The Expert / Wellness
”Our ambition is to create a scientific council to see how health is affected over time”
On five benefits regarding hot baths with good scientific support
11 Nov 2021

Währborg is a psychologist and a professor in internal medicine/cardiology and behavioral medicine who’s been working with public health issues for many decades back. He’s just joined bathtub company Nordhem in a new partnership, The Bath Theory, to highlight the health benefits of taking a hot bath.

— Anything that can improve public health is of interest to me, he explains joining the Swedish family business. The results found regarding hot bath and thermal therapy — the temperature in relation to bodily functions — have been positively surprising and worth further studies and public promotion. We like to continue doing clinical research on the effects of a hot bath in different populations — our ambition is to create a scientific council to see how health is affected over time with primarily hot baths.

Could you point out 5 health benefits gained from hot baths?

— First of all; scientific evidence are not questions that easily can be answered with a yes or no. Take vaccines as an example. However, here are five benefits with good scientific support:

– Reduction of long-standing pain in, for example, fibromyalgics. Warmth in general and especially in water has been found to reduce pain.
– Lowering of inflammatory activity which is an advantage for people with inflammatory diseases (rheumatological diseases).
– Lowering of blood pressure which obviously is an advantage for people with high blood pressure (hypertension).
– Stress reduction with a lowering of activity in the stress nervous system (the sympathetic nervous system).
– Relaxation of muscle tension. It soothes sore muscles and joints.

We’ve seen a huge rise for cold baths in Scandinavia, not the least during the pandemic. From a scientific point of view, are hot or cold baths preferable? Or both?

— It is impossible to compare these two activities, especially since cold baths have different effects on, for example, blood pressure. It might even be potentially dangerous to take a very cold bath if you suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure). Hot and cold baths seem to do very different things in the body and could therefore not be easily compared. Also, hot baths can not and should not replace other health-promoting activities but is a complement to, for instance, physical activity, Währborg concludes.