A couple of weeks ago, we published our third blog post in the series Tips for Healthier Skin. In that article, we came to the personal conclusion that showers have a slight edge over baths because while they both clean just as well, showers use less water, are quicker, and are a bit more convenient.
That said, we did find that there are instances where a bath wins hands down over a shower. That happens when the bath is more than just a bath. In other words, when a bath is for more than just cleaning your skin.
Aches and pains
If you helped a friend move into a new apartment, or just overdid it at the gym, a warm bath might just be what you’re needing to sooth your tired, achy body. That’s because the heat helps to relax tightened, knotted muscles, while increasing elasticity. It also increases blood flow and metabolic rate, which both speed healing. It can even help block the transmission of pain signals being sent to your brain. Interestingly, these benefits were noted, regardless of whether salts were added to the bath water.
But what about if you suffer from the more sinister, chronic type of pain caused by conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia? You too can find relief in a nice hot bath. In this case, a salt bath. These conditions cause inflammation and swelling at cellular level. Recent studies have found that salt water reduces the swelling at a cellular level and helps inhibit the inflammatory response. Both of these in turn cause a reduction in the pain felt. To take a salt bath, simply add 2 cups of salt as your bath is running. If you are using table salt, remember that it can be drying to the skin, so be sure to rinse off and use moisturizer when you finish.
The steam and warm water from a bath can be particularly helpful if you are feeling uncomfortable from nasal or chest congestion. Whether it be from a cold, the flu, or allergies, a warm bath may help you breath easier. The steam thins secretions (snot and mucus) and helps reduce inflammation of the tissues in your respiratory system. And a warm bath has the added advantage of helping to regulate your body temperature when you are ill.
Adding 1-2 T coconut oil to your bath water can help soften and loosen the dry flaky, scaly skin the is often associated with eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. It can also sooth the the itching that accompanies these skin conditions. Coconut oil has some beneficial properties that make it perfect for this. It’s a great moisturizer, helps with inflammation, and has some natural antibacterial properties. Be careful as the oil may make the tub surface more slippery than usual.
Allergic to Coconut? Try oats instead. Turns out that there’s a reason your grandma’s old home remedy of an oatmeal bath works. Studies have backed it up. There are compounds in oats called avenanthramides that fight skin inflammation and itching. Simply place a handful of oats into a sock or the center of a washcloth and close it off with a rubber band. Throw it into the tub as you run your water. This will give you the benefits of the avenanthramides, without the hassle of a clogged drain.
Daily soaks in a warm tub have been shown to be helpful in relieving symptoms of stress and anxiety. Nobody’s sure if it’s the warmth, the horizontal position, or the cocooning effects of being surrounded by the water, but studies have shown that baths can relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and put one into a more restful state of mind. If you have a problem with chronic stress and anxiety, don’t use a warm bath as a replacement for regularly prescribed medications, but rather as another tool in your arsenal for fighting the problem.
Remember that too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Routinely taking long baths (or showers) can lead to dry skin; so limit baths to no more than ten minutes. Additionally, excessively hot water temperatures can remove natural oils from your skin, leaving your skin dry and itchy. Finally, when you are done in the bath, quickly rinse off with warm fresh water to remove any soap or other bathing product residues not meant to be kept on the skin for long periods of time.
We hope you keep these things in mind the next time you think on cleaning up; especially if you are stressed, achy, or congested. A bath could be a much better choice for you to help rid or ease these issues. We hope you also enjoyed this new tip and hope you stay tuned until next time to learn more. Otherwise you can also enjoy our other blog posts where we talk on environment, bee news, and interesting places around the Portland Metro area to enjoy with friends or family.