“There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”
Sylvie hit the nail on the head! A hot bath is a powerful healer.
When life gets you down… when you aren’t feeling well… when you need help catching some serious Zzz…
Baths are there for you!
It’s not exactly magic (although I will admit to using the word ‘magical’ on many occasions to describe the power of a hot bath). But baths offer up some serious health benefits.
If you’ve had a long day, are feeling down or exhausted, can’t kick a cold, have sore muscles, need a little extra self-love or just want to relax, a hot bath may very well be the answer.
Grab your bath bombs, light those candles, play some chill music and get ready for a ton of goodness. These benefits of baths are too good to pass up. Bonus points if you bring a good book into the tub with you. 😉
Before We Get Started
Baths are wonderful (we’ll talk a ton more about why in a minute). But we have the power to make them even better!
I made you a FREE E-Book full of my favourite self-care recipes to make next time you spoil yourself to a bath. We’ve got face masks, bath bombs, oil melts, milk baths and more. Relaxation at it’s finest!
Download your free copy of the Bath Recipes E-Book by filling out the form below:
Pour your hot water, put together your favourite recipe and put those feet up. You deserve it!
Now, let’s get back to the health benefits of baths…
Are Baths Making a Comeback?!
So I was hanging out with the Readers Digest, as one does, when I saw an article about baths that shocked me. Apparently they’re “making a heroic comeback.”
Why was I shocked? Certainly not because they told me that baths are coming back. But because this has to mean that they somehow left in the first place. It’s like Justin Timberlake circa 2006 all over again! I’m still not sure where sexy went. And now I need to wonder what happened to baths too?!
If you broke up with baths, you might want to consider jumping on this comeback train. It’s basically impossible to leave one without feeling relaxed and refreshed. And we could all use a little more of that sometimes.
And, of course, there are tons of health benefits to be had. Let’s take a look shall we? (Nerd alert! ^^)
8 Super Health Benefits of Baths
Before we dive in, it’s important to note that hot baths are cool but scorching baths can actually cause some harm. So make sure to keep that water at a reasonable temperature.
Turn the dial up to scalding and you’re risking heat stress, which means that your body can’t cool itself down. This puts extra strain on your heart. If the water’s too hot, add a little cold in to even it out. We’re not trying to boil you!
And if you have a heart or blood pressure disorder, talk to your doctor before indulging in a hot bath. Certain health conditions make it so baths aren’t a healthy options. Just because something can be healthy doesn’t mean that it’s healthy for all of us. We’re all wonderfully unique – what works best for each of us differs a little from person to person!
Now – since we’ve got through our little disclaimer, let’s take a peek into the goodness of baths. We’ve got some mental and physical health benefits waiting for us. Are you as excited to learn about the benefits of baths as I am?
1. Elevate Your Mood and Boost Relaxation
So maybe this fact isn’t surprising at all. I think it’s safe to say that we all link baths with relaxation. But it’s still neat, so this nerd is addressing it anyway! 😉
According to a study from the University of Wolverhampton, taking a hot bath at the end of the day provides a pretty stellar boost in mood and optimism! Something about the wonderful mix of laying down alone in comfort and warmth. (source)
Psychologist Dr. Neil Morris, who worked on the study, had this to say:
“I found that bathing improved general psychological wellness radically. There was a significant drop in feelings of pessimism about the future and increases in hedonic tone, the internal feeling of pleasurability. And I believe that the results could be even more impressive over a longer period of time. Baths give you the chance to stop the day for a few minutes, in a way that showers can’t. There is a wonderful combination of isolation, quiet and comfort.” (source)
Take that showers. Baths win this round!
Related: How to Practice Gratitude and Feel Awesome
2. Reduce Stress
One of the lovely benefits of baths is that they provide us with this wonderful physical comfort. And they also give us the opportunity to connect with ourselves (at least when we enjoy them solo).
It’s creates a little moment of mindfulness. Bathing allows you to simply be present in the moment. It allows you to pay attention to what’s happening inside of your body and your mind and/or bring your awareness to the world around you. But, most importantly, when you practice mindfulness you have the chance to work on being present and aware without criticism or judgment.
Mindfulness is so cool, right? But what are the benefits?
