Thursday, April 25, 2024
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Comprehensive wellness benefits of hot water bath

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The practice of bathing in warm water has a rich and storied past, extending far beyond its utilitarian function. Woven into the cultural fabric of diverse societies throughout history, from the Roman bathhouses to the onsen traditions of Japan.
It has served as a cornerstone of both personal hygiene and holistic well-being. However, the allure of warm water bathing transcends mere cultural tradition. In an era characterised by relentless technological advancement and pervasive stress, the ability to carve out moments of self-care is paramount.
Hot water bathing presents itself as a readily available and powerful tool for promoting holistic wellness. Recent scientific research has shed light on a compelling array of health benefits associated with this seemingly simple practice.
Vikram Raman, Vice President, Marketing and E-Commerce of Ariston Thermo India said: “Stepping into a warm bath triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. This, in turn, activates the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for the body’s “rest and digest” response. According to a study published in EatingWell, regular hot water immersion may increase a brain chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is associated with mood regulation and cognitive function. At the same time, hot water immersion may also reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which can have negative effects on mental and physical health. Therefore, hot water immersion can significantly reduce stress hormone levels, leading to feelings of calmness and relaxation.”
The warmth from a bath can also work wonders for promoting better sleep. Raman asserts that studies have shown, a warm bath taken 1-2 hours before bedtime can help regulate body temperature.
He said: “As your body cools down afterwards, it mimics the natural sleep-onset process, leading to deeper and more restful sleep. A study published in Sleep Medicine Reviews found that taking a warm bath or shower 1-2 hours before bedtime, at a temperature of 40-43 degrees celsius can improve sleep quality by changing the body’s core temperature and circadian rhythm.
The study revealed that people who took warm baths before bed experienced significant improvements in sleep quality, falling asleep faster and waking up less frequently throughout the night. This improved sleep, in turn, can contribute to better cognitive function, mood regulation, and overall health.”
The warmth and buoyancy of a hot bath can significantly ease muscle tension and stiffness.
A study conducted by Arthritis Foundation suggests that warm water immersion can be an effective pain management tool, particularly for individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia.
“Patients suffering from such conditions who participated in warm water exercise programs two or three times a week could move around better and have as much as 40 per cent less pain. The warmth helps to increase blood flow to the affected areas, promoting relaxation and reducing muscle spasms. Moreover, the buoyancy can take pressure off sore joints, providing much-needed relief,” says Raman.
While more research is needed, some studies suggest that regular hot water bathing may offer potential cardiovascular benefits.
A study published by Harvard Health revealed that people who took a daily warm or hot bath had a 28 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 26 per cent lower risk of stroke.
Researchers hypothesise that the warmth may cause vasodilation, or the widening of blood vessels, which could potentially improve blood flow and reduce strain on the heart.
Aside from the aforementioned benefits, hot water baths offer a range of other potential benefits, Raman highlights:
Improved circulation: The warmth can increase blood flow, promoting overall circulation and delivering essential nutrients to the body’s tissues. This can contribute to improved skin health, faster healing, and even better cognitive function.
Boosted immune system: Some studies suggest that warm baths may help stimulate the immune system, possibly by increasing white blood cell activity, although more research is needed to confirm this.
Relief from skin conditions: Soaking in warm water with added ingredients like oatmeal or Epsom salts can help soothe dry, itchy skin and alleviate symptoms of eczema and psoriasis. The warm water helps to open pores and remove irritants, while the added ingredients can provide additional moisturizing and soothing properties.
While hot water bathing offers numerous benefits, Raman stresses on the importance to exercise caution:
Maintain a safe temperature: Avoid excessively hot water, which can cause burns. The ideal bath temperature is generally between 98°F (36.7 degrees celsius) and 104 degrees F (40 degrees celsius).
Limit bath duration: Prolonged immersion in hot water can dehydrate the skin and lead to dizziness. It’s recommended to limit bath time to 15-20 minutes.
Consult your doctor: Individuals with certain medical conditions, like heart disease or uncontrolled high blood pressure, should consult their doctor before taking hot baths.
Incorporating regular hot water baths into your self-care routine can be a simple yet powerful way to improve your overall well-being.
From stress relief and better sleep to muscle relaxation and potential cardiovascular benefits, the warm embrace of a hot bath offers a natural and accessible path to holistic wellness.
So, the next time you’re feeling stressed, achy, or simply in need of some self-care, consider drawing a warm bath and unlocking the multitude of wellness wonders it holds. (IANSlife)

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