without kapha we're without lubrication (water).

Is there more? sure:

vāta - secretions and excretion ( movement) , breath (air); transformation of tissues
pitta - perception ( the eyes are a pitta/sun function), body heat, thirst, not to mention understanding, intelligence, hunger, etc.
kapha - stability and balance of the systemWhen there are imbalances:

vāta - fear, emptiness, anxiety
pitta - anger, hate, jealousy
kapha - possessiveness, attachment, greed

Now who has not been in fear? Excess vāta is working; Who has not wanted ~more~ ? Then kapha is in play. Who has not been angry ?
Pitta is working. For the ~normal~ person this comes and goes. One's anger is dropped and there is forgiveness ( kapha has now increased);
One is fearful then it passes ( again kapha increased ) and there is stability.

Like that these tattva's wax and wane. It is when there is excessive imbalances that aggravate one day-in and day-out that serious implications arise. All health issues that begin are considered from the stand point of dis-ease. This disease is another way of saying imbalance in the system.

praṇām

Adhvagat
20 January 2011, 07:49 AM
What about the mind, intelligence and creativity, Yajvan? Is it only pitta that powers it?

I'm thinking about reading this book: http://www.amazon.com/Ayurveda-Mind-Consciousness-David-Frawley/dp/0914955365/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1295527642&sr=8-6

yajvan
20 January 2011, 01:52 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté PI



What about the mind, intelligence and creativity, Yajvan? Is it only pitta that powers it?


To think only would be misleading. If memory is part of mind, then there is this:

vāta - quick understanding, yet short memory span. I was taught ' quick to remember, quick to forget'. So , if pitta only drove the mind, this condition would not arise.

kapha - slow to remember slow to forget

pitta - is between the two above. Pitta's have very good comprehension power, a sharp intellect.

We know of the 6 tastes¹ in āyurved, yes? Here is the natural attraction for each type:

vāta - gravitates to sweet, sour, salty.
pitta - to sweet , bitter , astringent
kapha - tends to favor pungent, bitter, astringent

Now one asks what does this have to do with anything? If 'mind' were only driven by pitta it seems to me the mind would direct the tongue to the tastes of pitta above and forgo all others. That is my view. So, mind has other things working with it as I see it.

praṇām


words

rasā = taste , flavour ; 6 are called out:
madhura , sweet
amla , sour
lavaṇa , salt
kaṭuka , pungent
tikta , bitter
kaṣāya , astringent

yajvan
20 January 2011, 02:27 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~


namastÚ


We know of the 6 tastes in āyurved, yes?
rasā = taste , flavour ; 6 are called out:
madhura , sweet
amla , sour
lavaṇa , salt
kaṭuka , pungent
tikta , bitter
kaṣāya , astringent

More on taste's can be found here: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=2356&highlight=ras%26%23257%3B

The goal is to have the 6 tastes daily to bring balance to the system.

praṇām

TheOne
26 January 2011, 04:41 PM
What about drinking water? Warm, hot, or iced? My wife and I disagree on this. On our recent trip we got used to ordering 2 bottles: 1 at room temperature, and 1 chilled.

Aum Namasivaya


I'm not positive but I recall a few months ago my Hindu friend said that he wants to switch to drinking lukewarm water because cold water is bad for digestion(it solidifies fat in stomach) and thus causes more energy to be spent. Now don't take my word for it, but he made a pretty convincing argument about why not to drink cold water. ;)