Don’t have access to a sauna? Research reveals a SIMPLE way to simulate this “heart healthy” habit

sauna-alternative(NaturalHealth365) A growing crop of scientific papers continues to reveal the incredible health benefits of sauna bathing. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have access to a sauna, nor even a hot tub … fortunately, you can still reap the benefits of heat exposure just by running yourself a hot bath.

In fact, a recent observational study involving over 800 people discovered that weekly hot baths provide some impressive heart healthy benefits.

New study: Taking regular (HOT) baths supports healthy heart and blood vessels … plus, help to fight hardening of the arteries

The observational study was published in June 2018 volume of Scientific Reports. Researchers from Japan – a country where hot bathing has a long history of use – collected data from 873 participants, asking them questions about how often they bathed and at what water temperature.

The researchers also took various measurements from the subjects, including brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (a primarily Eastern-based method for measuring atherosclerosis) and plasma levels of a compound called B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP). BNP is a hormone secreted by heart muscles; high levels of BNP suggests the heart is not pumping effectively.

After compiling and statistically analyzing the collected data, the Japanese discovered that people who reported bathing at least five times per week tend to have better heart health, as indicated by lower BNP levels and lower brachial-ankle pulse wave velocities.

In their paper, the researchers also cite other studies which show that habitual hot water bathing is significantly associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension, can boost cardiovascular function in people with heart failure, and can lower heart rate, and increase cardiac output and stroke volume while reducing peripheral vascular resistance. Indeed, hot water immersion “is comparable to low-temperature sauna bathing in terms of cardiovascular effects,” they say.

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In addition to boosting your heart health, sauna use and hot bathing have also been suggested to:

  • Reduce the risk of stroke
  • Positively influence hormone balance
  • Enhance toxin excretion via sweat
  • Makes it easier to fall asleep
  • Decrease stress
  • Alleviate pain

So, don’t stress if your gym is currently closed due to COVID-19 or you simply don’t have a sauna or hot tub at your disposal. If you have a bathtub, then creating your own spa-like experience at home still appears to be worth your while.

This is how long you should soak in a hot bath to reap the heart healthy benefits, according to Japanese researchers (plus two other ways to optimize your bathing routine)

In the study, the researchers found that the mean reported duration of a bath was just 12 minutes, with a water temperature of 106°F (41°C). So, consider using this as a guideline for creating your own hot bathing routine.

In addition, there are two other research-supported tips you can use to get the most out of your bath time:

  1. Add Epsom salt to your bathwater: according to Cleveland Clinic, Epsom salt helps alleviate mental and physical tension and reduces muscle fatigue (they recommend adding about 300 grams of Epsom salt into a bathtub)
  2. Take your bath about 90 minutes before bedtime: according to a 2019 paper published in Sleep Medicine Reviews, this can help you fall asleep faster by initiating a sleep-inducing change in body temperature (the hot bath actually ends up lowering your core body temperature since your pores open up to cool you off, and this low body temperature helps signal processes in the nervous system associated with sleep) 

Sources for this article include:

MedicalNewsToday.com
NIH.gov
Nature.com
NIH.gov
ClevelandClinic.org 
ScienceDirect.com

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