how to relieve depression with bathing

By Shannon Vaughn

Founder, Pursoma

03.01.21

"A human being can survive almost anything as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end." – Elizabeth Wurtzel

If you’ve ever managed a bout of depression, or if depression is an ongoing challenge for you, then you know how important safe, effective forms of relief can be. When you spend your days caring for everyone around you, especially when times are tough, your inner resources can end up drained and depleted. Balancing your moods, mind, and energy levels is critical during the best of times. Now, more than ever, it’s time to take care of you.

As ancient healing traditions have long known, the mind-body connection is profound. When it comes to surfing the emotional waves that life’s challenges can bring, small, seemingly simple acts of self-care can provide deep healing. Maintaining mind-body wellness doesn’t have to get complicated. A hot bath, your favorite soothing playlist or guided meditation, and just 30 minutes unplugged from technology can help clear your mind and reset your outlook. And while managing depression can require multiple means of support, such as therapy, self-care is a key component of any sound treatment plan. The happy news is, science consistently shows the amazing benefits of hot water baths.

BATHING CAN HELP EASE DEPRESSION

Researchers at the University of Freiburg in Germany recently completed a small, eight-week study with 45 depressed people at the university’s outpatient clinic. Researchers divided the study into two groups. One group did 40 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise each week for the duration of the study, while the second group took a daily hot water bath.

The study’s authors found that taking a hot bath every day can be more effective than exercise for helping to ease depression. After eight weeks, researchers reported that the daily bathers scored an average of six points lower on a commonly used diagnostic depression scale, while the exercise-focused participants only scored three points lower than before the study began. While exercise is important, and we’re certainly not knocking it, the proven benefits of daily hot water baths show how powerful this self-care tool can be. Further, if you can’t exercise because of health issues, daily bathing can provide a health-boosting alternative.

CREATE HEALING WITH DAILY SELF-CARE

While this small study isn’t peer-reviewed or published yet, it adds to the growing body of research showing the health-promoting benefits of hot water immersion. Further, it’s important to note that regular exercise is important for both your physical and mental health.

A self-care plan that includes a nutritious diet, healthy sleep (which hot baths can also help with), plenty of pure water, exercise, and regular bathing can be a powerful way to take your wellness into your own hands. Further, meditation may also help ease depression, and tub time is the perfect time to get your daily mindfulness practice going. While depression is a potentially serious medical condition that can require professional help, taking loving care of yourself can undoubtedly help your healing process along. With time and regular practice, your self-care routine can yield transformative, nurturing benefits that can help soothe your spirit, nourish your body, and balance your mind increasingly over time.

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