In the days of Ancient Rome, taking a bath was a fundamental right for city dwellers. People went to large, communal bathing centers that housed marble statues and captivating mosaics. In Japanese culture, a ritual that is practiced to this day involves bathing in onsen, traditional bath house. Cultures around the world embrace immersive bathing, so there must be a benefit to this practice, right?
The act of submerging the body in water is an enjoyable, relaxing experience. Studies found that taking a bath works to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which puts the body in the “rest and digest” state. This aids with stress and anxiety reduction. For example, if you’ve ever had a bad day and taken a bath after dinner, you understand how transformative that bath can be for your mood. Bathing does not merely benefit mental health, though. In fact, there are many physical benefits to soaking in a soothing bath. Continue reading to find out more.
Baths Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease
There are many benefits to hydrotherapy, or standing under a cold shower, but shivering is not for everyone. A 2020 study monitored the habitual bathing habits of 30,000 people in Japan over a 20-year period. The results indicated that regular time in the tub reduced the risk of heart disease by 28%. The frequency of bathing mattered more than the temperature of the water. People who enjoyed lukewarm, warm, or hot baths almost every day received the most cardiovascular benefits.
Baths May Encourage Hormonal Balance
According to several studies, bathing in warm water can aid the release of serotonin, which is arguably the most well-known neurotransmitter. It’s associated with overall happiness and well-being. Alternatively, bathing in a tub of cold water may help to relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Colder temperatures encourage the pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotropic (ACTH). This helps to balance other hormones like beta endorphin and cortisol. Establishing this balance helps to reduce stress and boost overall mood.
Baths Promote Better Sleep
If there is an easy, relaxing way to encourage better sleep, incorporate it into your daily regimen and don’t ask questions. One of the primary benefits of soaking in a bath, specifically in the evening, is that it helps encourage better sleep. One study monitored two groups of people, one of which include people between ages 17-22, and the other had people between the ages of 65-82. The study found that the younger adults felt warmer, while older participants reported an ability to fall asleep more quickly. Additionally, the overall quality of sleep improved. The belief is that an evening bath helps to dilate the skin’s blood vessels, helping the body release excess heat to cool down for bed.
Baths Help You Breathe Easier
Submerging the body in water and only having the head above the water has a positive influence on the lungs. This aids with optimal oxygen intake and helps improve lung capacity. Both the temperature of the water and the pressure of the water on the chest contribute to improved breathing. Warmer water tends to cause the heart to beat faster, which improves the body’s ability to intake oxygen. Additionally, if there is steam from the heat, it helps to clear up the sinuses and airways in your chest.
Baths Regulate Body Temperature
When it’s hot outside, going for a swim in a refreshing pool, lake, or ocean is the best way to cool the body down. After exposure to colder weather, taking a warm bath is the best way to warm up the body. Evidence shows that, despite the temperature of the weather, a natural body of water like a bath has a way of regulating body temperature.
As you can tell from this article, there are many benefits of soaking in a bath. Fill up the tub and hop in! Try to soak for at least 20 minutes when you take a bath for maximum benefits.