How is it a bath can effect our health and state of mind?
Something so simple as taking a hot bath can send powerful signals to our body to recuperate and rejuvenate. In a word, the mechanism behind this phenomena is hormones--the all-powerful chemical messengers which regulate vast functions within our body.
Bathing has been scientifically shown to re-balance serotonin, cortisol, adrenocorticotropic, beta endorphin, plus many other endocrine hormones. The abstract is, messages sent by our nerves from immersing ourselves in water of varied temperatures, induces powerful hormonal reactions.
Cold water bathing is very beneficial as well. For instance, gonadal function is invigorated by cold water bathing. Also, to take an Auravedic perspective, cold water bathing will increase Pitta and chill Vata.
Known benefits of bathing - Our top 5
#1. Your skin will thank you
Bathing in hot/warm water relaxes and opens the pores. By way of this, a bath induces an inside-out cleansing. Moreover, a hot bath induces sweating, which is a detoxification mechanism in and of itself.
Plus, bathing and steaming is a great way to ensure hydration of the body. Drinking water is of course necessary for metabolism alone. Yet, soaking is often overlooked, though extremely beneficial. Minerals in our drinking water are just as beneficial as in our bathing water.
Last, but not least, your skin will look great, rejuvenated and rehydrated. In fact, skin-hair-nails growth is encouraged by exposure to water. This effect is partly due to softening which occurs with hydration. Plus, water is a key component in cellular metabolism, detoxification and regeneration--this is especially true with water that has good mineral content.
#2. Powerful and immediate stress relief
Much of our perceived stress is body-borne; much of course is mental. Taking a hot/warm bath immediately tells our body to relax. It's a feeling which our cells have a memory from our earliest days in the womb.
The detriments of stress are widely recognized as a phenomena which can shorten our lives. Also, it's been scientifically demonstrated that stress can be a greater immunosuppressor than aberrant exposure to solar or man-made radiation, i.e. sunburns and cellphone/radio towers.
Bathing in hot/warm water is scientifically proven to lower our heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system and improve overall feelings of wellbeing. By merely relaxing this way, we can extend our lives, reverse undue stress and, in essence, slow aging.
#3. You’ll get a good night’s sleep
Bathing has been proven to lead to better, more recuperative sleep--even cure insomnia, for some. A good night's sleep is key to recovery, healing and pain relief. Furthermore, good sleep is critical for proper immune function and inflammation response.
Take a bath before bedtime, and you’ll experience deeper sleep; it's a matter of temperature adjustment and hormones. A drop in body temperature at night is a signal to start melatonin production. To induce that downward temperature shift, we can artificially heat our bodies up with a bath--an old trick, really. Hence, a nice relaxing bath before bedtime.
#4. Your muscles become limber and flexible
At the end of the day, especially if you exercise, your muscles will be tense. The tensions held will reflect what activities you engaged in throughout the day and what positions your muscles held. Think of this in terms of a desk job, where much of the day demands sitting.
Bathing loosens and relaxes muscles--much of this tension is held in your mind, which reflects in your body--soothing aches and pains away. This also includes tension held in the heart and gastrointestinal systems (so called involuntary muscles--controlled by our mind nonetheless).
#5. You will look younger
Sound preposterous? Remember, wellbeing is something bigger than superficial looks. It's something we radiate; it's energetic; it's not as material as would seem. When you're in a good mood, it shines through. This is the essence of beauty. If we feel better, we also look better--happier, friendlier, all together more positive.
Every corner of our body knows when we're in this state of happiness. The importance of rest, relaxation and thereof stress relief can't be overstated enough. Yes, routine bathing can make you look younger, extend your life and enhance overall wellbeing.
Treat yourself to deep relaxation
A nice hot/warm bath is so simple and effective to relieve stress and induce deep bodily relaxation. Treat yourself every now and again! Your body and mind will thank you.