- Reduces Anxiety and Stress
- Improves Focus and Concentration
- Decreases Blood Pressure
- Increases Empathy and Compassion
(I’ve got tons more details and sources waiting for you right here if you want to learn more)
According to Jessie Violet Larson, a medical massage therapist with UPMC Center for Integrative Medicine in Pittsburgh:
“When you’re in a bath you can’t really do anything else, and it forces you to clear your mind and be calm. Bath time can be a really great exercise for mind, body, and spirit, renewing your energy.” (source)
And migraine surgeon Dr. Mark Khorsandi shares more specifics on how baths reduce stress:
“Stress causes the muscles of the body to contract. A hot bath can relieve those symptoms and keep the muscles loose.” (source)
Basically, when we relax physically we often relax mentally. Win win!
Related: 4 Excellent Stress Relieving Activities To Try Right Now
3. Improve Sleep
Missing out on your daily Zzz can have a serious affect on your health. We’re talking:
- Poor memory
- Difficulty concentrating
- Bad mood
- Increased risk of depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other health issues
Which is why it’s so important that we work with our doctors when needed and do our best to form an awesome sleep routine (source). Sleep is serious business friends!
And baths can help!
About two hours before your typically go to sleep your body temperature starts to drop. Don’t worry, it’s totally normal and plays an important role in preparing your body for sleep. We can use this to our advantage and get the ball rolling with a hot bath!
The hot water causes your temperatures to rise one or two degrees and when you get out they drop down fast. Or, if you choose to soak until the water cools, your temperature slowly drops down. Pruney fingers are just a sign that you’ll be well rested! (I may do this often…) (source)
Joyce Walsleben, PhD, associate professor at New York University School of Medicine recommends baths for a good night sleep:
“If you raise your temperature a degree or two with a bath, the steeper drop at bedtime is more likely to put you in a deep sleep.” Showers don’t work quite as well. But they can still help if baths aren’t your thing. (source)
But it’s important to know that timing is key!
If you want to really cash in on this benefit of a hot bath aim to take one about an hour or two before bed.
Related: 7 Simple Self Care Tricks on How to Sleep Better
4. Relieve Muscle Pain
Think of baths as the ultimate hot pack. Soaking in warm water soothes aching muscles and even blocks pain. So cool, right? (source 1, source 2)
Now, if you’ve put your muscles through a serious work out a cold bath might be a better option. (It pains me to say this, I’m not a fan of being cold!) When lactic acid buildup (something that can happen when we workout) is the true cause of our pain, cold is our friend.
Cold water will constrict blood vessels and help to push out that lactic acid. This helps to ease pain and lets the body recover faster. (source)
However, I will admit that you could never pay me to take a cold bath. See, self-care needs to be right for you. Even I don’t do everything! 😉
Related: 10 Easy Self Care Ideas That Will Help You Relax
5. Ease Cold Symptoms Like Congestion and Cough
Getting sick super sucks! That awful feeling when you’re all congested, your face is pounding and you’ve got a serious cough is just no fun.
Baths can’t exactly destroy those cold symptoms. But they can help!
How do baths help? Steam therapy yo!
Inhaling that steam while you soak in the tub provides some serious relief to cold sufferers. It helps to clear out those poor, stuffed sinuses and even reduces inflammation. (source 1, source 2)
On top of that, keeping yourself warm when you’re suffering from a viral infection can actually be pretty helpful. This study shows that elevating your body temperature helps with certain immune functions. Your warm, relaxed body can kick more virus booty!
Of course, be careful and check your temperature. If you have a fever a hot bath isn’t a good idea. We don’t want to elevate an already elevated body temperature.
6. Might Reduce Inflammation and Control Blood Sugar
So this may sound a little weird, but According to this research on the health benefits of baths, immersing yourself in hot water for a little while might help to reduce inflammation and control blood sugar… just as much as a gentle exercise session. Totally bonkers, right?
Does that mean that a hot bath replaces exercise? Definitely not! I mean, moving your beautiful body is so important for so many reasons (we can talk more about the benefits of exercise here). But this is still a pretty awesome bonus to a nice soak in the tub, right?
