While there is nothing more relaxing than taking a bath after a long and hard day, a new study reveals it can also be good for the heart. In fact, research recently published in journal Heart revealed that a hot bath daily can be linked to a 28 percent decreased risk in heart disease, and a 26 percent reduced risk of stroke; as, according to the report, bath taking is also connected to lowering a person’s blood pressure.
The study team followed over 61,000 individuals in Japan for over two decades, tracking bathing habits as well as risk around cardiovascular disease.
CNN reported that those between the ages of 40 to 59 that didn’t have a history of heart disease were tracked from 1990-2009. At the beginning of the study, individuals were placed into groups around bathtub activity (on average), which included: daily/everyday, 1-2 times weekly, less than once weekly.
Possible influential factors were also gathered like weight, how often they exercised, smoking status, alcohol consumption, sleep, education, job status, life enjoyment, and mental stress.
Nearing the end of the 2009 follow up, from the 30,000 final individuals that remained, the study found close to 2,100 cases of cardiovascular illness, which included close to 1,770 strokes, 275 heart attacks, and 53 sudden cardiac deaths. What was revealed was, the more participants took a bath, the lower their chances were around cardiovascular disease.
It seemed the temperature of the water mattered, too! This was based on descriptions by participants, and there was a 35 percent decreased chance when it came to hot water, and 26 percent decreased chance when it came to warm water.
With that said, there are some factors to take into consideration when looking at these numbers. The team found that participants that took less baths were also likelier to have other healthy behaviors that could decrease their risk of heart disease. The study also didn’t ask participants the reason behind less frequent baths, which might have been around other health issues.
Then there’s lifestyle to consider. The study was conducted in Japan, where people lead a very different type of life, so the context of the study may not apply to Americans. Interestingly enough, heart disease remains the number one killer across the United States, and those living in America do have more chronic lifestyle-related illnesses that they have to battle.
Past research that involves heat exposure has revealed similar links to those in the above study, as well. In 1999, a study on eight individuals with diabetes revealed that bathing resulted in a decrease of fasting blood glucose. In fact, sauna bathing was connected to a decrease in heart disease risk, and sudden cardiac death.