For nearly 4,000 years, bathtime has held a special place in our lives, but it’s been dying a death since the advent of the shower. Only one in ten of us has a soak every day, and more than 50% of us never take a dip in the tub. But with benefts to our health, happiness and even looks, it’s time to get back in the bath…
Have a good night’s sleep
It’s not just an old wives’ tale – Charles Darwin reportedly used baths to cure his insomnia, and new research shows that people who take baths before bed really do fall asleep faster and have better, more restorative sleep. Sitting in a warm bath raises your temperature slightly, but when you climb out it rapidly returns to normal. The sudden cool-down mimics the natural drop in body heat that happens just before you go to sleep, so your brain is tricked into producing melatonin, a hormone that makes us feel sleepy. To keep your bath hotter for longer, use bubble bath – the foam acts as an insulator and prevents heat loss.
Clear up a Cold
If your sinuses are blocked, steam from the hot water helps widen your nasal passages and relieve congestion. It also opens up airways and eases a wheezy chest. Adding drops of spearmint essential oil (£4.99, hollandandbarrett.com) to the bath water will increase effectiveness even more. get positive A study by the University of Wolverhampton revealed that people who bathe regularly feel happier and have better psychological health. After two weeks of daily baths, participants reported a drop in pessimistic thoughts and an increase in contentment and pleasure.
Boost your Brain
Adding essential oils to your bath water can have lots of positive effects. Eucalyptus or lavender reduce stress, tea tree is great for energising, and lemon oil is an effective mood-lifter (£4.99 each, hollandandbarrett.com). Cure your pains Everything from sports injuries and sore feet to chronic conditions like arthritis can be soothed by a bath. Warm water helps to speed up the expulsion of lactic acid, which relaxes pulled muscles and strains. It also increases lymph fow, drawing blood towards the skin surface and away from joints, reducing infammation. It’s even been suggested that baths can help manage diabetes – one study showed that diabetics who spent half an hour in the tub could reduce their blood sugar levels by around 13%.
Chuck some Epsom Salts (£1.49, boots.com) in the bath: the magnesium sulphate draws out excess fuid through your pores and makes your curves appear fatter. Celebs like Victoria Beckham and Elle Macpherson reportedly swear by it, and it’s also great for clearing toxins out of the skin. Two mugs of salt in a bath three times a week will have you looking like a lingerie model in no time! relax! Research from Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that soaking in warm water is better at easing anxiety than medication. The warmth of the bath stimulates circulation and cell movement, and the gentle support of water relieves pressure on internal organs. This encourages the brain to release endorphins, chemicals that make us feel calm and happy… and you won’t even need candles or rose petals.