AskDefine | Define dousing

Dictionary Definition

dousing n : the act of wetting something by submerging it [syn: submersion, immersion, ducking]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Verb

dousing
  1. present participle of douse

Extensive Definition

Dousing is the practice of make something or someone wet by throwing a lot of liquid over them, e.g., by pouring water, generally cold, over oneself. A related practice is ice swimming. Some consider cold water dousing to be a form of asceticism.

Cold water dousing

Cold water dousing is used to "shock" the body into a kind of fever. The body's reaction is similar to the mammalian diving reflex or possibly temperature biofeedback. Several meditative and awareness techniques seem to share similar effects with elevated temperature, such as Tummo. Compare cold water dousing with ice swimming.
The effects of dousing are usually more intense and longer lasting than just a cold shower. Ending a shower with cold water is an old naturopathic tradition. There are those who believe that this fever is helpful in killing harmful bacteria and leaving the hardier beneficial bacteria in the body.
Steam may be seen to rise off of the body, especially when dousing in wintertime.

National traditions

  • Kamakura, Japan has a temple whose Nichiren Buddhist priests in-training practice a ritual of 100 days of fasting, meditation and walking which ends with stripping to loincloths and dousing with ice cold water.
  • Thingyan (Water Festival) was celebrated from 13th to 17th April in 2001 and the rituals included dousing.
Jumping in freezing lakes — ice swimming — is an old Russian tradition that goes hand in hand with going to banya, a sauna-like bath.
Some douse with a bucket of cold water. The bucket is filled with water and left out overnight. They then walk with it outside and spill it over themselves. Preferences include being barefoot outside on the earth, and performing dousing at certain times and more frequently when ill.
For some, dousing accompanies fasting (absence of all food and water) as an alternate means for the body to obtain water.
Some follow cold water dousing with air-drying outside or in wintertime taking a "snow bath" by rubbing handfuls of snow on the body or lying/moving in it.
  • Porfiry Ivanov's health system includes cold water dousing.
  • Cold water dousing is practiced by some Systema martialists.

Scientific Studies

A study by Brenner IK, Castellani JW, Gabaree C, Young AJ, Zamecnik J, Shephard RJ, Shek PN appears to support the efficacy of cold-treatment for immune-system enhancement.
1: J Appl Physiol. 1999 Aug;87(2):699-710. Links
Immune changes in humans during cold exposure: effects of prior heating and exercise.
Excerpt:
Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine, Toronto, Ontario M3M 3B9.
This study examined the immunological responses to cold exposure together with the effects of pretreatment with either passive heating or exercise (with and without a thermal clamp). On four separate occasions, seven healthy men [mean age 24.0 +/- 1.9 (SE) yr, peak oxygen consumption = 45.7 +/- 2.0 ml. kg(-1). min(-1)] sat for 2 h in a climatic chamber maintained at 5 degrees C. Before exposure, subjects participated in one of four pretreatment conditions. For the thermoneutral control condition, subjects remained seated for 1 h in a water bath at 35 degrees C. In another pretreatment, subjects were passively heated in a warm (38 degrees C) water bath for 1 h. In two other pretreatments, subjects exercised for 1 h at 55% peak oxygen consumption (once immersed in 18 degrees C water and once in 35 degrees C water). Core temperature rose by 1 degrees C during passive heating and during exercise in 35 degrees C water and remained stable during exercise in 18 degrees C water (thermal clamping). Subsequent cold exposure induced a leukocytosis and granulocytosis, an increase in natural killer cell count and activity, and a rise in circulating levels of interleukin-6. Pretreatment with exercise in 18 degrees C water augmented the leukocyte, granulocyte, and monocyte response. These results indicate that acute cold exposure has immunostimulating effects and that, with thermal clamping, pretreatment with physical exercise can enhance this response. Increases in levels of circulating norepinephrine may account for the changes observed during cold exposure and their modification by changes in initial status.

See also

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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