Research says a hot bath could have effects that extend way beyond mental relaxation. According to the authors, regular hot baths might reduce inflammation and improve metabolism.
Over recent years, hot baths, saunas, and other so-called passive heating therapies have received growing attention from scientists.
Scientists now believe they offer some potential benefits, including improved vascular function and sleep.
Because hot baths are low cost and unlikely to cause significant side effects, understanding any benefits that a hot bath might have could be a quick win for medical science.
Recently, researchers set out to understand whether hot bath immersion could have an impact on metabolic disorders, such as diabetes.
Almost 20 years ago, a paper concluded that hot water immersion of individuals with type 2 diabetes enhanced insulin sensitivity. However, it is still unclear how this might occur.
In the most recent study, the researchers dug a little deeper into the mechanisms at work. They theorized that the influence of a hot bath over glucose metabolism might revolve around the inflammatory response.
There is some evidence that chronic, low-level inflammation increases insulin resistance. In other words, inflammation reduces a cell’s ability to respond to insulin, potentially contributing to the development of diabetes.
Conversely, exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity — meaning that the body has better control over glucose levels.
Although doctors often recommend exercise to reduce the risk of developing metabolic disorders, not everyone can exercise — perhaps due to health conditions or physical capacity. It is, therefore, essential to find alternative ways to improve insulin sensitivity for these people.