A hot bath, or soak in hot water raises our body temperature. Several benefits of this rise include: Improved blood circulation, Improved lymph circulation, detoxification, increased metabolism and calmer nervous system. The result can be a healthier and more relaxed you! The best part is that soaking in hot water is inexpensive, pleasurable, and easy way to access these benefits! Let’s look closer.
As our body temperature rises we sweat. Sweating helps to bring toxins to the surface of our skin so they can be eliminated through the largest organ of our body, our skin. Toxins are eliminated through increased perspiration and lymphatic drainage (can help to fight a cold). Detoxification is enhanced even further by increased circulation. Heat encourages the deeper flow of blood and lymph fluids as the vessels dilate. Higher temperatures also boost body functions, including heart rate and metabolism. With our bodily processes efficiency increased, detoxification is enhanced. Be sure to drink water before and after the bath to stay hydrated. Being dehydrated can reverse some of the benefits you just gained.
During this increased temperature your body releases endogenous opioid peptides, which are primarily endorphins.That’s why you might feel like a new person after a hot bath! This natural chemical makes you feel good and strengthens our immune system, improves sleep & helps prevent headaches. Endorphins are the same chemicals released when you exercise. In fact, a hot bath post-exercise is a great way to ease sore muscles, aches, and pains. The increased circulation helps elimination the lactic acid build-up in our muscles that occurs from a hard workout. For more information for Athletes see: Athletes use Bathtub Yoga to Ease Sore Muscles after Workout
Finally, the heat increases our ability to release muscle tension and relax. Studies show that hot water immersion can significantly enhance the balance between our parasympathetic (relaxation) and sympathetic (stress) components of the nervous system. Essential oils can enhance our relaxation response in the bath. We breathe differently when we are around a scent that we love, so add 6-12 drops of your favorite essential oil. See: Essential Oils for the Bath and Skin
There are some complications from a hot bath if you suffer from a chronic condition, so check with your doctor before heat hydrotherapy. Hot bathing is also not recommended if you are pregnant.
Adding Epsom salts to your bath can enhance the detoxifying effect even further. See: Epsom Salt Detoxifying Soak
A great combination with a hot bath is Bathtub Yoga! The heat allows us to access an easier stretch. This fun and therapeutic Bathtub Yoga program includes 17 poses, 2 meditations, and a guided self lymphatic massage. Experience more limber joints, deep relaxation, and a restful night’s sleep after.