I have heard on many occasions from my customers that they just don’t like baths or that they don’t see any benefit to them. I have always felt that there was a benefit to them in the areas of decreasing stress after a hard day (especially if using aromatherapy oils or candles), or to soften skin for better absorption of moisturizers. What I didn’t know was that according to a Loughborough University study there are physiological benefits that go beyond relaxation or skincare.
One very important effect is an improvement in cardiovascular function which in turn can “reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke” Steve Faulkner
In their studies they looked at the mechanism that allowed for the improved function and what they found was that “passive heating raised levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that dilates blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.” The implications of this include treatments for high blood pressure and for poor peripheral circulation.
They also noted that in participants with type 2 diabetes there were overall improvements in body weight, blood sugar control and insulin resistance. Now this seems too good to be true, and they don’t have the exact mechanism down, but there is some evidence found from animal studies that show the human body produces more of a specific type of protein during stress. They refer to these proteins as “shock proteins” and it is believed that these proteins may aid the function of insulin. The presence of these proteins tends to be lower in those with type 2 diabetes so it stands to reason that if these do aid in the effectiveness of insulin the subsequent increase of these proteins during a hot bath or sauna would be beneficial.