Taking a long soothing soak in the bath can be the perfect antidote to a stressful day. Not only are they relaxing, but there are many health benefits of baths, including helping various ailments, reducing stress, anxiety and lifting a low mood.
Are Baths Good for You?
The health benefits of baths have long been celebrated, with the ancient Greeks and Romans making visits to bath houses - which were often built on hot springs - central to their routines.
As well as using bathing to find relaxation, many bygone societies understood the different benefits to submerging in a warm water, including pain relief and inflammation reduction.
Soaking in a warm bath can reduce pain and inflammation by calming the nervous system, while the water also gets blood moving around the body, helping tired, aching muscles to relax.
That’s why hydrotherapy, when patients soak in warm water, is used to treat arthritis and related rheumatic diseases. It also has positive effects for multiple sclerosis sufferers.
A warm bath with added salt has many anti-inflammation properties, while a long soak can also help control your body’s blood sugar levels.
Many studies show that taking a warm bath helps improve sleep because, after getting out of the bath, the body rapidly reduces in temperature, which increases the production of melatonin.
Melatonin, the sleeping hormone, regulates sleep cycles. So if you’re struggling to sleep at night, it’s recommended to take a warm bath around 90 minutes before going to bed.
Increased Cardiovascular Health
Studies show that taking baths lowers the risk of a person developing heart disease, with the warm water reducing blood pressure and increasing blood flow and circulation.
It’s also said that a long, warm bath is similar to a gentle workout, and that water immersion reduces inflammation and controls blood sugar levels in a similar way to exercising.
Reducing Stress, Anxiety and Lifting Moods
Closing the bathroom door, lighting candles and slipping into a warm bath provides us with the chance to get away from things resulting in unwanted stress and anxiety.
The good news is that there are medically proven health benefits of baths, with a daily bath found by researchers to help beat depression, having an even greater effect than exercise.
The peace and quiet a bath provides, especially with essential oils such as lavender oil, helps to bring on relaxation — with a temperature of around 40°C and 45°C ideal.
The benefits to body and mind mean baths should be central to your daily routine, with a long soak even acting as a brain booster when memory-boosting sage oil is added.
Eucalyptus and lavender oils have been proven to help reduce stress, while bath steam can alleviate the symptoms of a cold, such as a blocked or runny nose.
Bathing in a nice warm bath is a great way to moisturise the skin, hair and eyes, with the water and steam opening up the skin’s pores and helping the body cleanse itself.