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10 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Taking a Bath

10 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Taking a Bath

Bathing has a long and detailed history. Submerging ourselves in water, whether in a bathing receptacle or in a natural body of water is something we do for both personal hygiene, leisure and health. There is nothing more enjoyable than going for a swim in the ocean on a warm day or having a hot fragrant bath in the cooler months.

Hydrotherapy has been practiced for centuries. Both the use of hot and cold water can have beneficial effects on the body. Boiling water can be sourced naturally from a hot spring and many places like New Zealand and Iceland have naturally occurring hot pools that people can utilize to take advantage of the mineral rich waters. Similarly, cryotherapy or taking ice baths, can help to alleviate muscle strain and many athletes including runners will submerge themselves in freezing waters to counteract the damage or strain induced by exercise.

Regardless of the temperature, the benefits of taking a bath have been scientifically proven and can ensure optimal health of the mind and body.

Here are the health benefits of taking a bath:

Bathing can improve heart health

Although bathing in high temperatures can put unnecessary strain on your heart, especially if you have a pre-existing heart condition, taking a warm bath will make your heart beat faster and can give it a healthy work out.

Taking a bath may help you to breathe easier

Being immersed in water past your chest with your head out, can have a good influence on your lung capacity and oxygen intake. There are two factors that contribute to this; the temperature of the water and the pressure the water places on your chest and lungs. When the water is warmer and your heart is beating faster, your oxygen intake can be improved and the steam created can clear your sinuses and chest.

Your brain and nervous system can benefit from bathing

Submergence in water can reduce pain and inflammation and also calm the nervous system, reducing the levels of stress and anxiety in the body and improving your mood. Hydrotherapy can help people who suffer from multiple sclerosis as the temperature and pressure of the water gently relieves the spine of pain and discomfort.

Bathing can benefit your muscles, joints and bones

Stretching and moving in water has been shown to be low impact on the joints, muscles and bones, but very effective in providing an adequate workout through resistance. There is also less chance of injury for people who are at risk of falls, which makes aquatic exercise ideal for the elderly.

Take care of your blood and immunity with a bath

Not only does a warm bath make the blood flow easier, it also makes it more oxygenated by allowing you to breathe deeper and slower, particularly when taking in steam. Taking a hot bath or spa can kill bacteria and improve immunity. It can relieve the symptoms of cold and flu.

Balance your hormones by bathing

Conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and some fertility issues can be assisted by bathing in colder temperatures. Hormones released by the pituitary gland such as adrenocorticotropic hormone or ACTH and other hormones such as beta endorphinand cortisol can become more balanced. Alternatively, warm water bathing can increase levels of serotonin, which is the chemical produced by the brain associated with happiness and well being.

Bathing cleanses and moisturizes your skin, hair and eyes

Exposure to fluid through bathing and steaming is a great way to ensure hydration of the body in all aspects. The human body is made mostly of water and that is why we are encouraged to drink plenty of it. But soaking in it is also extremely beneficial. We can enhance this by adding certain oils or salts to a bath or bathing in a natural body of water or pool, rich in naturally occurring minerals.

Your core body temperature will be optimal through bathing

There is no quicker and more pleasant way to regulate your body temperature than through bathing. On a cold day, taking a hot bath or spa is sure to warm you up. Going for a cold ocean swim in the height of summer is undeniably the best way to cool off.

Evidence has shown that bathing, whether in cold or hot water; at home in a vessel or out in a natural body of water can have many health benefits without adverse effects. However, it is advised that a health professional is consulted if pre-existing health conditions or diseases are present before embarking on any form of hydrotherapy.

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Cite: Diane Kopman/ Jan 2018


May is National Arthritis Month

Arthritis is very common, but is not well understood. Actually, “arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years, but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. So knowing who can be affected and how to seek help is the first step:

Arthritis Disability

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability among adults in the U.S.

Arthritis Prevalence

· By conservative estimates, about 54 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

· Almost 300,000 babies and children have arthritis or a rheumatic condition.

· The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which affects an estimated 31 million Americans.

· Number of people expected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis by the year 2040: more than 78 million.

Who Gets Arthritis

Doctor-diagnosed arthritis is more common in women (26 percent) than in men (18 percent). In some types, such as rheumatoid arthritis, women far outnumber men.

Diagnosis/ Treatment

Primary care providers are usually the first stop for joint problems. Someone who has been searching for answers for a while may choose to see a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating arthritis and rheumatic conditions,

If you or someone you know are seeking a diagnosis or follow up care with a rheumatologist contact 888-227-3762 to schedule an appointment.

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Tis’ the Season for Gout

It’s that time of year again! Pass the gravy, and the butter, and the roast… *gobble* *gobble*.

I know it’s hard to stop yourself when looking down the table and looking at the gibblets, let alone the egg nog brandy, wine, and otherwise incredible sights and smells of the holiday season. That is, of course, unless you have gout. Gout was one considered the “rich man’s” disease for a reason, and when you look at our holiday spreads it’s easier to see why. But just because you have gout doesn’t mean you should lock yourself in a closet until the tinsel is put away… so let’s talk. Continue reading “Tis’ the Season for Gout”

Meet Rheumatologist ‘Will’ O’Brien, MD


Pentucket Medical welcomes William “Will” O’Brien, MD, who began practicing from our Haverhill office on September 9th.

As a rheumatologist, Dr. O’Brien specializes in the management and treatment of ailments of the joints, including all kinds of arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis and lupus.

He grew up in a military family, his father a West Point graduate. After living in many locations, his family settled in Portland, ME, and Will went on to undergraduate studies and a degree from Tufts University.

After Tufts, he entered Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx.

“I explored a career in research,” he says, “but decided I wanted to work with people. Einstein has a deep focus on social medicine, and I just loved the community there. I was drawn to immunology, and systemic autoimmune diseases tend to fall into rheumatology. It’s a subspecialty that’s a good fit for me.”

After receiving his MD from Einstein, Dr. O’Brien returned to New England for a Fellowship at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. His Haverhill practice is his first out of fellowship.

Dr. O’Brien says that his subspecialty is one that relies heavily on referrals.

“As a rheumatologist I’m definitely a doctor’s doctor, we get lots of referrals from other subs. It’s a specialty that takes some humility, because we often don’t know immediately what the diagnosis is. I work with patients to get them a comprehensive, compassionate treatment plan that will get them some function.”

He is glad to be starting his medical career here.

“Pentucket is a wonderful practice and a great fit for me,” he says. “The clinical managers are phenomenal…I get the sense that the clinic is very well run, and the tools are in place for me go above and beyond what I had hoped for. The things that I have to adjust for are minimal. Carolyn (Grasso) and Renee (Antolewicz) have been able to personalize my EMR and this going to be really impactful.”

“There are lots of rheumatologists in the Boston area, but I feel the Merrimack Valley is an area the needs rheumatology.” he says. “As the population ages, this will be more and more the case. I could see developing an arthritis department at Pentucket.”