Taking a bath has largely fallen out of favour in the modern world. Many people prefer to take a shower instead, on the grounds that baths take too long, use too much water and take up too much space. However, taking a warm, relaxing bath at least once a week has many health benefits.
Taking a bath causes deep muscle relaxation in all the major muscle groups in your body. This improves muscle elasticity, reduces cramps, lowers your blood pressure and reduces your chance of getting tension headaches. Taking a bath also relaxes the mind, helping you to cope with anxiety and stress. Scientific research has shown that taking a bath once a day for two months is more effective in this respect than prescription medicines.
Obviously, taking a bath raises your body temperature, but it is the subsequent fall in body temperature that helps you to sleep better. After taking a bath, the fall in your body temperature signals the release of a hormone called melatonin, which regulates your biological rhythms, including sleep. Visit Archers Sleepcentre to find out more about the benefits of a good night’s sleep.
Taking a bath stimulates your lymphatic system to remove bacteria from your body tissues, which reduces your likelihood of infection. If your bath is hot enough to make you perspire, your perspiration will carry away bacteria, toxins and viruses, improving your overall health. Profuse perspiration also cleanses your skin more thoroughly than soap and water because it opens your pores, allowing dead cells, grime and other impurities to be flushed away. If you’re already suffering from a cold or other infection, the relaxation associated with taking a bath also stimulates the release of chemicals, called endorphins, which raise your pain threshold.
The steam produced by a hot bath opens the trachea and bronchi – the airways to the lungs – and can bring relief to sufferers of respiratory problems, such as asthma, bronchitis and sinusitis. Taking a bath also increases your blood circulation, which means that blood reaches damaged tissues more quickly and dead cells are removed from your body equally quickly. The increased blood flow can help to reduce congestion or inflammation in the respiratory system.
Warm water, by itself, softens the skin, making it easier to slough away dead skin cells through exfoliation. You can use a loofah, pumice stone or sea sponge to improve the appearance of your skin without harsh chemicals. You can also add natural oils, such as coconut oil or olive oil, to your bath water to prevent dry, flaky skin in future. You can also add a variety of other natural substances, high in minerals, to benefit your skin and body. Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, neutralises acids on the skin and soothes skin rashes, magnesium sulphate, commonly known as Epsom salts, soothes sore muscles and joints and witch hazel, which is antiseptic and good for bruises and inflammations.
This guest post was written and contributed by Zoe, a blogger writing about the health benefits of great sleep for a healthy lifestyle. Presently, she is writing on behalf of bed superstore Archers Sleep Centre.