Health & Wellbeing

Study suggests a hot bath a day might keep the heart disease away

Study suggests a hot bath a da...
The study followed 30,076 Japanese participants over a 19-year period
The study followed 30,076 Japanese participants over a 19-year period
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The study followed 30,076 Japanese participants over a 19-year period
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The study followed 30,076 Japanese participants over a 19-year period

It was just last year when a study concluded that a warm bath before bed should indeed help you to sleep. Now, a new study suggests that regular hot soaks may also lower the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Conducted by a consortium of Japanese research institutes, the study ultimately tracked and evaluated a total of 30,076 middle-aged Japanese participants over a period starting in 1990 and ending in December 2009 (or when the individual died, whichever came first).

At the start of the study, each person filled out a questionnaire describing their bathing habits, along with information such as their exercise routines, diet, alcohol intake, body weight, average sleep duration, medical history, and medications presently being used.

Throughout the 19-year monitoring period, 2,097 cases of cardiovascular disease occurred within the study group – these included 275 heart attacks, 53 sudden cardiac deaths, and 1,769 strokes. After potentially influencing factors were accounted for, it was determined that taking a daily hot bath (as opposed to once or twice weekly, or not at all) was associated with a 28-percent lower overall risk of cardiovascular disease, and a 26-percent lower risk of stroke.

A more detailed analysis revealed that the hotter the water, the greater the reduction of risk of cardiovascular disease. It was also noted, however, that bathing in overly-hot water could increase the risk of overheating-induced drowning deaths, particularly in older people.

Although the perceived protective effect of frequent warm baths isn't entirely understood, it is believed that it may be linked to previous findings which suggest that "the effects of heat on the body are not dissimilar to those of exercise." Additionally, the current study noted that regular tub bathing was associated with a reduced risk of hypertension.

The scientists additionally point out that the participants practised Japanese-style bathing, in which the body is immersed right up to the shoulders. This may have had a bearing on the effects of their baths.

A paper on the study was recently published in the journal Heart.

Source: BMJ via EurekAlert

5 comments
xs400
Similar to a sauna?
Mat fink
Having a hot relaxing bath everyday is a symptom of having a stress free, relaxing life in general and that would be a causal reason for having less heart attacks.
Jorel
Two good comments above. Unfortunately, a bath a day may soon be a luxury for the rich in a world rapidly running out of fresh water (unless desalinization tech improves dramatically and drops significantly in cost & energy requirements). And while studies have indeed found similar benefits from saunas, though not all of us can afford that either, and it uses a lot of energy. So maybe the ultimate answer could be adding a steam fixture to existing showers, as that also has cardiovascular benefits (in addition to improving skin health), and is much less resource/energy intensive.
Trylon
@Jorel, or you can buy a sauna suit. Very inexpensive, doesn't use water or additional energy sources.
GregVoevodsky
Jorel - Hot Tubs at 104 degrees would be similar to a hot bath. Little waste of water too!