The health benefits of a relaxing bath supported by research

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A simple lifestyle practice has been shown to help reduce stress, fatigue, pain, tension-anxiety, anger-hostility and depression-dejection, all from the comfort of a warm bath.

A recent randomised, controlled, cross-over study from Japan has found that the benefits of a hot bath for just 10 minutes a day improves both physical and emotional aspects of quality of life.[1]

Thirty-eight healthy adults were recruited for the intervention to investigate the benefits of bathing in warm water (40°C) for 10 minutes versus showering. Subjects were randomised to either bathing for two weeks followed by immediately showering for two weeks or vice versa without washout.[1]

Results showed greater improvements in measured aspects in the bathing group versus the showering group. Visual analogue scale scores and self-reporting measures reported significantly better general, mental and emotional health with improved social[1] functioning outcomes.

This follows on from a previous cross-sectional study that found people who had a habit of bathing in hot water had good subjective health status, sufficient sleep and rest, low levels of stress and high subjective happiness.[2,3] The results of both these studies support the causal relationship of the psychological benefits from bathing.

References

  1. Goto Y, Hayasaka S, Kurihara S, et al. Physical and mental effects of bathing: a randomized intervention study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2018;2018:9521086.
     
  2. Goto Y, Hayasaka S, Nakamura Y. Bathing in hot water, bathing in Japanese style of hot spring and drinking green tea may contribute to the good health status of Japanese. J Japan Soc Balneol, Climatol Phys Med 2012;75:256-266.
     
  3. Goto Y, Hayasaka S, Nakamura Y. Health effects of seasonal bathing in hot water, seasonal utilization of hot spring facilities, and high greem tea consumption. J Japan Soc Balneol, Climatol Phys Med 2014;77:171-182.

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