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6 Science-Backed Benefits of a Hot Bath

The Magazine: 6 Science-Backed Benefits of a Hot Bath

The idea of a hot bath at the end of a long day is often a welcome one — and for good reason. But some of the reasons to think about incorporating it into your self-care ritual might surprise you. Read on for the science-backed benefits of a hot bath... and why and how the addition of CBD can make it even better.

Lowers blood sugar and burns calories.

Forget the gym, take a bath. Well, maybe not all the time. But, if you’re ever sick, injured or not feeling up to your usual workout, it turns out a bath can help lower blood sugar and burn calories similar to moderate exercise. In a small study conducted in 2017, researchers recruited 14 men (both lean and overweight) and had them either exercise or soak in a hot bath for an hour. They then compared how many calories were burned in each session, as well as measured their blood sugar for 24 hours and found both conditions lead to similar results.

Lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health.

Studies have shown that lifelong sauna use can improve heart health, but could hot baths have the same effect? The short answer: yes. Researchers investigated the effects of 8 weeks of repeated hot water immersion (‘heat therapy’) on heart health in young, sedentary humans. Among other things, heat therapy improved arterial stiffness and lowered blood pressure, indicating improved cardiovascular health. Yet again, the changes were similar to or even greater than what is typically observed in sedentarty subjects with exercise.

Helps people fall asleep faster and sleep better.

We all know how relaxing a hot bath can be, so it’s probably no surprise that it can help improve sleep. Researchers refer to it as “passive body heating” and it works because our body temperature and sleep are interrelated processes. Among other things, changes in temperature may trigger relevant brain areas to initiate sleep. In a small study conducted in France, women who soaked in warm baths for 90 minutes before bed had significant increases in: sleepiness at bed-time, slow wave sleep, and stage 4 deep sleep. Another study found that participants fell asleep faster after taking a bath. Just hold off on the shut-eye until after you're out of the tub.

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Reduces anxiety and improves mood.

Back to those relaxing effects, a study examining the impacts of both whirlpool baths and regular baths found that participants had increased feelings of wellbeing and a decreased state of anxiety after a nice soak. Another study found that a daily bath improved general psychological wellness with a significant drop in feelings of pessimism about the future and increases in internal feelings of pleasure.

Soothes aches and pains.

Warm water therapy has been used for millennia for all kinds of musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis, back pain, and fibromyalgia. It turns out circulation to deep muscle structures increases significantly in water immersion, improving oxygen flow to tissues and potentially facilitating healing of muscle, bone and joint injuries.

Improves brain function.

The improvements in blood circulation aren’t just great for aches and pains, it can also help get things pumping in your head. Research shows neck-depth immersion may enhance brain blood flow that may improve brain functions, including cognition and memory.

Lastly, want to reap even more benefits from your bath? Try adding a thoughtfully formulated CBD bath bomb to your regularly scheduled soak. Studies have shown that topical use of CBD can bring comfort, restore balance and harmonize dry, unbalanced skin — not to mention encourage some much-needed relaxation.

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