What is a Hip Bath?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A hip bath is a specially designed type of bath tub which is intended to submerge the buttocks and hips of the bather, who bathes sitting upright, as though in a chair. These baths have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic tradition, and they were also immensely popular in the Victorian era, when many Europeans flocked to institutions offering hydrotherapy. Some members of the medical establishment continue to use hip baths in patient treatment.

A bather's hips and buttocks are submerged in a hip bath.
A bather's hips and buttocks are submerged in a hip bath.

Some people also use the term “hip bath” to describe a deeper bathtub, in which more of the body is immersed, but the bather still sits rather than lies in the tub. This sort of hip bath was also very popular among the Victorians, especially those without running water, as it was small enough to fill with water from jugs. Some modern bathers also enjoy this sort of hip bath, since it is quite comfortable to lounge in for extended periods of time.

Women who suffer from cramping may benefit from a hip bath.
Women who suffer from cramping may benefit from a hip bath.

In the sense of a therapeutic bath, a hip bath is supposed to promote healthy circulation and stimulate the digestive tract. Patients may bathe in warm, tepid, or cool water, and various substances may be added to the water as well. In some cases, the bath also involves a vigorous rub down with a coarse cloth, which helps to slough off dead skin while also encouraging surface circulation.

A hip bath may be able to help someone suffering from hemorrhoids.
A hip bath may be able to help someone suffering from hemorrhoids.

Taking hip baths for healing might seem a bit odd, but it does have some very distinct health benefits. Women who suffer from cramping, for example, may find that taking a hip bath helps to relieve the pain. A hip bath can also be used to treat hemorrhoids and other painful inflammations and infections in the lower regions of the body.

A related concept is the sitz bath, which covers the buttocks specifically. Sitz baths are used to treat various inflammatory conditions such as fistulas, and also to ease the pain from surgical procedures in that area of the body. They can also ease recovery from giving birth, when women often experience pain and soreness. Typically a sitz bath is taken with warm water, and the bather soaks for 20-30 minutes.

Sitz baths can help in the recovery process after giving birth.
Sitz baths can help in the recovery process after giving birth.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@turquoise-- If you're looking for a bath tub that's going to benefit your hip, you need a hip bath tub, not a sitz bath tub. Sitz baths are tiny and like the article said, your hip won't even get immersed in water with a sitz bath tub.

A sitz bath tub is like 1/3 the size of a hip bath tub. In the past, sitz bath tubs used to be ceramic or steel. These days they're all plastic and even smaller. They even have ones that fit into the toilet now and you put water in it and just sit on the toilet.

For hip joint pain, I do recommend using a hip bath. It's not terrible affordable, but it's an investment and you can use it for years and years. I've had mine for a long time, I bought it from a company that makes bath tubs and other kitchen stuff. I specially ordered mine because I'm pretty tall and wanted to make sure that I fit in it.

And if you want to immerse your hips and knees and stomach, make sure to look for a deeper tub because they come in various sizes.

To buy one, I recommend finding companies that specialize in bath products and then check their website or call them up to find out if they carry hip bath tubs as well.

@turquoise-- A hip bath tub looks like a ceramic chair. You sit in it as if you are sitting in a deep chair and your hips and usually a part of your stomach and legs also get immersed in water.

I don't own a hip bath but I've used it a couple of times at naturapathy centers. I think there are ones that also work as a Jacuzzi and you can run water in it. But most of them are made just to sit in it. It's not possible to bathe or shower in it. It's too small for that anyway.

I think hip baths are available for sale online and at some medical stores. It's not as easily found as sitz baths though. Those are a lot smaller and cost a lot less. And it's usually available in large pharmacies and stores.


This is interesting. I've never used a hip bath tub before, and I don't think I've ever seen one either. I understand the concept, but I can't really imagine how this bath tub works.

Is it simply to add water and sit in it? Is it possible to bathe or shower in it?

And is a hip bath tub and a sitz bath different in shape?

I would also like to know where these tubs are available for purchase like @anon119969.

I've been suffering from hip tendinitis and my doctor recommended that I do hip baths with salt and ginger in it to relax the muscles and release toxins. I can do it in a regular bath tub, but since I'm supposed to do it daily, it takes a really long time to fill up the bath tub and I feel like I'm wasting water. If hip bath tubs are affordable, it would be nice to have one at home for situations like this.


is it helpful in losing weight?


where can I buy a hip bath in the United States? Please post on this page.


More than auyurveda it is used in naturopathy.


hip bath is used in nature cure centers since many years it has many therapeutic values if used in right temperature and correct duration.

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