Taking a bath might lower the likelihood of death related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) including sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke, but the protective effect relies on the number of baths.
Taking baths every day appears to show more benefit than bathing even four times a week.
This simple pleasure has long been known to improve sleep quality and increase how healthy people feel.
However, the impacts of bathing on CVD risk have not been studied until now.
For this reason a study in Japan tracked 61,000 middle aged adults for nearly 20 years.
The results showed that a daily hot bath can reduce the risk of CVD by 28 percent and the risk of stroke by 26 percent when compared to having a bath once or twice a week.
The authors of the study wrote:
“We found that frequent tub bathing was significantly associated with a lower risk of hypertension, suggesting that a beneficial effect of tub bathing on risk of [cardiovascular disease] may in part be due to a reduced risk of developing hypertension.”
The study examined whether water temperature described as hot, warm, or lukewarm makes any significant difference.
To bathe with hot water indicated a 35 percent lower risk of CVD and 26 percent reduction of risk when warm water was used.
However, water temperature didn’t make any difference for stroke risk.
The Japanese style of bathing typically involves filling the tub with water at 40°C to shoulder height.
The danger of having a hot bath is that it can cause heat stroke if the temperature is too high.
Dr Andrew Felix Burden, commenting on this study, wrote:
“There can be no doubt about the potential dangers of bathing in hot water, and the occurrence of death from this increases with age, as well as with the temperature of the water.”
According to Dr Burden, it is unlikely that cardiovascular disease itself is the reason for these death as overheating could cause confusion and so drowning.
About the author
Mina Dean is a Nutritionist and Food Scientist. She holds a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Food Science.
The study was published in the journal Heart (Ukai et al., 2020).