The modern hustle has removed all sacredness from the ritual of bathing. Most days, we don’t have time to draw a bath and leisurely soak, so we pop in the shower for a quick scrub down, watch our sins spiral the drain, and hurry out to get on with our day.
We aren’t even remotely able to tell you you’re doing it wrong—the hustle is part of present life. Even so, we have become aware of the multitude of reasons that queenly soaks in the bath should work their way into your weekly regime when you can. Bathing has been sacred since antiquity and we think you deserve to feel like a Roman goddess. Hear our case.
Obviously, sinking into a warm bath feels good, especially this time of year when a chill is settling in. But that feeling actually lasts. It boosts the production of serotonin, the chemical that makes you feel happy and well and is an important part of regulating your mood, how you react to stressful situations, and your overall brain health. It’s a peaceful, content, happiness that can help you relax before bed but also gives you a steady feeling of competency before you begin your day.
It might be widely known that cooler core body temperatures help you sleep better, which is why many sleep specialists recommend sleeping in a cool room or keeping the thermostat around 67 degrees at night. But a warm bath can actually help your body trigger this. When you deeply relax in a warm bath your body temperature rises, but when you exit the bath your body rapidly cools down, promoting the production and release of melatonin. So wrap yourself in a fluffy towel, give yourself a little moisturizing massage with oil, and climb straight into bed and wait for the magic to happen.
It’s Anti-inflammatory and Immune Boosting
Heat is known to boost circulation and get your lymph moving (getting out of a bath and into the cooler air especially helps, jumpstarting drainage and movement) but it also soothes sore or tired muscles. It opens up blood vessels in the circulatory system and in your nasal passages, helping to relieve congestion and even headaches and muscle tension. With the addition of mineral salts like Epsom and Himalayan, you can create a deeply relaxing and healing wellness experience right in your bathroom. The salts permeate your skin quickly, sinking into your muscles and body to mineralize you from the outside in. It’s more effective than drinking electrolytes, so the next time you feel a fever coming on, get yourself in the bath with some salts, stat.
On top of circulation and the soothing of sore or tired muscles, bathing helps your body detox quicker and more effectively. Pub Med mentions that “immersion bathing, but not shower bathing, exerts hyperthermic action that induces increased blood flow and metabolic waste elimination,” as well as stimulates your metabolism. Salts also play a key role in this. Turn your bath into a beautifully pink brine by dissolving an entire two-pound bag of Himalayan salt in it for a powerful detox. Don’t worry, you won’t pickle yourself. This will help draw out toxins and deeply cleanse the skin, and some experts say it also “helps cleanse the body energetically.” Empaths, we’re looking at you. Make sure to drink plenty of water afterward so the minerals have fluid to circulate and rehydrate the body.
Since heat from the water induces blood flow and circulation, baths are like giving your body a mini-workout (similar to the calorie-burning effect of a sauna) when you relax with all four limbs submerged for 20-30 minutes. The University of Oregon published a study detailing this, saying that frequent hot baths “increased flow-mediated dilatation, reduced arterial stiffness, reduced mean arterial and diastolic blood pressure, and reduced carotid intima-media thickness.” All those incredible effects bring us to another amazing reason to kick back in your tub…
The same study concluded that those circulatory benefits and blood flow changes are “all on par or greater than what is typically observed in sedentary subjects with exercise training.” We’re not saying you should take baths instead of working out … but we aren’t not saying that. OK, definitely exercise. But if your hectic morning doesn’t quite make ample time for a workout in your favorite yoga pants, melt into a bath before bed, guilt-free knowing you’re doing something good for your body.
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