Can taking baths help my heart?

Ask the doctors

Published: September, 2020

Q. I read that taking a hot bath might have cardiovascular benefits. Is this true?

A. It's possible. Past research has found that your body experiences some of the same changes during a warm bath as it does during exercise, including better blood flow, a higher heart rate, and stronger heart contractions. And now, a study published online March 24, 2020, by the journal Heart has shown that middle-aged people in Japan who took a daily bath in either warm or hot water had a 28% lower risk of heart and blood vessel disease than people who didn't bathe in the tub more than twice a week. The daily bathers also had a 26% lower risk of stroke than those who tub bathed less frequently. The study authors analyzed questionnaires filled out by some 30,000 people and then followed them for 20 years. However, note that this study was observational and relied on people to report their bathing activity accurately. It also isn't clear if bathing was the only factor associated with the reduction in cardiovascular problems.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »