Hot vs. Cold: 11 Surprising Health Benefits of Bathing

We feel the cleanest and freshest after a good, long bath. But do you know that bathing does more than keeping us hygienic? Whether you like to turn the heat up or play it cool, this simple yet refreshing routine goes a long way.

Do you like it hot or cold? Either way, bathing has been a trusted healing practice over the years and here’s how:

A hot bath can:

1) Cleanse and make your skin glow

Steaming your face is a skincare must-do, due to the wonders it can do to the skin. Even celebrities are hooked on using steam generators due to its anti-aging and detoxification properties, but how exactly does it work?

“Does hot water open pores?” is one of the first questions skincare enthusiasts typically ask. Skin experts reveal that warm water does not really open up pores, but it does make it more pliable, so it’s easier to clean the accumulated gunk and sebum inside the pores. Once the trapped oil and dirt are flushed out, our pores tend to appear smaller, leaving our skin more rejuvenated than ever. Don’t forget to rinse with cold water to properly close the pores! (Scroll down to see cold bath benefits)

Be careful though not to turn the temperature too high, as it can damage your skin. To enjoy and customize your steam experience to the fullest, install a wifi and bluetooth-operated steam shower generator which provides everything you need to be in control of your steam room at all times. Set up a comfortable temperature, play your favorite music and adjust the color of the lights to your mood –all through your phone!

2) Get you a good night’s sleep

Milk, meditation, movie marathon– if you have exhausted everything just to fall asleep, then maybe a quick soak in a warm tub is what you just need.

Aside from the cozy feeling warmth brings, we feel sleepy after a hot bath because warm water stimulates our body’s thermoregulatory system (or the mechanism responsible for the maintenance of our body’s core internal temperature, independent of external environmental temperature). At night, when our body’s temperature is at the lowest, the neurotransmitter melatonin aka the sleeping hormone is released, so we innately fall asleep during this time.

Hot water helps in that it changes the body’s temperature by causing the blood to circulate from the body’s internal core to its peripheral sites, our hands and feet. This process removes body heat and rapidly cools it down, so you go to bed with a lower temperature and hence more melatonin–enabling you to have a deeper, more restful slumber.

Pro-tip: Taking a warm bubble bath is even more effective than the usual hot bath. As suggested by Dr. Breus, a known diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, bubbles form an extra layer of insulation around the body, so this bath can keep the body warmer for longer duration. Hence, your body can experience an extended period of temperature change and produce more melatonin.

3) Clear up your nose

Ever wonder how we can suddenly breathe after putting our clogged noses over a pot of boiling water? That’s the magic of steam inhalation and it has long been used as a natural remedy for colds and coughs.

Much like a humidifier, a steam bath or soak in a hot tub can help alleviate congested chests and sinuses. The water’s heated steam can easily get through our nasal passages, shrink swollen membranes and loosen built-up phlegm.

Waking up with stuffy nose is probably one of the worst feelings to experience, as it puts a burden even on the most simple activities like breathing, eating and sleeping. So if you want an easy and sure way to lighten that heavy cold head, standing in a hot steamy shower will do the trick. In fact, amidst the height of COVID, a lot of people took advantage of steam’s healing and sanitizing benefits, which caused soaring sales in steam generators.

4) Relax stiff muscles and cramps

One of the most recognized hot bath benefits is the pain relief it gives to strained and sore muscles. But it’s not just some workout fad that just became popular; recent studies on hydrotherapy prove that immersion in hot water is a good treatment for post-workout recovery.

Warm water better stimulates our blood flow by dilating the blood vessels, which in turn, greatly helps in cell regeneration and aids the muscle’s healing process. Increased blood circulation also helps remove pain-causing chemicals so muscle pain is eased much faster.

But not all may know that a warm bath is also an effective remedy to menstrual cramps. Unlike cold showers which only increase the intensity of cramps, a hot shower or a soak in a warm tub relaxes the muscles and reduces menstrual pain. So for the girls out there, you know the drill: a warm bath is your friend during that time of the month.

Better target those pain points in your body with a warm jacuzzi whirlpool bath. This tub is not only a good fit for in-home spa, but also a great bathing companion that offers medical relief through its deep, targeted massage and soothing hydrotherapy treatment.

5) Shed you some calories

Not so fond of the gym? What if we tell you that it’s possible to burn a few calories by merely bathing in a tub! Sounds too good to be true, but many studies suggest so.

While nothing beats exercising in achieving a summer-ready figure, there are other astonishing ways to shed some pounds– like unwinding in a warm bath. According to a recent study, the calories you burn with half an hour of walking is roughly the same as when you dip in a hot bath (with a temp. of not more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit) for an hour.

A hot bath can slightly increase your metabolic rate as it can raise your body’s core temperature. In order for the body to stay cool, the heart pumps harder to send warm blood around the body. In effect, you burn fats pretty much like a simple and light aerobic exercise.

Of course, leading an active lifestyle is essential in maintaining a healthy body, but taking a hot bath is definitely a nice bonus and a relaxing method to burn those calories. A good way to get physical while pampering yourself at the same time is to bathe in walk-in tubs, which are proven and tested to be safe, convenient and comfortable for long warm baths. It caters to all ages and even to those with special bathing needs. Plus, it comes with other bath luxuries like heated backrest, foot spa and neck rest for maximum comfort.

6) Keep your heart healthy

Warm bath is surprisingly good for both the mind and even for the heart! In fact, this practice has been proven to have favorable effects on people across the globe. One 20-year observational study has shown how habitual hot water bathing protects cardiovascular function in 30,000 middle-aged to elderly people of Japan – a country famous for its hot springs and saunas.

It concluded that compared with people who bathed twice a week or less, those who took hot baths on a daily basis had a 28% lower overall risk of cardiovascular disease and a 26% lower overall risk of stroke.

As previously mentioned, heat exposure improves the heart’s hemodynamics or its ability to efficiently pump and get blood to all the organs. Good hemodynamics translates to a low to normal blood pressure, while bad hemodynamics is associated with either having extreme high or low blood pressure.

What's better than getting healthy while relaxing in a hot bath? It’s free (if you own a hot tub at home), soothing (need I say more?) and can protect you from the fatal cardiovascular diseases (which by the way is very common among the aging population, according to WHO). To better enhance your bathtub enjoyment, consider installing an electric inline heater. It’s self-contained and self-regulated so you can have a longer, luxurious warm bath but less the worries!

 

On the other end, a cold bath can:

1) Soothe the itchiness away

Scratching the itchy parts of our body is utterly satisfying, but is also equally damaging and unhealthy to the skin. If you want an easy and non-irritating way to overcome the itch, take a cool bath!

If you have sensitive skin conditions like hives or eczema, or just plain itchy skin, cold showers can help you overcome the sensation of scratching due to the cooling, anti-inflammatory effects of cold water. Physiologically, our nerves can’t transmit multiple sensations at the same time. So if you’re both itchy and cold, one of those two things is going to take over. Typically the cold sensation offsets the itch.

Whether you want a quick icy shower or a long cooling bath, it’s best if you have a Thermostatic tub and shower faucet that can accommodate your different bathing needs. It offers a customizable (has water diverter control), versatile (has cold and hot water option) and efficient (perfect pair for space-saving tubs) shower experience like no other. Plus, it provides temporary itch relief, so it surely is a good deal!

2) Wake up your sleepyhead

Always drowsy in the morning? What you need is something stronger than caffeine, like a cold shower that will instantly shock your body and put you in hypermode.

By default, our body wants to stay warm. When exposed to cold, it naturally reacts by increasing our heart rate, making the heart pump more efficiently so that the blood can move more quickly throughout the body. It’s basically the reason why we shiver involuntarily. It’s our body’s way to utilize the heat produced by muscle activity– in order to keep our bodies warm, and protect our brain and vital organs. As a result, our blood circulation and oxygen intake is improved, and some chemicals in the brain are activated. So when we hop out of shower, we feel more alert, awake and active– ready to brave the day!

To better stimulate all the regions of your body, get a Full Body Heavy Rain Shower for your bathroom. There are different styles and functions available in the market, but certainly, each can wash the morning drowsiness away in just a hit of its cold spray.

3) Boost your immune system

It seems counterintuitive but coldness can actually prevent you from getting a chilly fever by strengthening your immune system and making you more resistant to illnesses. Researchers have suggested that the shock of cold water better stimulates the body’s white blood cells or its primary ‘defenders’ against viruses and bacteria. So, when your body is under attack from an infection, it may respond better.

Many emerging studies prove this to be true. One 2016 study found that routine cold showers reduced the number of sick days taken from work. It revealed that participants who finished their showers with 30-90 seconds of cold water showed reduced sick day absences at work by 29%.

Thanks to the cold water’s shocking effect, our pulse is elevated, blood flow is increased and the production of white blood cells is heightened, boosting our immune system and protecting us from diseases.

See for yourself the benefits of cold water therapy by having an ice bath. Put ice in your tub’s water until its temperature is between 50°F and 59°F, and stay submerged for 10 to 15 minutes. This is best to do in a soaking tub, preferably the much deeper ones like the Japanese tub so the body is fully immersed and the bather can soak in an upright position.

4) Calm the bad impulses

Feel stressed, irritated or gloomy? Instead of bottling those negative emotions inside, bounce back and release them in a cool bath.

As you submerge in cold water, your body produces more endorphins or the mood-boosting hormones, so you instinctively feel happier and more peaceful. Exposure to cold has also been shown to lower cortisol levels in the blood. Cortisol is the “fight-or-flight” hormone that the body releases in response to stress, so a cool bath can literally cool your head down and make you less stressed.

Many people have personally discovered the wonders a cold bath can do to one’s mental state. Other studies even reveal that it can work as a natural treatment for anxiety and even depression. While there’s no substitute in seeking professional help for this matter, trying this cold therapy may serve as a good way to calm the mind during frustrating days.

Further boost your cold bath with the soothing massage system and aromatherapy feature of air tubs. All your worries and troubles can easily go away in its effervescent bubbles and calming fragrances.

5) Strengthen your willpower

Not everyone can handle the chills of a cold bath, but believe it or not, this is how many successful people welcome their mornings.

You don’t want to begin your day drowsy. Ideally, you want to come prepared and energized, ready to take on whatever challenge the day may bring. This is exactly what taking a cold bath teaches you. Since it’s something that not everyone loves, you force yourself to do it. More than a routine, it trains you to practice self-governance and have control over your schedule.

Moreover, as you bathe in cold water, you get better blood circulation throughout your body which stimulates the release of norepinephrine or the body’s natural ‘energy drug’. This hormone gives the body more adrenaline, clarity and energy levels– the ingredients you need to kickstart and conquer the day like a boss!

Like every morning routine, you have to be equipped with the right tools to see good results. Morning cool baths are even better if you have a soothing, high pressure shower head that provides a relaxing yet powerful water stream that can easily clear up the mind and energize the body– so you go to work more focused and strong-willed!

So, are you team hot or team cold?

Whether you prefer an icy, cold bath or you just simply love warm, steamy showers, there is no single and standard way to do your bathing routine. But like everything else, you can only reap the benefits of something if it’s done right. To enjoy the wonders of hydrotherapy, do your proper research, consult your physician and ensure that it’s safe for your health.

Want to spruce up your bathroom? Or just planning to add a tub for your specific bathing rituals? For starters, read our Ultimate Bathtub Buying Guide to know which tub is the best match for you and your home.

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