6 Science-Backed Benefits of a Hot Bath

The Magazine: 6 Science-Backed Benefits of a Hot Bath

The idea of a hot bath at the end of a long day is often a welcome one — and for good reason. But some of the reasons to think about incorporating it into your self-care ritual might surprise you. Read on for the science-backed benefits of a hot bath... and why and how the addition of CBD can make it even better*.

How often should you take a hot bath?

Hot baths can be soothing and calming for both body and mind. But that doesn’t mean they necessarily need to be a part of your everyday routine to be effective. Consider making a hot bath part of a weekly self-care routine, or soak after a twice-weekly intense exercise class. If you’re incorporating hot baths into your routine for a specific purpose, you may need to soak more or less, or for a longer or shorter time, depending on your desired purpose.

No matter how often you draw a hot bath, be sure to watch the clock. Soaking in too hot water for too long can cause dehydration or lightheadedness, especially if you’re not feeling well. If your fingers begin to prune or if you begin to shiver, those are signs to cut your hot bath short.

Hot bath benefits backed by science

  • 1. Baths can improve brain function. The improvements in blood circulation aren’t just great for aches and pains, it can also help get things pumping in your head. Research shows neck-depth immersion may enhance brain blood flow that may improve brain functions, including cognition and memory.
  • 2. Baths lower blood sugar and burn calories. Forget the gym, take a bath. Well, maybe not all the time. But, if you’re ever sick, injured, or not feeling up to your usual workout, it turns out a bath can help lower blood sugar and burn calories similar to moderate exercise. In a small study conducted in 2017, researchers recruited 14 men (both lean and overweight) and had them either exercise or soak in a hot bath for an hour. They then compared how many calories were burned in each session, as well as measured their blood sugar for 24 hours and found both conditions lead to similar results.
  • 3. Baths can lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that lifelong sauna use can improve heart health, but could hot baths have the same effect? The short answer: yes. Researchers investigated the effects of 8 weeks of repeated hot water immersion (‘heat therapy’) on heart health in young, sedentary humans. Among other things, heat therapy improved arterial stiffness and lowered blood pressure, indicating improved cardiovascular health. Yet again, the changes were similar to or even greater than what is typically observed in sedentary subjects with exercise.
  • 4. Baths help people fall asleep faster and sleep better. We all know how relaxing a hot bath can be, so it’s probably no surprise that it can help improve sleep. Researchers refer to it as “passive body heating” and it works because our body temperature and sleep are interrelated processes. Among other things, changes in temperature may trigger relevant brain areas to initiate sleep. In a small study conducted in France, women who soaked in warm baths for 90 minutes before bed had significant increases in: sleepiness at bed-time, slow-wave sleep, and stage 4 deep sleep. Another study found that participants fell asleep faster after taking a bath. Just hold off on the shut-eye until after you're out of the tub.

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  • 5. Taking a hot bath improves mood. Back to those relaxing effects, a study found that a daily bath improved general psychological wellness with a significant drop in feelings of pessimism about the future and increases in internal feelings of pleasure.
  • 6. Baths can soothe aches and pains. Warm water therapy has been used for millennia for all kinds of musculoskeletal conditions. It turns out circulation to deep muscle structures increases significantly in water immersion, improving oxygen flow to tissues and potentially facilitating healing of muscle, bone and joint injuries.

It can also help get things pumping in your head. Research shows neck-depth immersion may enhance brain blood flow that may improve brain functions, including cognition and memory.

Can hot baths help your skin?

If dry skin is an ongoing skincare issue, a hot bath might prove to be hydrating. The hot water has a moisturizing effect, leaving your skin feeling oh-so-soft once your hot bath is done. Especially when paired with an ultra-hydrating lotion like our Skin Therapy post-bath, you can lock in that moisture and feel silky-smooth long after.

If clean, clear skin is your goal, a hot bath may be a good bet. The heat generated from a bath opens up your pores, setting the stage for some serious exfoliation. Use the time after a hot bath to apply moisturizers or facial oils like our award-winning Night Magic for maximum absorption.

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Adding CBD to your hot bath

Lastly, want to reap even more benefits from your bath? Try adding a thoughtfully formulated CBD bath bomb to your regularly scheduled soak. Studies have shown that topical use of CBD can bring comfort, restore balance and harmonize dry, unbalanced skin — not to mention encourage some much-needed relaxation.

Our Soak It In Bath Gem introduces 25mg of broad-spectrum hemp extract, Epsom salt, meadowfoam seed oil, lavender, and other soothing botanicals to your hot bath. These bath bomb ingredients can nourish and hydrate your skin from neck to toe, and the uplifting aromatherapy provided by the lavender elevates the whole experience to new, relaxing heights. Now that’s better.

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