Do you know what Turkish, Japanese and Korean people have in common? These three groups of people from different cultures have a tradition of bathing in public bathhouses. The Turkish have their hamam, the Japanese their onsen, and the Koreans their jjimjilbang.
The tradition of bathing in a communal bathhouse might seem strange for an outsider unfamiliar to the culture, but there are good reasons why public bathing has lasted for centuries in these three countries. The benefits of public bathing range from the physical to psychological, such as relieving muscle aches and tension, soothe irritated skin, as well as lifting your mood.
If you don’t live in a country where public bathhouses are widely available, don’t worry because you can still gain these benefits simply by having a hot bath right in your own home. Simply run your bath in water with a temperature that doesn’t far exceed your own body temperature (you don’t want the water to be scalding hot) and add your favourite essential oils or bath oils to create a fragrant aroma.
Now, before you draw your bath, let’s take a closer look at the benefits a hot bath has on your overall health.
Relieve Muscle Aches
Nothing feels better than submerging yourself in a hot steamy bath after a long workout session at the gym. All those soreness and muscle aches seem to melt away the moment your body comes into contact with the hot water. Curious why this happens? Well, the heat from the water gets your blood moving, thus promoting blood circulation. With increased blood circulation, oxygen and nutrients will be able to reach your body’s tissues more effectively, thus reducing muscle aches.
In addition, the warmth from the water will penetrate to your skin cells and relax your muscles, reducing the tight or sore feeling you might get after a workout. Plus, a hot bath might be able to lower your overall level of stress too. If you’re having muscles soreness or aches in one area, this tends to affect the other areas surrounding it too as they are forced to work harder to compensate for the weaker muscle group. By having a hot bath, all your muscles will be able to relax, thus helping them repair and heal in time for your next workout.
Improve Your Mood
I can’t imagine anyone emerging with a bad temper after pampering themselves to a hot bath, with the wafting aromas of fragrant essential oils filling up the steamy bathroom and lulling them into a relaxed state. If you’ve come home to a long and stressful day at work or you’ve been in a bad mood for the past few days, consider running yourself a hot bath as a pampering treat. You’ll not only be relaxed, but the addition of essential oils will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.
Helping you destress and relax after a hard day at work is not the only thing baths are good for. Researchers have found that having a warm bath everyday can help those struggling with depression by contributing to a modest but persistent improvement in their mood. This effect is even more significant compared to that of physical exercise, which has been proven time and time again to be an effective mood booster.
The reason why a hot bath has this effect on those with depression is that the water’s high temperature is able to increase the body’s core temperature. In turn, this aids in synchronising and strengthening the circadian rhythm, a function in the human body that is often found to be delayed or disrupted in those struggling with depression. Of course, a hot bath is in no way a cure for depression, but this might be a way for people with depression to relieve some of their symptoms.
We all know the importance of getting sufficient amount of sleep but if you’re someone who often experiences sleep troubles, clocking in the recommended hours of snoozing time can seem impossible. If you’re looking for an easy remedy to lull your body and mind into a deep sleep, what about indulging yourself in a hot bath prior to your bedtime?
If you’re wondering, “Wouldn’t a hot bath make me feel way too hot to even fall asleep?” In actual fact, however, taking a hot bath will help your body cool down at a much faster rate. This is because your body temperature will naturally drop at night, thus a soak in a hot bath will speed up this cool-down period and prep your body for a good snooze in bed.
To ensure this method is effective, have a hot bath for about 20 minutes a couple of hours before bed. Once you exit the bath, your body temperature will begin to drop. By the time your bedtime comes around, your body will be all relaxed and ready to put you in a deep sleep.