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A Case for Baths

A long, hot soak in the tub may seem like the last thing you’d want to do on a sticky day, but baths have long been a part of well-established self-care routines. It may seem luxurious or overindulgent, but a good soak has more legitimate health benefits than you might realize. Baths aren’t just about getting clean; they are also a simple practice for decompression and physical wellness. Here are a few reasons to consider a case for baths.

First up, stress reduction. Taking a bath to relieve stress doesn’t just have a mental connection; there’s a physical one as well.

Suppose you’re in a state of stress or anxiety. In that case, your cortisol levels are likely to be elevated, causing disruptions to your sleep patterns and negatively affecting everything from skin to digestion. A hot bath will raise your body temperature, which will kick start the body’s circadian rhythm and help reduce cortisol. The less cortisol in your body, the less stress you have. And taking a bath at night can contribute to better sleep as your circadian rhythm regulates.

In addition to lowering cortisol, a warm bath can calm the nervous system by encouraging the body to release neurotransmitters like serotonin. While the body releases serotonin, the skin releases endorphins in response to the soothing warm water. The same way endorphins are released when you feel the sun on your skin.

Bathing is also believed to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for helping you feel calmer and more relaxed.

A bath is a relaxing moment for your mind and a full-body heat treatment that can help with a variety of physical ailments.

A hot bath causes blood vessels to expand, which increases blood flow to your muscles, helping them relax. The heat of the water is also important for increasing the flexibility of collagen fibers to help reduce joint stiffness. Boosted blood flow will also support better heart health.

The impact of a warm bath isn’t limited to sore muscles or aching limbs; it can also improve lung function. An improvement in blood flow means that oxygen can flow more freely through the body, which helps increase lung capacity so we can breathe deeply and more easily.

Also, for colds, the steam produced by warm water can lessen the snottiness by freeing up the nasal passage to clear the chest and sinuses. A warm bath is an easy at-home remedy and a particularly good habit for asthmatics.

Even if you aren’t sick, you can keep up your good health with a warm bath. An increase in body temperature helps the body fight off infection. Regular hot soaks produce more white blood cells, which are crucial for our body’s immune defense. Pouring in some germ-fighting essential oils like eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint can further boost a bath’s potency and scent the water beautifully.

You can take a functional approach to bathing, or a ritualistic one with some candles and crystals, but the benefits are all the same. From stress reduction to soothing inflammation, to help with breathing, to immunity support, with or without bubbles, a warm un-rushed bath is a mostly free and easy means for supporting our minds and bodies. Case closed.