“According to researchers, a regular warm bath can have a greater effect on mood than physical exercise. Here’s how to enjoy the plunge, even if you prefer a shower”
This article comes from The Guardian and has been written by Linda Geddes. It begins:
“‘I am sure there are things that can’t be cured by a good bath, but I can’t think of one,’ wrote the poet and novelist Sylvia Plath in The Bell Jar. Plath, who struggled with depression, would surely have felt vindicated by the findings of a study reported in New Scientist this week, which concluded that taking regular afternoon baths was associated with a moderate but persistent lift in mood among people with depression. Indeed, the size of the effect was greater than that of physical exercise – a more established mood booster.
By increasing participants’ core body temperatures, the theory goes, warm baths helped to strengthen and synchronise their circadian rhythms, the daily fluctuations in behaviour and biochemistry that affect every one of our organs, including the brain. Core body temperature usually rises during the daytime and falls at night – in fact, this nightly decrease helps us to fall asleep by promoting release of the hormone melatonin, which tells the body when it is night. However, in depressed people, this temperature rhythm is often flatter, disrupted or delayed by several hours. Morning exposure to bright light, which both strengthens circadian rhythms and shifts them to earlier in the day, has also been found to alleviate depression …”
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