The Health Benefits of Taking a Hot Bath
Improved Heart Health
There are many health benefits to enjoy from taking a hot bath. Submerging yourself in water, also known as hydrotherapy, has been used for centuries. Sometimes taking a hot bath can put strain on a person's heart, especially if they have an existing heart condition. However, for a mostly healthy person, submerging yourself in hot water makes your heart beat faster and gives your body a healthy workout. Hot baths improve the circulation of blood in your body and allow the blood vessels to function more efficiently. For people who do not suffer from heart disease, taking a warm bath can improve cardiac function while lowering blood pressure.
Exercise helps in preventing disease because it has an anti-inflammatory effect. Studies have been done that suggest heating the body by taking a hot bath reduces chronic inflammation. In 2015, there was research done in Finland that suggests that the use of saunas can reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke in men. The University of Oregon published a similar study the following year that revealed taking a hot bath every day can lower blood pressure. The study was done a second time and the results revealed that levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that dilates the blood vessels and decreases blood pressure, increased after taking a hot bath. The studies all indicated that taking a hot bath helps prevent heart disease.
Balneotherapy is the treatment of diseases, injuries, and other physical ailments with baths and bathing, especially in natural mineral waters.—Dictionary.com
Relief for Aches and Pains
Taking a warm bath also improves breathing and respiratory function, as it clears the sinuses. Putting yourself in a hot tub full of water can also reduce pain and inflammation while calming the nervous system. This reduces stress, lowers anxiety, and improves one's mood.
Hydrotherapy also helps with pain relief and helps people who have chronic diseases like Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis. Hydrotherapy also improves digestion and can reduce sugar levels in the blood which helps people with diabetes. Studies have shown that bathing in hot water has positive metabolic effects. The original study done by Philip Hooper of McKee Medical Center in Colorado in 1999, featured the effects of 3 weeks of hot baths on patients who had type 2 diabetes. The end results revealed that patients had improvements in body weight, blood sugar control, and less dependence on insulin.
Studies have also been done that reveal exercising and bathing in hot water releases heat shock proteins or cells of the human body that are made in response to stress. Since taking a hot bath helps produce the heat shock proteins, it is suggested that baths may help people who can't exercise.
"Although very few of the claims for healing baths are backed by rigorous scientific studies the anecdotal evidence for their efficacy is abundant. "—Minneapolis-based dermatologist Bailey-Lee, M.D.
Reproductive Benefits of Hot Baths
Taking a bath can also aid a woman in childbirth by minimizing pain and helping her relax. Baths also help after the birth by reducing inflammation and aids in wound healing. Taking a bath increases the oxygen in the blood because you breath more deeply and slowly while the hot water kills bacteria and improves immune function. Submerging yourself in a hot bath also helps balance hormones like cortisol while increasing serotonin which helps alleviate stress and aids in improving sleep.
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In conclusion, saunas and hot baths have been used by people for centuries. Their benefit to people and the human body is still being studied. However, the studies that have been done all point to the indication that taking a hot bath has many benefits to a person's health and overall well being. It may be that in future studies there will be evidence to prevent heart disease altogether and people will live longer and happier lives due to taking a hot bath every day.
- The Healing Powers of a Warm Bath
WebMD suggests that you skip the shower and try a bath to battle dry skin, eczema, and poor sleep.
- Why Taking a Hot Bath Might Be as Good for Your Health as Exercise
Who knew? Taking a bath burns the same amount of calories as a half-hour walk.
- A hot bath has benefits similar to exercise
A hot bath burns calories, helps control blood sugar and keeps your blood vessels healthy. What's not to like?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.