Being nine months pregnant, I have only just now discovered the unbelievable self care benefits of bathing. I mean, sure, baths might be the number one thing we think of when we hear the term “self care”, which is super important to me, and while I have always enjoyed baths, I never really thought of why they were so good for self care. And I never really thought of them of being beneficial in any other way expecting in terms of relaxation and emotional well being. But I’ve been taking more baths lately because my whole body aches from the extra weight of carrying a baby. Carrying a baby is no easy task—your back hurts, your hips hurt, your legs and feet hurt and even my butt muscles ache! Taking hot baths has helped relieve some of the aches and pains of sore muscles lately.
And, I’ve discovered that baths have way more benefits than I ever thought. I am actually kinda blown away by some of these benefits, so if you are one to scoff at the idea of taking time out of your day to lounge in a tub, you might want to check out the benefits below and rethink your position. And if you love baths, check out how much good you are doing yourself by indulging!
Baths Improve Your Heart Rate
Think cardio is the only way to improve your heart rate? Think again! Baths at warm temps raise your heart rate and actually give it a healthy workout! I certainly never ever thought taking a bath could do that. Of course, you don’t want to skip your regular exercise routine, but adding this in once a week is both relaxing and heart healthy. I’m so going to keep up taking baths once my baby comes as self care is going to be key in the first few months after his birth.
Your Mood Improves When You Take a Bath
This fact also blew me away. Apparently, bathing in warm water not only gives you feelings of relaxation and contentment, but that feeling lingers with you. Bathing can reduce feelings of depression and even pessimism because bathing induces feelings of quiet and comfort. I think we can all relate to this one. It’s sooo nice to sink into a warm tub of water and just close your eyes rest. The day’s stresses seem to melt away. Bathing encourages feelings of comfort and ease, allowing both your mind and body to rest and relax. These self care benefits of bathing are not entirely surprising to me, but it’s interesting to learn that they are observed by science as well.
Great for Your Skin
As long as the water isn’t scalding hot, which will irritate and dry out your skin, bathing is actually great for your skin. It provides moisture and hydration—especially if you add essential oils or even oatmeal to the bath water. Personally, I love adding oils to my bath, and often do so in in the form of bath bombs. I like to buy high quality ones from a local spa I frequent because I know the ingredients are natural and beneficial. No chemicals for my skin please!
Related Article: Aromatherapy for Self Care and it’s Calming Affects
Improve Your Gut Health
Surprised that bathing might actually improve the health of your gastrointestinal tract? Believe me, so was I! While you shouldn’t take a hot bath immediately after eating, taking baths does improve the circulation of your blood, which in turn aids digestion. As someone who suffers from IBS and has suffered hours long stomach aches in the past, I honestly wish I had known this before. I’d have been in that tub a heck of a lot more!
Get a Better Night’s Rest
I have certainly suffered from sleepless nights in the past, and I know many people also do. Bathing at night before bed can actually help signal the mind that it is time to go to sleep. The hot water you’ve lounged in raises your body’s temperature, which will then cool after you get out. This is the signal to your body that it’s time to rest! I had no idea about this at all. Add in some lavender oil, which is known to be relaxing and even somewhat sedating and you’ll soon be off to dreamland. This is one of the self care benefits of bathing that many of us should totally take advantage of.
Baths are Cleaner than a Shower
Wait, what?? I know many of you out there may be slightly grossed out by baths. Or know people that are because they feel like they are sitting in a stew of their own filth. This is something of a myth. Unless you’re really dirty, like you’ve been running around a football field, or digging in the dirt, baths are actually cleaner.This is because dirt doesn’t usually settle on your skin—it actually tends to settle away from your body—and also because by sitting in a hot bath, you are slugging off dead skin cells making the bath the cleaner choice.
Baths Improve Your Immunity
Everyone is super nervous about germs these days. Because, well…Covid. But did you know that hot baths help kill bacteria and viruses? I had no idea. Bathing in hot water also helps improve circulation, and makes it more oxygenated which in turn, helps you breath deeper and slower and strengthens your lungs. Kinda of cool right? Plus, breathing in the steam helps reduce flu and cold/cough symptoms. Pairing hot baths with cold showers has been shown to help your body produce more immune cells and therefore fight infection. My hubby always takes cold showers in the mornings and sometimes takes a hot bath in the evening —I’ve always been too chicken but I’ll have to start trying cold showers myself! Anything to improve your immune system right?
Baths are a great form of self care. Personal hygiene is something we sometimes neglect when we are anxious or suffering from depression. It’s super important to maintain cleanliness for obvious reasons, but making a ritual of bathing is good for your mental well being as it promotes emotional self care. Taking a bath every night, or even several times a week might not be manageable for everyone, but do try and carve out a hour for yourself once a week to engage in a bath ritual. Give yourself at least half an hour in the bath and some time before and after to prep and transition from the bath. You’ll likely be amazed at how good you’ll feel and how much it’ll benefit your overall mental health in the long run. Plus, you’ll be reaping all those physical health benefits as well!
What’s your bath ritual like? Share your thoughts in the comments below!