Looking to try a health-benefitting trend you may not have thought much of as an adult? Splish, splash, try taking a bath! Not only are baths fun and relaxing, but they offer multiple health benefits too:
A warm, relaxing soak after a long day can do wonders for your overall mood. Whether it’s the feeling of warmth washed over you, the quiet and isolation, the comforting body positioning (lying down or sitting with legs extended), or the aromatherapy of fragrant candles, a bath can help you de-stress and relax.
Want to take your mood boosting bath up a notch? Try:
● Using a ‘bath bomb’ or essential oils in your bath with scents that bring you calming comfort like lavender, eucalyptus or sandalwood
● Find the best loofah for washing, exfoliating, and massaging your skin
● Turn off harsh overhead lights and light a candle or two
● Listen to calming music, an audiobook, or podcast that you love
Can Reduce Pain
When it comes to aiding stiff joints and sore muscles, baths of all temperatures can play an important role. Athletes are known for dunking down in ice baths following an intense workout or game, as the cold sensation numbs nerve endings and slows down the conductivity of pain signals. Exiting the bath into warm air then boosts blood circulation to muscles, flushing out unwanted toxins, lactic acid buildup, and waste byproducts, and boosting the body’s natural healing powers.
Warm baths on the other hand can help relieve muscle tension and pain for the average person, while salt baths provide soothing relief to arthritis sufferers. Lying in a warm bath suspended with salt actually helps the body’s cells release water, reducing inflammation and blocking pain signals being sent back to the brain.
Improves Sinus Pressure
Really feeling the ache of congested sinuses from a cold or infection? Steam from a hot bath just might do the trick for temporarily relieving your pain by helping clear out nasal passageways and relieving painful nasal tissues inflamed from constant sneezing or blowing of your nose.
Elevating your body temperature with a warm bath may also cue lymphatic immune cells to function more efficiently, helping you stave off an infection or fight a cold, according to a 2011 study. Optimize your congestion-fighting bath with a DIY mixture of epsom salt, baking soda, and peppermint and eucalyptus oils.
Promotes Better Sleep
Relaxing at room temperature after a 20 minute dip in a warm (not super hot) bath in the evening cues a natural cool down for your body that returns your temperature to normal and slows your heart rate back down. This process can trigger the body to release the hormone melatonin which is responsible for helping you fall asleep at night.
De-stressing and practicing self-care before bed are also great ways to prepare for a restful night’s sleep. Avoid blue light from TV or smartphones while taking a bath as that can negate the sleep-positive effects your bath has and can suppress melatonin release.
Hydrates (and Cleanses) Skin
Your body doesn’t simply stay hydrated from the water you consume, but can soak in moisture from a bath as well. An addition of some oils and salts can aid sufferers of skin issues like eczema or psoriasis and may even be recommended by a doctor. Hot bath water actually opens pores and may even cause you to sweat which stimulates the body’s natural cleansing processes.
As the skin is an organ, it too can go through a detoxification regimen that includes regular bathing. Exfoliating in the shower after a bath can help remove built up toxins, contaminants, and metabolic waste products which have collected. Taking a bath also improves lymphatic flow and boosts blood circulation by increasing your heart rate.
It’s important to remember when taking a bath to avoid overly hot water as it can negatively impact people with existing heart problems, and it can dry out and dehydrate skin. If you have an existing health condition or concerns, talk to your doctor before jumping into the tub!