However, research continues to prove warm water has significant benefits beyond a feel-good factor, with some studies placing its health advantages on par with physical exercise.
Here are a few reasons why choosing warm water shouldn’t only be a matter of personal preference.
Kick-starts your day, decreases stress
Heat from the water stimulates the heart to work harder and faster, thereby accelerating blood flow around the body. It’s also been proven to enhance oxytocin levels, which in turn elevates the mood and lowers stress.
According to Neil Morris, a psychologist at the University of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom, bathing in warm water can significantly advance general psychological wellness. Morris studied 80 people who took a bath with warm water each day for a fortnight and found that it diminished feelings of depression and pessimism while developing a pleasurable, hedonic tone.
A warm shower before bedtime typically soothes the body, mind and nerves. Apart from that, warm water also affects the body’s production of melatonin – the hormone that regulates sleep.
At night, the body’s core temperature naturally falls, triggering melatonin production. A warm shower or bath around bedtime then slightly raises the body temperature, causing it to drop steeply on exiting the bathroom. This prompts a heightened production of melatonin, and more likelihood of a good night’s sleep – the benefits of which are widely recognized.
Lowers blood pressure and promotes muscle healing
Taking a regular warm bath – with its circulation and vascular function advantages – can help reduce blood pressure and stiffen blood vessels. The effect of heat-induced blood flow on the body is tantamount to a light exercise session. The warmth encourages muscles to expand and contract while loosening joints, tendons and tissues.
Although not an enduring cure for pain, five minutes under warm water can considerably ease pain, spur healing and restrict inflammation. It’s a more convenient alternative than a massage and more organic than medical treatments.
The elementary reason for having a bath is to cleanse ourselves. Clogged pores lead to blemishes and an accumulation of toxins in the skin. Warm water opens up skin pores, making it easier to clean out dirt and impurities. The temperature increase also has an adverse effect on most bacteria.
Taking these baths or showers is particularly useful if there’s a wound, as it helps kill bacteria, fend off infection, and promote circulation in the injured area for faster healing.
Relieves cough and cold symptoms
Nasal congestion is as a result of inflammation in the nasal passages. Inhaling steam from warm water activates the blood vessels in the face and nose, consequently opening up the airways, as well as loosening phlegm and mucus blockages that could be causing a cough or sore throat.
A warm bath also empowers the immune system to better fight viruses.
This list isn’t exhaustive – warm water’s various health merits range from weight loss to controlling diabetes. As it also has a number of physical wellness benefits, warm water bathing should not be reserved exclusively for cold weather. Warm water is proven to naturally enhance the body and facilitate a sense of calm all year round.
So the next time you contemplate a warm bath, think past the pleasant experience itself to its long-term value. Your body will thank you for it.