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Are Hot Baths Good for You?

The evidence for the benefits of passive heating -- whether from relaxing in a hot bath or from spending time in a sauna -- is beginning to mount. The latest study, conducted in 2017 at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, found that an hour-long hot bath could burn as many calories as a 30-minute walk. And this research is certainly not the first to outline the benefits of relaxing in the tub. Other studies have suggested that passive heating can lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and decrease blood pressure.

Heat therapy may be good for you:

  • The 2015 research in Finland suggested that frequent visits to the sauna could reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke -- at least in men.

  • Studies conducted at the University of Oregon found that passive heating can increase levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that dilates blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.

  • The first study on passive heating, conducted at Colorado’s McKee Medical Center in 1999, showed improvements in body weight, blood sugar control, and a reduced dependence on insulin in diabetic patients after three weeks of hot-tub therapy.

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