Don’t you just love a good bath? Soaking in pools of hot water is one of the best ways to relax and unwind. But, are there other benefits to a hot bath besides its obvious qualities?
Here, we’re talking about baths, salts, and how they’re used for recovery - among their other incredible benefits.
Baths & Recovery
Some research points to the idea that a hot bath can be as beneficial as exercise. It’s not a substitute, but if you’re injured or ill, hot baths show similar results in some cases.
First, hot baths can reduce inflammation - just as exercise can. Inflammation is a sign that the body is under stress. It’s why we aim to eat anti-inflammatory foods and take anti-inflammatory medications for muscle strains and headaches.
Hot baths also can help with high blood pressure. The hot water allows your blood vessels to relax, making it easier for the blood to flow through with less obstruction.
Similarly, the heat of a hot bath can soothe sore muscles and aid in recovery. However, ice baths help too, but both are using heat to their advantage. Once you step out of an ice bath, your body works to quickly heat up. It’s that heat that’s working to soothe your sore body.
Finally, hot baths aid in sleep. For optimal sleep, our bodies are required to cool down to a lower body temperature than normal. In a hot bath, our internal bodies are working hard to regulate its temperature.
Therefore, conversely to what happens after an ice bath, when you step out of a hot bath, your body already on the trajectory of cooling down your core temperature. This is why so many people are advocates for a hot bath before bed.
What are Epsom salts?
Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate. Most often dissolved into a bath, they’re used to help your body recover after strenuous exercise. Epsom salts in tandem with a hot bath are one of the best soaking combinations for an athlete.
Additionally, Epsom salt baths are used to relieve stress, often infused with essential oils like lavender to aid in the process.
In a bath, the Epsom salt is dissolved into the water and absorbed into the skin. Totally different from your average table salt, Epsom salts are packed with magnesium which is why adding them to a bath has claimed so many benefits.
Magnesium is a mineral that many people don’t get enough of which, on its own, contributes to the alleviation of sore muscles. So, with a hot Epsom salt bath, you’re getting tons of health benefits in one relaxing package.
Epsom salts can be purchased at most grocery stores, pharmacies, and health food stores all over the world. Although Epsom salts originally came from Britain - named after the town of Epsom in Surrey - they’ve become a global phenomenon for recovery and muscle repair.
So, the next time you’re sore - sure, take a hot bath! But make sure to add in some Epsom salts for that extra magnesium and deeper recovery. You won’t regret it.