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Bath Bombs and Tub Tips: Health Benefits of a Warm Soak

By Martha Michael

Benefits of a Warm Soak

If you’re thinking about a bathroom renovation, don’t eliminate your bathtub in order to build a luxurious shower, which has become a popular decision by some owners. That bit of advice comes from an article on Bob Vila’s website. The home improvement guru guides you away from trendy bathroom designs such as fish scale tiles and barn doors despite gaining popularity among homeowners.

There may be reasons involving resale value to keep your bathtub in place, but another drawback is that you lose the benefits of a nice, warm soak, which contributes to the well-being of your mind and body.

Mental Health Benefits

Warm bathing is a therapeutic practice for people in many cultures of the world. A popular form of self-care, soaking in a warm bathtub can offer the same effects as candlelight, soft music, and healing aromatherapy.

The emotional benefits of bathing are not a momentary good feeling either, according to an article by the Cleveland Clinic. Many people note differences to their sleep at night and improvements to their mood by day.

Warm baths decrease stress hormones, balancing mood-regulating serotonin levels. Research shows that 30 minutes in a hot tub at a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit can decrease bouts of depression.

"Baths give you ... a wonderful combination of isolation, quiet, and comfort," says psychologist Neil Morris, who conducted a study finding that spending time in warm water decreases pessimism and depression in patients.

Health experts agree that bathing can serve as a form of medicine for the mind. You can get a feeling of refreshment and prepare for a good night’s sleep with an evening bath, says an article in Town & Country. It’s a two-step process. When your body’s temperature drops at night, it signals the production of melatonin, sometimes called the sleeping hormone. It’s the reason many people like to keep their bedrooms cold. Bathing in warm water initially raises your temperature, but it quickly drops when you get out of the tub, at which point it stimulates the release of melatonin, granting you a more relaxing night’s sleep.

In addition to a therapeutic atmosphere associated with a comfortable bath, the heat enhances circulation that results in benefits to your body.

Physical Benefits

Sore muscles, irritated skin, and the health of your heart are all impacted by a warm bath. And your immune system gets a boost as well.

Muscles - The surge of circulation while immersing yourself in warm water not only relaxes your mind, it also relaxes tight muscles. By adding Epsom salts to your tub, you can reduce inflammation in arthritic joints and improve symptoms of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

Skin - Ironically, while bathing too frequently and for long periods can result in itchy, dry skin, occasional bathing in warm water can actually eliminate dryness. An article by Harvard Health explains how bathing affects your skin. When scaly skin is loosened by the water, it removes irritated patches to reveal softer epidermal layers. If you are using a topical medication, a warm bath before you apply it to your skin will enhance absorption and maximize its effectiveness. You may want to add oatmeal to the water and use gentle abrasion to combat itchy skin.

Heart - Keeping your blood pressure down is the key to warding off serious cardiac issues. The heat from a warm bath improves blood flow and reduces the chance of a heart attack or stroke. A study in Japan published in the journal Heart reported a 28 percent lower risk of heart disease among those who bathed in warm or hot water daily, the Harvard Health article says.

Immune system - Staying well depends on your body’s ability to fight illness, and hot water can kill bacteria. One of the side effects of soaking in warm water is the steam created by the high temperatures relieves congestion by loosening mucus blockage to alleviate cold symptoms.

Bathtub Tips

As long as it’s built for safety and holds water, your bathtub can become a vessel of healing.

Make the space as inviting as possible to maximize your feelings of relaxation and make the experience worth repeating. Like creating a fitness program you love, adding incentives to healthful practices can motivate you to return for their beneficial effects.

Make sure the water isn’t too hot because high temperatures can cause dizziness. And warm water -- not hot -- is better for the health of your immune system.

Avoid bathing every day because it dries out your skin, especially if you use bath products such as Epsom salts, which may cause irritation or itching.

Use products to maximize the experience. Bath bombs can provide pleasurable smells and add fizz to the water. Give yourself the healing sensation of essential oils, including:

  • Lavender
  • Calendula
  • Aloe
  • Oil
  • Coconut
  • Oatmeal

You can get just as clean in a standing position and use shower bombs for added effect, but nothing beats the emotional and physical benefits of a long, warm soak. Whether you choose a vintage footed, freestanding bath, or prefer to install a modern, multi-jet hot tub, the choice of design is your call. Just add water.

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