Before the global pandemic came to encapsulate the world, the striking title was the Wim Hof method. As Hof’s videos stretched into the icy waters with the same chance you might expect from a hot shower, both fitness enthusiasts and athletes sat down to pay attention. With a focus on breath and cold therapy, you soon couldn’t make a superficial scroll through Instagram without seeing someone bragging about their historic accomplishments in cold therapy. But if the idea of soaking in an ice bath is too much to bear, it turns out that a hot bath in the bathtub is just as beneficial. In fact, researchers have found that it is almost as good for you as it is long-term.
Hot baths were first used by the ancient Egyptians about 4,000 years ago. While they may conjure up images of romance or self-care today, you know there are some amazing benefits to your overall health that come from simply immersing yourself in hot water. Researchers of recently Coventry University led a study that found that they both had many of the same benefits as an aerobic exercise.
The study found that heat therapies, such as immersion in a hot tub, can raise body temperature and improve blood flow, which in turn can lower blood pressure, control blood sugar and even reduce inflammation. Similarly, a study in Finland showed that middle-aged men who had four to seven sauna sessions a week they had a 50% reduction in the risk of fatal cardiovascular disease, compared to those who only had one sauna a week. If this were not enough to turn you into heat therapies, it is also believed to be an antidepressant and has been shown to decrease the risk of dementia.
While the benefits are certainly worth noting, it goes without saying that exercise will always outweigh a hot bath when it comes to health benefits. You may come out of the soaking invigorated, but you won’t build muscle or strength or help with weight loss.
So how hot does the bathroom have to be to receive these benefits? Well, here comes the tricky part. The researchers found that the best option is to sit up to your shoulders in a hot tub that heats to about 40 degrees Celsius for an hour. Given the heat required, you may not be able to get it in your own bathtub, so most recommend using the services of professionals. Bathrooms may make you healthier, but with this type of heat it’s always worth seeking medical advice, as you could be at increased risk for dizziness, fainting, and dehydration. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that your hands and feet will wither like plum blossoms after soaking. Still, for our health!