The Japanese are well known for their love of a good soak – they often do this in public bathing houses called onsen. These communal bathing places are sometimes naturally spring-fed as Japan has many natural hot springs. Traditionally both women and men would bath together in these facilities but introduced Western ideals means that today’s onsen are generally gender-separated. Most onsen don’t require bathers so be ready to lose any inhibitions!
We do love a hot bath and winter is the perfect excuse to wile away an hour or two soaking up the heat and steam and just having a good old relax. Happily bathing not only helps your hygiene, it also has many health benefits.
Soaking in a hot tub of water (or natural hot spring if you’re lucky) not only warms up the body but also helps to improve circulation, alleviates fatigue and helps ease sore muscles. Raising the temperature of the body also improves metabolism, which can help improve both the diet and skin.
Ten reasons to have a hot soak:
1. Baths burns calories – Taking a hot bath equates to about as many calories that can be burned in a 30 minute walk – approximately 140 calories.
2. Assists with sleep – Hot water soothes those aching muscles. It’s not just in your mind, hot water actually increases the body temperature which loosens the muscles. This affect creates the perfect conditions for a good sleep.
3. Get clean – OK. So we all know bathing makes us cleaner but soaking in hot water also opens up the pores in our skin allowing for easier removal of dirt and toxins.
4. Moisturising effects – You know when you’re in the bath too long and your skin becomes all wrinkly? Well, this is a good thing (even though it feels weird) and the warm water retained in your skin can stop your skin from drying and cracking.
5. Improves blood circulation – Not only does bathing burn calories it also gives you a bit of a workout that’s good for your heart. The water creates pressure on the body meaning our heart works faster – similar to light exercise. A wonderful way to give your heart a bit of a healthy workout.
6. Improves mood and well-being – A hot bath can release pressure in tension provide an overall improve physical feeling. This feeling can boost confidence and enable us to better deal with challenges.
7. Eases headaches – Most headaches are caused by the narrowing of blood vessels in the head. Hot water can alleviate the pressure on these blood vessels thereby easing the headache.
8. Relieve cold & flu symptoms – Have you ever put your head over a bowl of steaming water and covered it with a towel? Well, a bath works in the same way. It’s all in the steam which is a natural decongestant. Combine this with some uplifting bath salts and you’ll be better in no time.
9. Improve your immune system – An elevated body temperature can help certain types of immune cells to work better. A mildy higher temperature can assist lymphocytes which are capable of destroying virus-infected cells.
10. Get happy – Warm water bathing can increase serotonin, the chemical produced by the brain to create happiness and well-being.