A nice hot bath each day could drastically reduce the likelihood of dying from heart disease or stroke, new research has suggested.
More than 30,000 people were recruited for the Japanese study, which tracked their bathing habits between 1990 and 2009.
The participants were aged 40 to 59 with no history of cancer or cardiovascular disease.
Just over 2,000 cardiovascular “incidents” such as stroke or heart attack were recorded in that time, with those taking a hot daily bath having a 28% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and a 26% lower risk of stroke than those bathing just once or twice a week or even less frequently.
The results appear to back up previous studies which have linked heat exposure with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, potentially due it increasing body temperature, heart contractions, heart rate and blood flow.
Publishing the results in the journal Heart, the researchers also noted that daily bathers were at lower risk of high blood pressure.
“We found that habitual tub bathing was associated with a lower risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) among middle-aged Japanese, suggesting a beneficial effect on the prevention of CVD,” the authors wrote.
“Clinicians could recommend tub bathing to prevent CVD.”
“These effects are similar to the impact of exercise and are believed to improve vascular function over the long term,” they added.
However the researchers did acknowledge that the frequency of taking a hot bath might not be the only factor determining the rate of heart disease.
They found that those who took less baths were less likely to engage in other healthy behaviours.
And the report did point out that there were some risks associated with hot baths.
It said tub bathing may be associated with “sudden death, particularly in the elderly, by accidental drowning or heart attack triggered by a rapid change in body temperature, or by heat stroke in which the increased body temperature cannot be controlled” by sweating.