Reducing Cardiovascular Disease Risk by… Bathing?

Taking a bath at the end of a long day is a great way to relax. But suppose that, in addition to cleaning your skin, baths could also help reduce your risk of both stroke and heart disease. 

Keeping Track

Such was the conclusion of a 2020 study published in the journal Heart. For this report, the study authors relied upon data collected by the Japan Public Health Center’s Study Cohort 1, a long-running project that documented the health of over 60,000 Japanese adults. In 1990, at the beginning of Study Cohort 1’s tracking period, approximately 43,000 of these participants completed a detailed questionnaire. This questionnaire collected the following information: 

  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Alcohol Intake
  • Current Medicine Use
  • Body Mass Index
  • Average Sleep Duration
  • Medical History

Running Hot and Warm 

The information collected by Study Cohort 1 found that people who took one hot bath per day were significantly less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease and stroke. For the former, the authors documented a 28 percent reduction in risk, whereas strokes were 26 percent less likely to strike subjects who bathed daily. 

But what about those who prefer warm water baths? The news is still encouraging; participants who took one warm water bath per day were still 26 percent less at risk of cardiovascular disease (this figure stood at 35 percent for hot water baths). In contrast, the research team found that water temperature made no difference when it came to stroke risk. 

The study authors summed up their findings as follows: “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.”

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