The choice between hot water bath or cold water bath can make or break your health. The choice between these two is subjective. The choice needs to be made considering various points such as age, body constitution, season, the age-old practice, habit, disease condition etc. Here is a description about how to make that choice.
Based on Body type
Based on disease
For patients with Pitta diseases such as liver disorders, indigestion, burning sensation etc, cold water bath is good.
For patients with kapha disorders such respiratory diseases, allergies, cough, cold, etc and for Vata disease such as joint pains, foot pain, arthritis, etc, hot water bath is preferable.
For patients of epilepsy, it is better to avoid both hot and cold water bath. Luke warm water is good for them for bathing.
Based on age
For young children and for people of old age, hot water is good.
For youngsters cold water is good.
For students, who wish to dedicate more time for studies, with limited sleeping hours and increased alertness, cold water bath early in the morning is beneficial, provided they do not have any health complaints.
Hot water during winter and cold water during summer is good.
Time in the day
If in the morning, cold water is fine, but if you take bath at night, after a tiresome day, nothing is as refreshing as a hot water bath. The evening time is dominated by Vata, hence hot water is beneficial.
If you exercise regularly, then hot water is preferable.
If you are habituated with daily oil massage (which indeed is a very good habit), then taking bath after half an hour of the oil massage is really good.
A few of the practitioners advise to take alternative hot and cold water baths, which is very fine.
Irrespective of the above rules, or any other rules that exists, if you are accustomed for hot or cold water, over a period of time, then it is the natural choice of your body and that is good for you.
A quick tip:
For good skin health, add a few leaves of neem, a little sandal wood to the water and leave it for a while and take bath.
Say, you have done Yoga / workout / Gym / outdoor games. You come home and want to take bath. How do you decide between hot water and cold water for bathing? What are the criteria to consider to decide on bath after workout? Does the choice vary, if it is morning or evening? Does the choice vary if it is Yoga / Gym / Outdoor games?
Exercise and Tridosha
Exercise involves movement of different parts of the body. Movement is always related with Vata, hence any type of exercise, Yoga or outdoor game will predominantly increases Vata. Cold is a quality of Vata Dosha.
But some exercises / Yoga increase body heat and sweating. Remember heat and sweat are associated with Pitta, because hotness is associated with Pitta.
When does cold water bath makes sense?
In your workout / Yoga or any physical activity, if you sweat too much, then it implies Pitta is more, then take cold water bath or luke warm water bath makes sense.
If you are naturally a Pitta dominant person, (redness of palms and feet, sweat more normally, very sensitive to hotness) then it makes sense to take cold water bath.
If you naturally hate hot water bath for some reason, then cold water bath is good for you.
When does hot water bath makes sense?
If you have done any physical activity for a very long time, then definitely Vata will be increased more, then it makes sense to take luke warm to hot water bath.
If you have developed pain during your workout, then it makes sense to take hot water bath.
If you are of Kapha body type (stout, do not sweat much etc) or of Vata body type (lean, with prominent blood vessels in hand and feet etc), then hot water bath makes sense.
During winter and rainy seasons.