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Last Updated on January 3, 2018

10 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Taking a Bath

10 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Taking a Bath

Bathing has a long and detailed history. Submerging ourselves in water, whether in a bathing receptacle or in a natural body of water is something we do for both personal hygiene, leisure and health. There is nothing more enjoyable than going for a swim in the ocean on a warm day or having a hot fragrant bath in the cooler months.

Hydrotherapy has been practiced for centuries. Both the use of hot and cold water can have beneficial effects on the body. Boiling water can be sourced naturally from a hot spring and many places like New Zealand and Iceland have naturally occurring hot pools that people can utilize to take advantage of the mineral rich waters. Similarly, cryotherapy or taking ice baths, can help to alleviate muscle strain and many athletes including runners will submerge themselves in freezing waters to counteract the damage or strain induced by exercise.

Regardless of the temperature, the benefits of taking a bath have been scientifically proven and can ensure optimal health of the mind and body.

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Here are 10 scientifically proven health benefits of taking a bath:

Bathing can improve heart health

Although bathing in high temperatures can put unnecessary strain on your heart, especially if you have a pre-existing heart condition, taking a warm bath will make your heart beat faster and can give it a healthy work out. This can improve circulation around the body and to the extremities as it makes the blood less viscous and the vessels function better. In people without prior heart disease and who are otherwise healthy, a warm bath can lower your blood pressure and improve cardiac function.

Taking a bath may help you to breathe easier

Being immersed in water past your chest with your head out, can have a good influence on your lung capacity and oxygen intake. There are two factors that contribute to this; the temperature of the water and the pressure the water places on your chest and lungs. When the water is warmer and your heart is beating faster, your oxygen intake can be improved and the steam created can clear your sinuses and chest. Immersion in colder water such as taking a swim in a natural body of water or an unheated pool, can help to reduce the risk of infection in people who suffer from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Studies on prepubescent girls have shown that swimming can improve lung growth and capacity due to the resistance it provides and the breathing techniques that are required for stamina. You are required to take longer and deeper rhythmic breaths, which improve the strength and capacity of your lungs.

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Your brain and nervous system can benefit from bathing

Submergence in water can reduce pain and inflammation and also calm the nervous system, reducing the levels of stress and anxiety in the body and improving your mood. Hydrotherapy can help people who suffer from multiple sclerosis as the temperature and pressure of the water gently relieves the spine of pain and discomfort. By providing postural stability, water can alleviate symptoms associated with such conditions as Parkinson’s Disease, providing the patient with some relief and a better quality of life.

Bathing can benefit your muscles, joints and bones

Stretching and moving in water has been shown to be low impact on the joints, muscles and bones, but very effective in providing an adequate workout through resistance. There is also less chance of injury for people who are at risk of falls, which makes aquatic exercise ideal for the elderly. Taking a spa can alleviate some of the discomfort of conditions such as osteoarthritis, without any adverse effects or exacerbation of symptoms.

Improve your gastrointestinal health through bathing

The heat of a warm bath can alleviate pain associated with hemorrhoids or anal fissures. The temperature can cause the sphincter to relax and help to heal wounds following surgery. Although warm baths aren’t advised immediately after eating, taking baths will improve your blood circulation, which can aid digestion generally. In fact, a recent independent study has shown that bathing may reduce sugar levels in the blood, which could help people who suffer from diabetes to manage their weight better.

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Bathing can progress the natural birthing process and improve health of the urinary system

It is well documented that women in the first stages of labor can maximize relaxation and minimize pain when immersed in a warm bath. This can then allow them to focus on birthing their babies and progressing their labor. There are no adverse effects to both mother and baby from being immersed in water during labor and after the baby is born. In some cultures, post natal bathing in herbs and essential oils have also contributed to the healing process of both the body and the mind. While regular bathing can present an increased risk of urinary tract infections, particularly for repeat sufferers, warm baths can aid internal urethral sphincter relaxation, which alleviates pain following surgery and can accelerate the healing process from episiotomy or birth related tearing.

Take care of your blood and immunity with a bath

Not only does a warm bath make the blood flow easier, it also makes it more oxygenated by allowing you to breathe deeper and slower, particularly when taking in steam. Taking a hot bath or spa can kill bacteria and improve immunity. It can relieve the symptoms of cold and flu. Research has shown that cold water submergence can improve cell damage and decrease the risk of necrosis, reducing the risk and survival rate of some cancers.

Balance your hormones by bathing

Conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and some fertility issues can be assisted by bathing in colder temperatures. Hormones released by the pituitary gland such as adrenocorticotropic hormone or ACTH and other hormones such as beta endorphin and cortisol can become more balanced. Alternatively, warm water bathing can increase levels of serotonin, which is the chemical produced by the brain associated with happiness and well being.

