Soaking in a warm tub doesn’t just feel good. Bath time can provide a wide variety of mental and physical health benefits.
Sure, doctors in ancient Rome may have overestimated the therapeutic powers of the water cure. Regardless of what Hippocrates said, you probably don’t want to rely on a bath to cure pneumonia, but you can still find relief for less serious ailments. Just ensure you rinse off completely, dry your skin gently, and get out of the tub after about 10 to 15 minutes to avoid dry skin.
Prepare to unwind with plain warm water or fancy bombs and salts. Learn more about how to enjoy the medicinal value of bathing.
Mental Health Benefits of Bathing
Fight depression. Immersing yourself in warm water raises serotonin and endorphin levels. Those are two of the main brain chemicals associated with happiness and wellbeing.
Relieve stress. Soaking away tension may be the first thing that comes to mind. Dim the lights, turn off your phone, and slather yourself with a fragrant moisturizer afterwards.
Continue learning. Prop your head on a bath pillow and read a book or listen to a lecture on audiotape. Acquiring knowledge and insights can sharpen your thinking and may even protect you from certain forms of dementia.
Sleep better. Warming up in the bathtub before bed raises your core temperature. When you start to cool off, your body will produce melatonin that makes you feel sleepy. That good night’s rest is good for your mind and body.
Feel connected. Psychologists at Yale found some evidence that loneliness makes us bathe more because our brains associate physical warmth with the affection we may be missing. Try taking a bath while you’re working on your relationships.
Make minor adjustments. Add essential oils into the mix for whatever results you want. For example, chamomile tends to be calming while rosemary stimulates memory.
Physical Health Benefits of Bathing
- Boost circulation. Hydrotherapy increases blood flow and may strengthen your immune system. To try it at home, splash yourself with cold water while sitting in a warm tub.
- Pamper your feet. If you’re short on time or conserving water, you can still get your feet wet. Fill a basin with warm water and add a few drops of peppermint oil.
Soothe your skin. Experiment with bath products and natural ingredients known to stop itching, treat sunburn, or moisturize your skin. If you sat too long in the sun, dip into cool water with two cups of vinegar. Try cornstarch or milk for dry skin.
Reduce congestion. Steam is a natural antidote for congestion when you have allergies or a cold. If breathing in a steamy bathroom isn’t enough, wrap a towel around your head and lower it over a bowl of hot water to help break up and loosen mucus. Eucalyptus oil or mustard powder can help the process too.
Lower a fever. If you’re running a fever, you may be able to cool off with a sponge bath. Use warm water because cold water or alcohol can make your temperature drop too quickly.
Banish body aches. Did you overdo it at the gym? Add a cup or two of Epsom salts to your bathwater to shrink inflamed tissues and relieve soreness.
Give birth. What if you’re expecting? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that birthing pools might have some benefits during the first stage of labor. Advocates claim warm water can reduce pain and accelerate labor.
Enhance your overall wellbeing while you clean up. Hop into the tub to enjoy some refreshment and healing.