|Are you debating with yourself about taking a bath instead of a shower? Or a shower instead of a bath? I’m not going to tell you what to do, because there are advantages to both. But I am going to give you several reasons why taking a bath instead of a shower can improve your health and cleanse you in the process.|
You Will Be Cleaner
There is popular wisdom that you are not as clean in the tub because you are sitting in your own dirt and skin cells. This is only true if you have had a day of working in dirt and sweating heavily. Otherwise, normal activity where you aren’t sweating much can be cleansed away in a bath.
Yes, you will be just as clean after taking a shower. But in a bath you can be clear and experience many more benefits. Read further to find out what they are.
You Can Relax
Sitting in warm water has been a practice for centuries. The ancient Romans, who developed the aqueduct, were able to make showers and bath houses. They knew back then the benefit of soaking in water.
Think of the natural springs in many areas of the world. I am blessed to be close enough to the desert here in Southern California and I can enjoy natural springs.
The water pressure on the body can loosen tight muscles, soothe aching joints, and calm the nervous system. The water serves to hold the body, thus relieving the pressure of gravity. For those of us who have chronic pain, giving our nerves a break is a welcome relief.
A bath makes you feel like you are floating, being held by the surrounding water. This is a comforting feeling. And the warm water has a calming effect.
You’ll Have a Healthier Heart
As long as you don’t bathe in extremely hot water, and you don’t have a heart condition, a warm bath can increase your heart rate and can have the same effect as a gentle workout. It also increases circulation.
This means that it can help your body warm itself, especially in those cold feet. It can also increase circulation in the legs, which may help edema.
You’ll Have Healthier Skin
Soaking in a bath can hydrate your skin. Hydrated skin looks healthier. We are after all made up mostly of water, so it makes sense that water is good for us. Drinking enough water is central to good health.
The skin will actually absorb the moisture. Then after you get out and dry off, moisturize to keep the skin hydrated.
I wrote a related article about itchy skin that can be helped by bath water. Best Bath Products for Itchy Skin and Other Helpful Products.
You Can Read
Okay, I know this might not be for everyone. But I know you can’t read in a shower. And if you are a bibliophile like me, then you can’t get enough of reading books. So why not take a book with you as you soak?
Reading combines two of my favorite things. And reading relaxes me as well. I am benefiting from two relaxing activities.
Don’t forget your glasses, a towel to wipe your hands, and good lighting. Be careful! I have been known to drop my book in the water. Disaster!
You Can Infuse the Water
You would want to infuse the water to gain some added benefits. Again, something you can’t do with a shower. Infusing with essential oils or herbs is easy and provides you with aromatherapy enjoyment.
You can use fresh or dry. The dry are more potent, so adjust accordingly. (Usually 1 teaspoon of dry equals 3 teaspoons of fresh.) Fill a small muslin bag with the herbs and place in the water. You can also use a tea strainer. Some suggestions for herbs are:
- Lavender – One of the most popular, it can help relax you and help you sleep
- Chamomile – Also for relaxing and sleeping
- Mint – Mostly peppermint; to refresh you
- Lemon – Another refreshing suggestion. In fact you can use different citrus for the same effect but experience a different scent
- Rose water – Antibacterial, it soothes the skin
Those are suggestions! Maybe you have others?
Here’s another way to infuse your bath.
Some Nerve Conditions Will Benefit From Bathing
A hot bath calms the nervous system. This is because the body is immersed in water. The benefits to the nervous system are more pronounced in a bath instead of a shower. One reason is that the body is buoyed by the water and relieves pressure on the nervous system.
Sufferers of multiple sclerosis are among those of us who benefit from this immersion.
The warm water increases blood flow and thereby calms the brain. Anxiety is reduced. Don’t believe me? Here’s a study that reports this is the case. Physical and Mental Effects of Bathing: A Randomized Intervention Study
You Can Do Some Gentle Safe Exercises in the Tub
The warm water is great for stretching as it warms up the muscles for stretching. Of course you don’t want to stand up in the tub to exercise, but you can do a few stretches sitting down.
Mainly you are going to stretch your legs, feet and back. Here are a few suggestions.
- To stretch your upper back you can hug yourself and try to touch your shoulder blades. In another stretch, you can bring your shoulder blades together and release. Repeat.
- Hug your knees to your chest for a good stretch in your hips.
- Do ankle circles. Extend your leg (which is actually a stretch) and circle at the ankle. Reverse direction.
- With your heel a few inches away from the wall of the tub, touch your toes to the wall. Lean forward. You will feel this in your lower back, your hip and your leg.
I hope these reasons will help you see that taking a bath is not just about getting clean, but rather provides many other benefits. Taking a bath is truly self care and something most of us can do.
If you know of other benefits, please leave them in the comments.