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Bathing cleanses and moisturizes your skin, hair and eyes

Exposure to fluid through bathing and steaming is a great way to ensure hydration of the body in all aspects. The human body is made mostly of water and that is why we are encouraged to drink plenty of it. But soaking in it is also extremely beneficial. We can enhance this by adding certain oils or salts to a bath or bathing in a natural body of water or pool, rich in naturally occurring minerals. Hot water opens our pores and causes us to sweat, which is the body’s natural way of cleansing itself. Similarly, cold water can tighten our skin and reduce sweating and open pores, whilst still providing optimal hydration.

Your core body temperature will be optimal through bathing

There is no quicker and more pleasant way to regulate your body temperature than through bathing. On a cold day, taking a hot bath or spa is sure to warm you up. Going for a cold ocean swim in the height of summer is undeniably the best way to cool off.

Evidence has shown that bathing, whether in cold or hot water; at home in a vessel or out in a natural body of water can have many health benefits without adverse effects. However, it is advised that a health professional is consulted if pre-existing health conditions or diseases are present before embarking on any form of hydrotherapy.

Featured photo credit: Beauty Blvd. via beautyblvd.net

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Last Updated on August 20, 2018

11 Health Benefits of Black Tea that You Didn’t Know About

11 Health Benefits of Black Tea that You Didn’t Know About

Have you ever heard people criticizing your choices in having caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee? Though over-indulging in anything will have negative consequences, having an extra cup of black tea might not be as bad as you might have imagined.

Personally I love my perfect cup of tea. It’s how I like to begin my day—not to help me wake up, but rather I like to enjoy a tasteful cup of bliss first thing in the morning. When it comes to herbal, green or black tea, different things suit different people and a doctor’s recommendation should never be overlooked, but for most of us, indulging in a cup or two of black tea might in fact be a healthy life choice, as some studies have shown.[1]

Both green and black tea are made from a shrub called Camellia Sinesis, but with different processing methods. In addition to the leaves being withered, rolled and heated, black tea leaves are fermented before the final heating process.

Below are 11 health benefits of black tea on a regular basis, though it should be noted that it is recommended that black tea should be consumed without any additives like milk or sugar to truly harness its benefits.

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1. Oral Health

Studies funded by the Tea Trade Health Research Association suggests that black tea reduces plaque formation as well as restricts bacteria growth that promotes the formation of cavities and tooth decays.[2] Polyphenols found in black tea kill and surpass cavity-causing bacteria as well as hinder the growth of bacterial enzymes that form the sticky-like material that binds plaque to our teeth.

2. A Better Heart

As identified by Arab L. et al. in their 2009 research paper called “ Green and black tea consumption and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis”, it is seen that regardless of people’s country of origin, individuals who consume 3 or more cups of tea had a 21% lower risk of a stroke than people who consume less than 1 cup of green or black tea per day.

3. Antioxidants

Black tea contains polyphenols, which are also antioxidants that help block DNA damage associated with tobacco or other toxic chemicals. These antioxidants are different from those obtained from fruits and vegetables and therefore as a regular part of our diet they can provide additional benefits towards a healthy lifestyle.

4. Cancer Prevention

Though a lot more research is required to confidently suggest cancer prevention techniques, some research over the years suggests that antioxidants like polyphenol and catechins in tea may help prevent some types of cancer.[3] It has been suggested that women who drink black tea regularly have a lower chance of ovarian cancer than their counterparts.

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5. Healthy Bones

It has also been suggested that regular tea drinkers have stronger bones and lower probability of developing arthritis due to the phytochemicals found in tea.

6. Lower Risk of Diabetes

Based on a research study conducted of elderly people living in the Mediterranean islands, it was discovered that people that had been consuming black tea on a long-term basis on a moderate level (i.e 1-2 cups a day) had a 70% lower chance of having or developing type 2 diabetes.[4]

7. Stress Relief

We all are aware and well experienced about the calming and relaxing benefits of black tea. Not only does it help slow you down after a long day, studies show that the amino acid L-theanine found in black tea can help you relax and concentrate better.[5]

Black tea has also been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol when consumed in moderate amounts on a regular basis.

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8. Better Immune System

Black tea contains alkylamine antigens that help boost our immune response. In addition it also contains tannins that have the ability to fight viruses and hence keep us protected from influenza, stomach flu and other such commonly found viruses in our everyday lives.

9. Healthy Digestive Tract

In addition to improving your immune system, tannins also have a therapeutic effect on gastric and intestinal illnesses and also help decrease digestive activity.

10. Increased Energy

Unlike other drinks that have a relatively higher caffeine content, the low amounts found in tea can help enhance blood flow to the brain without over-stimulating the heart. It also stimulates the metabolism and respiratory system, as well as the heart and the kidneys.

11. Happiness Factor

If a perfect cup of tea makes you smile and lets your heart indulge a little, then what could possibly be the harm?

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There you go, 11 reasons why you should drink black tea more often. When you’re drinking it without additives like milk or sugar, you’ll experience more of its health benefits!

Featured photo credit: unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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