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Soak For Your Health

soak for your health

The instinctive tug you feel when you’re near a large body of water is nature’s call to your aqueous core. You hail from the great prehistoric sloshing of life, and of organisms that emerged from the sea to the land.

But even as land lubbers, we still need the liquid of life to survive. We each grew in the nutrient-rich amniotic fluid of a mother’s womb until we were born. And still, though we breathe air, we are anchored to the water.

We rely on H2O to hydrate our thirsty bodies comprised of 60% water. Our survival depends on water to cultivate our food and cleans the air so we can keep on surviving. Knowing that we are so in need of water, it is any wonder that you want to soak in it, too?

There are those who argue that bathing can’t get you as clean as a shower. However, over at Little things in the article, “7 Suprising Reasons Baths Are Better For Your Health Than Showers,” Ileana Paules-Bronet sites a hygiene expert who makes the case that unless you’re unusually grimy, you’re going to get just as clean in a bath as you will in a shower.

We favor baths for a myriad of health benefits. Here, we’ll share some benefits of bathing, and why lounging in the tub is important to your emotional and physical health.

BATHE FOR YOUR HEART, LUNGS AND HORMONES

I didn’t need to be convinced of the emotional perks of soaking in a hot bath, myself, as I’ve preferred the bath to the shower for years. In the #collectionofcomforts, baths rate high as a tool of self-care.

The soothing comfort of sliding into my 100-year-old clawfoot cast iron tub has been a ritual for the more than 30 years we’ve lived in our home. Last year, we remodeled and had a shower built into the new bathroom. I transitioned to showers and felt that something was amiss. I wondered if perhaps my lack of baths had anything to do with it.

A bit of internet research has confirmed that there are health benefits to bathing. In an article over at Lifehack, writer Diane Koopman comes up with a list in “10 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Taking A Bath,” but here I’ll feature the three that resonate most with me.

  1. Submerge to help your lungs. I write this post as we’re dealing with COVID-19, so respiratory concerns are of interest to us all. It turns out that soaking in hot water is good for your lungs. As you slip into the tub, your heart beats faster and you take more oxygen into your lungs.

And if you can really get yourself under the water (so only our neck and head are above), you’ll experience the compression of water around your body, which forces your lungs to work a bit harder. This works your lungs to improve air intake. Anything to maximize oxygenation and lung capacity is a good thing!

  1. Bathe to balance those hormones! A soak in a warm bath helps balance the secretions of your pituitary gland. One of those hormones is cortisol, which jacks up when you feel stressed and makes weight stubbornly stick on when you’re trying to lose it. When you recline in hot water, however, your body will release more serotonin, which is the hormone attached to your sense of happiness and well-being.
  1. Soak to relieve anxiety and depression. Over at Psychology Today, author Peter Bongiorno ND, Lac describes the use of a water to treat anxiety and depression as hydrotherapy. Bongiorno details one study where bathing was compared with the use of a particular anxiety drug for 21 days.
The results were that both groups studied—those on the drug and those who had the hydrotherapy—did equally well, and in fact people who received the hydrotherapy had a longer-term recovery when compared to those on the anxiety drug. If that’s not compelling, I don’t know what is.

FROM YOUR CUPBOARD TO YOUR BATH

If you’ve ever taken the time to relax in the tub, then you know—without science to confirm it—that you feel better when you’ve relaxed in the bath. When you soak, you slow down and focus on the comfort of allowing your skin to go all prune-like as the hot water flows around your limbs.

And while you’re basking in the bath you needn’t limit yourself to water alone for your self-care. For added perks, consider adding some fragrance or soaps to the mix.

Over at Hello Glow, Deborah Harju mentions a dozens of useful bath items (that you probably already have underneath your sink) in the article, “12 DIY Bath Ingredients for Soft Skin, Detox + More.” I tried the baking soda with several drops of lavender oil in my bath today, and my skin remains soft hours later, and the fragrance of the lavender is still present on my hands when I bring them to my nose.

As comforts go, the bath is awash with benefits, making it a worthy activity when you want to de-stress and refresh. Knowing there are actually health benefits is just one more reason to make the time to soak. Enjoy a hot bath and feel better.

photo credit: Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

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