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Why Health Benefits Of Hot Baths Cannot Be Overemphasised

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Taking regular hot baths, according to a new research has proven to be of significant benefit to individuals who are not able to exercise by reducing chronic inflammation and improve glucose metabolism. HENRY TYOHEMBA writes on the new research.

T

he list of health benefits associated with hot baths keeps growing. Improving glucose metabolism is not an exception. Over the recent years, hot baths, saunas, and other so-called passive heating therapies have received growing attention from scientists.

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.

According to the new research published by the Journal of Applied Physiology, hot bath could have effects that extend way beyond mental relaxation. According to the authors, regular hot baths might reduce inflammation and improve metabolism.

Scientists now believe they offer some potential benefits, including improved vascular function and sleep and because hot baths are low cost and unlikely to cause significant side effect, understanding any benefits that a hot bath might have could be a quick win for medical science.

For this study, the researchers investigated the impact of a hot bath on overweight, mostly sedentary men. The findings were published recently in

the Journal of Applied Physiology. Each participant immersed themselves in a water bath set at 102°F (39°C) for 1 hour. Scientists took blood just before and after the bath, and then 2 hours later.

Also, the researchers charted the participants’ blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate every 15 minutes. Over the following 2 weeks, the participants had a further 10 hot water immersions.

The researchers found that a single hot water immersion caused a spike of interleukin — a marker of inflammation. Similarly, there was an increase in nitric oxide (NO) production.

The spike in NO is important because it causes blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure. NO also improves glucose intake into tissues, and scientists think it has anti-inflammatory properties.

As expected, the 2-week intervention saw a reduction in fasting blood sugar and inflammation. In the same way that exercise influences inflammation,the researchers saw an initial increase followed by a long-term decrease in inflammation.

LEADERSHIP weekend recalls that 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. Meanwhile, 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. For the study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, the team included a group of sedentary, overweight men who participated in both hot-water immersion and ambient room temperature (control) trials separated by at least three days.

Apart from the above, hot bath can reduce Headaches as most types of headaches are caused by the narrowing of blood vessels in the head. The positive effect of the hot water on our blood vessels can be used to alleviate the pressure on those blood vessels and cure our headache.





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