The Benefits of a Hot Bath: Every Question about Hot Baths Answered
After a long day replete with stress and responsibilities, nothing is better than taking a nice, relaxing bath. A nice hot bath eases your muscles, relieving your built up tension, thus prolonging your life, in addition to being quite an enjoyable activity on its own. Hot baths carry a plethora of health benefits for both your physical and mental well-being, and today we will be discussing just some of the benefits taking that small break can have on your body.
Jump to a specific section:
- Are hot baths good for you?
- What’s the best temperature?
- When should I take a bath?
- How long should I take a bath?
- Benefits of taking a hot bath
- How to take a relaxing bath
Are hot baths good for you?
As well as being quite an enjoyable activity on its own, a hot bath has numerous benefits for your physical and mental health. They provide stress relief, which both elevates your mood as well as providing you with lower blood pressure. Lower blood pressure means a healthier heart, in addition to having a great impact on your skin and muscles. It has proven that warm water helps to relieve aches and soreness, as well as provide comfort to irritated skin. The warmth you retain from a hot bath also helps you to fall asleep as it relaxes your muscles, therefore making it beneficial for those that have trouble falling asleep. It can also help you fight colds and nasal congestion by warming your body, freeing your congested pathways and promoting clearer air intake. Lastly, while it may not be an intense workout, the higher temperature of the bath will cause to sweat, promoting loss of weight in the long term.
What is the best temperature for a nice bath?
This is an interesting question, as there is no definite answer available-each person has their own heat preference and water tolerance, but in general, any temperature above 102 degrees Fahrenheit will begin to affect one’s health the longer they stay in that bath. This is not really that large of an issue as most people don’t take baths longer than 15-30 minutes on average, just be aware if you start to exceed that general time. The optimal temperature for washing away environmental dirt and bacteria is around 112 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you can’t handle that temperature, that’s ok, as stated above, everyone has their own tolerance level and the priority of a bath is to make yourself comfortable, so don’t be worried if your water temperature is floating anywhere between 90 degrees Fahrenheit and 115 degrees-as discussed, it is merely based on personal preference. So please, be mindful if the water is too warm or too cold for your liking and adjust as you see fit your comfort and safety takes precedence over anything else.
When should I take a hot bath?
The point of a hot bath is to relax and ease your stress, so often times the time you want to take one should be aligned with your sleeping habits, as typically a hot bath will relax your body, making it that much easier to fall asleep. With body temperatures, it is important to note that both extremes are seen as beneficial-colder body temperatures and warm body temperatures will help to induce sleep better. The reason for this is that your body tends to produce the hormone Melatonin-which helps to induce sleep, whenever the temperature dips in your body. So an old trick for falling asleep is to take a bath or shower roughly two hours before going to bed, so that your body temperature is elevated, then slowly begins to dip as you cool off, relax and fall asleep.
How long should you take a hot bath?
On the whole, a bath should last no longer than 30 minutes on the high end. The normal average is anywhere between 15-30 minutes, with prolonged exposure causing severe dry skin which leads to agitation, irritation and promotes bacteria growth, which carries a multitude of health risks. A longer soak, however, does amplify the normal benefits by a great deal, IE; Stress Relief, Muscle and Soreness relief, Reduced blood pressure and promoting Better airflow through your lungs. But this does come at the risk of drying out your skin, with the solid indicator of wrinkly fingers being a good time to wrap up your bath time. Bath salts provide a wonderful aid for the benefits listed above, but summarily, you are adding salt to your water, which also poses the same problem-your skin will dry out that much faster. So if you are planning on using bath salts and taking a longer soak time, it is well advised you properly moisturize beforehand to keep your skin from cracking and drying out. Keeping yourself hydrated would also be recommended as well.
The 8 Benefits of taking a hot bath
First and foremost, the primary benefit of a hot bath is stress relief. With so many different avenues available to help you relax, a bath is a perfect way to release all your built up tension from the day. A hot bath will increase your body’s internal temperature, which will ease your muscles, causing you to relax and therefore, elevating your mood. You can help this by adding bath salts to your water and perhaps some scented candles as well as therapeutic bath oils to further enhance your stress relief.
Muscle aches and soreness
A regular bath can help to relax and ease muscle fatigue and soreness. The addition of bath salts have been known to ease inflammation in the joints and even prevent arthritis and other muscle related diseases. Some have even seen improvements on those with type 2 diabetes as the hot water helps to relax your muscles and keep them from tensing up.
Reduced Blood Pressure
Taking a regular bath or incorporating it into your daily routine helps to ease stress as stated above. With lower stress comes reduced blood pressure, meaning your heart is much healthier as it does not have to work as hard, meaning that your risk of serious heart conditions such as heart attacks or strokes is lessened. The increased heat means better blood flow through your body, which means a happier, healthier heart.
Remedy irritated skin
For those with cracked or irritable skin, the soothing water of the bath can help to ease the discomfort and pain. While scalding or hot water can irritate these areas even more, warm water with certain therapeutic bath oils can help ease your discomfort as well as help to ease your stress.
Breathing better if congested
A hot bath can help to clear your nasal passages from obstructions when you have the flu or a cold. Steam from the bath will help to loosen your mucus blockage which comes from the inflammation in your nasal passages. By loosening the mucus build-up, you are able to clear the obstructions, allowing you better breathing. A hot bath can also help your immune system better fight off viruses as the increased body temperature is not agreeable for many viruses and colds.
Potential to lose weight
A hot bath elevates your internal body temperature, causing you to sweat. While it may not be an intense aerobic workout, taking a hot bath consistently will help to promote weight loss. On the whole, a long 15 min soak can burn as many calories as a walk in a similar span of time.
How to take a relaxing bath
As with many things a nice, relaxing bath begins with your environment. Dim the lights, light up some nice scented candles and maybe play some relaxing, calming music. A nice face mask to keep your skin moisturized, some therapeutic bath oils and bath salts to elevate your bathing experience, maybe even a small snack. The idea is to relax and drown out all exterior noise, so incorporate your own interests-bring a book or magazine to further ease your stress-filled day and drift off. When you do drift off, be ready with a dry towel and a nice bathrobe so that you are ready for your warm bed after cooling off a little.
Hot baths are a wonderful way to keep yourself and your body happy and healthy. So please, take the time to enjoy peace of mind for yourself and draw up a hot bath for yourself more often.