The Power of Baths and Showers


Kaitlyn Mitchell

Another way besides taking a shower to relieve muscle pain is to take salt baths. Soaking for even 15 minutes in a salt bath can relax muscles, reduce soreness and aches, reduce skin irritation and speed up recovery.

What’s the first thing that comes to your head when you think of taking a shower or bath? My guess is that many of you take them to clean yourself off in the mornings or evenings. If your priority is finding a way to thoroughly cleanse your entire body, baths and showers are the way to go.

But there is so much more to taking a bath or shower than just cleaning yourself. There are actually several physical, mental and emotional benefits to taking baths and showers. With all the clean benefits that they give us, the positive impacts shouldn’t be overlooked.

Unlike baths, showers are a much more elaborate and fast way to cleanse off your body. The positive benefits it can give you depends on the temperature of the shower. 

Cold showers can help wake you up in the morning, heal your skin, reduce soreness in your muscles, calm itchy skin, help you stay alert for most of the day and increase your circulation. However, the cooler temperatures will not help you warm up in colder weather or provide positive benefits if you are sick. Cold showers can also be rough on your immune system. Thus it’s best to ease into the cooler temperatures, starting with a hot shower first.

Hot showers can provide help to relieve cold or respiratory symptoms. Hot showers are also good for muscle relaxation, especially after workouts. Hot showers also help to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve your mental health. With all the benefits that hot showers can give you, there are also potential side effects to hot showers. Drying out your skin can become worse and it can cause you to itch even more and/or may increase blood pressure.

According to dermatologist Dr. Edidiong Kaminska, the recommended maximum shower time is about 5 to 10 minutes. This is enough time to cleanse and hydrate the skin without overdoing it. (Kaitlyn Mitchell)

While showers may be better for cleansing your body, that doesn’t mean that baths don’t serve a purpose of their own. While you might prefer the quickness of a shower on a day-to-day basis, baths are great for also relaxing your muscles, cleansing your skin, relieving congestion and breaking sicknesses. 

Warm baths also help to promote sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated one-third of Amercians don’t get enough sleep. But scientifically, baths help those to fall asleep faster with a greater quality of sleep.

A cross-sectional study published in 2018 by Hindawi also found that participants who took immersion baths in warm water each day experienced less fatigue, stress, and depression. Although this was a small, limited study with only 38 participants, the results were compelling.

While baths and showers provide many positive benefits, there also has been a lot of controversy surrounding them. 

Common Questions: 

Do you have to wash yourself every day? The answer is no. You do not have to wash yourself every day, however it will not help your skin. Your body cannot wash itself, and the only way to clean it is through the soap and water in your bathrooms. 

Do you have to wash yourself if you’re not dirty? How often you need to wash yourself depends on your daily activities. For example: After a workout, you should always wash yourself to take the most sweat and grime off your body. The best option for your skin to stay clean is to shower every day or every other day, 

Does washing yourself really provide you with all the positive benefits? Yes! Being clean and well-groomed can help you feel more confident and comfortable both physically and mentally. It is also one of the best ways to fend off diseases and harsh mental conditions caused by the effects of poor hygiene. Good hygiene can help you stay healthy and offers countless positive benefits for your physical, emotional, and psychological health.

The best way to relieve muscle tension from your body is to immediately take a bath or a shower after a workout. (Kaitlyn Mitchell)

Which one: A bath or a shower? Well, that answer lies on the choices based on your personal hygiene. If you’re interested in promoting relaxation, easing fatigue and treating pain in your muscles, a bath would be the way to go. If you’re more interested in cleansing your body daily, getting an immune system boost and improving your circulation, showers would be the way to go. Either one however, beats the alternative of not cleaning up at all.