And this news is pretty wonderful for people who aren’t able to do much exercise due to physical limitations. While these benefits are limited, they still provide a nice little boost.
7. Can Help Manage Chronic Pain
Arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscular pain and more can all potentially be soothed by a hot bath. Especially when you add salt. And I’m not just talking fancy bath salts (which are totally fine). Table salt can work wonders as well. (source)
Salt baths can help to reduce joint pain.
Adding salt to your bath can help to inhibit and lower swelling and ease pain! This study discovered the potential promise. It’s not a magic cure, but it can provide some relief and help with pain management. (source)
Dr. Vincent Compan, who worked on the study, has this to say on the findings:
“This research opens up exciting opportunities for the use of hypertonic solution as a treatment for inflammatory illnesses such as arthritis. What we’ve identified has the potential to be used to help so many patients.” (source)
Related: 6 Benefits of Yoga That Will Make You Want To Start Now
8. Opportunity For Self-Love
How often do you get to hang out in our birthday suit with your lovely self? Baths provide this awesome opportunity to appreciate your amazing body and be kind to yourself.
Many of us have a bad habit of talking down to our beautiful bodies when we take in their full glory. A bath is a fantastic time to work against that and silence your inner mean girl.
Think of your bath as a one on one date with yourself. Make it super relaxing. Light candles, put on some gentle music and grab your favourite bath or skin care products.
Spoil yourself. Be kind to yourself. Speak kindly to yourself. And think about how awesome the amazing biological masterpiece you live in is. I mean, it keeps you alive. It lets you do everything you love to do. And man does it ever look good doing it.
How cool is that? We don’t think about it often enough. And bath time is as good a time as any to appreciate the skin we’re in and work on self-love. Don’t you agree?
Related: These 3 Incredible Benefits of Dry Brushing Will Make You Reach For a Brush
Baths might not work miracles. But they certainly do offer up a ton of goodness. The best part – these wonderful health benefits of baths are pretty easy to tap into. And, personally, I can’t think of any better way to relax and wind down mindfully before bed. What do you think?
Now it’s your turn – are you team bath or team shower? What benefits of baths surprised you the most? Anything awesome you’d like to add to the list? Share your lovely thoughts with us in the comments below.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: Sometimes the quietest comforts have the most powerful impacts.
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It’s so true. I used to never take baths and then I was sick recently and took one and I felt a world better. Now I am trying to take them more often, especially at night to help with sleep.
I’m sorry to hear that you were sick recently Paige! I’m happy that a bath made you feel better. It really does work wonders! And is such a lovely thing to do before bed :). Here’s to a beautiful, new addition to your self-care routine! Yay!
I have a detox bath for self-love – it is so good!
Baths are such a beautiful form of self-love! I’m so happy you brought that up. A special, relaxing moment just for you. It’s truly a kind and wonderful thing to do for yourself. I hope you enjoy your next one soon <3
great reasons to take a bath I too find them relaxing and a perfect time out
Happy you enjoy them too Angie! Even if these benefits didn’t exist I would still make time for them. They just make you feel amazing. But I’m happy to know that I’m getting some extra bonuses while I soak ;). I hope you get to relax in the tub soon <3
Warm water does have its calming effects- probably why I like hot tubs the way I do. Also, the warm water can help with sinus issues, which is one of the few annoyances I have to deal with.
Yes, it’s like a steam therapy! I thought that was so neat. And really helpful when you deal with sinus issues. I’m happy hot tubs provide you with some relief! Hope you get to enjoy a dip in the near future. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us :).
Danica Anne Panganiban
bath is always my quick fix for anything. water has this healing effect that never fails to cure even the pain in my heart and stops my constant need to overthink everything. If it is not for the skin, I will definitely do it everyday so I limit it only to twice weekly. Your article is on point. cheers to self love! =)
I absolutely adore how you put it Danica! It does cute a pained heart and an overthinking mind. Baths are truly an amazing healer.
Everyone’s skin is different, but personally I will add a little oil to the bath (and have a few bath recipes under beauty in my recipe section). You need to be careful as it makes the tub slippery. So I advise caution when getting out. But it helps to keep my skin soft and happy whilst allowed me to take regular baths. 🙂 Hope that helps in some small way <3.
