Having a hot bath could reduce your risk of heart disease

Whether you’re a soak-with-scented-candles kind of bather or prefer a quick dip, you’ve probably already noticed that you feel better after a bath. Now a new study has shown that the benefits of a trip to the tub aren’t just psychological – it really could benefit your body too.

Scientists at Ehime University in Japan spent five years considering case studies of more than 800 adults between the ages of 55 and 77, looking at factors such as how often they took a hot bath, how long they stayed in it, and the temperature of the water.

Over five years, they monitored the participants’ health, and found that those who had hot baths five times a week or more had less fatty deposits building up in their arteries, a factor which could reduce their risk of heart disease.

Those included in this group kept their water at 41°C or more, and bathed for an average time of 12 minutes – doable for most people, even if you’re on a tight schedule.

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However, the results weren’t entirely conclusive – the researchers didn’t look into why the hot baths appeared to be connected to heart disease, leading Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, to issue some words of caution.

‘This is just an observation and might be related to other lifestyle factors, such as people who have regular baths may also be more likely to live a low-stress lifestyle, or have a healthier diet,’ he noted. ‘Far more research is needed to understand the link before doctors start prescribing a hot bath to the elderly.’

For some people – for instance, if you have low blood pressure – taking a very hot bath can be inadvisable, so it’s important to consult your doctor before embarking on a five-day-a-week hot bath regime.

However, if you already take hot baths regularly, reduced risk of heart disease could be an added benefit to your usual routine. Plus, previous studies have shown that taking a hot bath can burn as many calories as a 30 minute walk – so if it’s a case of less time in the gym, more time in the bath, count us well and truly in…