Regular tub bathing is linked to a lower risk of death from heart disease and stroke, according to a study which says a warm bathmay have effects similar to exercise on blood flow to the blood-pumping organ.
The findings, published in the journalHeart, said a higher 'dose' may be better for cardiovascular health, with a daily hot bath seemingly more protective than a once or twice weekly one.
"We found that frequent tub bathing was significantly associated with a lower risk of hypertension, suggesting that a beneficial effect of tub bathing on risk of cardiovascular disease may in part be due to a reduced risk of developing hypertension," the researchers, including Tomohiko Ukai fromOsaka University in Japan, said.
The scientists explained that having a bath is associated with good sleep quality and better self-rated health, but said it's not clear what its long term impact might be on cardiovascular disease risk, including heart attack, sudden cardiac death, and stroke.
In the study, theyassessed participants in The Japan Public Health Center based Study Cohort 1 -- a population based tracking study of more than 61,000 middle aged adults.
About 43,000 participants completed a detailed questionnaire at the start of the study on their bathing habits and potentially influential factors such as lifestyle, exercise, diet, alcohol intake, and weight.
The participants also provided information on their average sleep duration, medical history and current medicines use.
They were monitored until death or completion of the study at the end of December 2009, with the final analysis based on 30,076 people.
The scientists said 2097 cases of cardiovascular disease occurred during the study period with 275 heart attacks, 53 sudden cardiac deaths, and 1769 strokes.
After taking account of potentially influential factors, they said compared with a once or twice weekly bath or no bath at all, a daily hot bath was associated with a 28 per cent lower overall risk of cardiovascular disease, and a 26 per cent lower overall risk of stroke.
On further analysis of preferred water temperature, the researchers said there were 26 per cent lower and 35 per cent lower risks of overall cardiovascular disease for warm and hot water, respectively.
But they said there was no significant association between overall stroke risk and water temperature.
The scientists cautioned that the study was observational, and can't establish cause.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)