Thank you so much for sharing your lovely thoughts with us. Hope you enjoy a bath soon darling!
Totally agree with these benefits. I love baths – both for some self love and relaxation.
I couldn’t agree with you more Tee! They’re bursting with goodness ^^.
such an interesting read – definitely need to make more time for a bath! x
I hope you treat yourself to one soon Page! 🙂 It’s a little moment of heaven.
I can’t agree with you more. My mind becomes fresh only after I sit in the hot bath tub after the long tiring day.
I’m so happy you do that for yourself Kalyan! Isn’t it wonderful how it’s basically instant relaxation? Enjoy your next dip in the tub 🙂
Baths are awesome! It just depends on what soap you use!
Absolutely Briana! That’s such an important point. The self-care products (soap included) that we choose to use can really affect our well-being. And, there’s the added risk of things like irritated skin and yeast infections when we add soap to the tub. It’s important that we’re careful. I’m happy you shared that point! 🙂 Thanks a ton!
Enjoy your next bath!
Great post! I used to carve out time to bath all the time but somehow I got away from that. Or broke up with baths as you cleverly put it. I need to get back into the habit as it would certainly soothe my achy body after the gym or be a great opportunity for me to relax on weekends.
Thank you Shannon! I’m so happy you enjoyed it.
There are so many great forms of self-care. We can’t do them all. I think it’s normal to go through stages where you enjoy different self-care activities. But if baths sound like a good thing to get back into that’s awesome. They definitely have a lot of goodness to offer :). I hope you enjoy getting back into them and they help you feel better after your workout <3.
I have ALWAYS loved a nice hot bath. I’m glad other are seeing the benefits!
I’m right there with you Shirley! They’re practically magical <3. They certainly feel that way. I'm happy you have a hot bath as a lovely go-to form of self-care. Enjoy relaxing in your next one :)
I love your content…always practical and realistic. But in this post I loved your images most. Made me WANT to soak away 🙂
Aww Kelly! Thank you! That really means the world :). I think it’s so important that we feel empowered to prioritize our well-being. And that it be fun, simple and realistic. Life it hectic enough! And your comment makes me feel like I’m doing my part of help <3. Eeee you've made my day :D.
I hope you get to enjoy a nice, long bath soon. Bonus points if you bring a good book ^^. Sending tons of love your way Kelly. Thank you again!
I love soaking in the hot tub at the end of the day. I do set the temperature just below scalding, so I may be doing some harm, but I love it.
That’s such a nice form of self-care Dave! I’m really happy you have that. And hey, as long as you listen to your body and stay hydrated I’m sure you’re ok :). Enjoy your next soak!
I had no idea baths could help with cough and congestion symptoms! That’s one really cool benefit! I do love my weekly dates with myself with candles, a movie, and a bathtub but I didn’t know there were so many benefits to our physical healthy! I only paid attention to my mental health lol
A weekly date is such a nice thing Flo! I love it. Such a lovely way to show yourself some love.
Isn’t it nice when you find out that there were extra, unexpected benefits to something you already enjoyed? I’m glad you were focusing on your mental health! We all need to do that more often. Your physical health always benefits when your mental health gets some extra attention. They’re incredibly connected and equally important. You’re rocking it!
I hope you treat yourself to a lovely date again soon. I truly adore the idea! Here’s to self-love <3.
Yes! Any excuse to take a bath, but honestly so glad that there are such great health benefits!
I’m right with you Clare! Even if these benefits didn’t exist I’d still be running for the tub at the end of a long day. It’s practically magical :). The extra benefits are a nice bonus <3. Enjoy your next bath!
Ntensibe Edgar Michael
The aching muscles….tick tick tick, Sara!!!! I suffered from severe muscle spasms, on my back, last year and a session of hot water or air, for an hour a whole week did the trick!
Yes, it’s pretty neat how a bath can help with sore muscles. I definitely wouldn’t be up for the cold bath for lactic acid buildup but hot baths can be a great soother of sore muscles caused by other issues. And hey, maybe they work for some who are experiencing lactic acid buildup too (I’m just going by what the research has to say ;)). I’m really happy it worked for you and made you feel better Ntensibe! That’s wonderful ^^