In our over-connected, stress-addled lives, what could be better than locking yourself away from the world in a delicious steamy bath? Maybe that explains why soaking seems ultra-trendy right now. The bathtub industry reports double-digit growth; Pinterest is exploding with images of perfectly curated tubs (Candles? Check. Floating flower petals? Check.); and Booking.com has said that customers are increasingly motivated to stay at properties with lavish tubs. And if relaxing soaks aren’t popular enough already, they’re about to blow up even more—because the health benefits of taking a bath just might be the cherry on top of the luxury.
It is conceivable that hot water bathing could have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system.
Yup, it turns out taking a nice, warm bath can soothe your body as well as your spirit. A recent Japanese study of 873 people ages 60-plus found that those who took at least five hot baths every week had significantly lower markers of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Professor Katsuhiko Kohara of the Faculty of Collaborative Regional Innovation at Ehime University in Matsuyama, who led the study, and his colleagues reported, “Based upon these findings, it is conceivable that hot water bathing could have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system in the general population.”
Worth mentioning: The typical water temperature of baths in this study was about 105 degrees Fahrenheit, so there’s no need to roast yourself in extra-hot water, and the typical duration of the bath was 12 minutes—long enough to read a chapter or two of your current book.
Slip Into Bathtime Heaven
If you’d like to soak away your cares and possibly improve your health, here are some of the hot products for making bath time even more blissful:
- Lush’s Intergalactic Bath Bomb, which turns your tub into a woodsy, minty sea of scents and dreamy colors, $7.95
- A bamboo bathtub tray, $36.99 from Amazon, crafted to hold a book, a glass of wine, and even your phone. (But isn’t the whole point to escape the buzzing and ringing? Your call, ladies.)
- Naturopathica’s ache-alleviating Sweet Birch Magnesium Bath Flakes, $38.00, from Goop.com
- A bath pillow—this one, for $32.95, was given 5 stars by 3 out of 4 Amazon reviewers. Comfy!