Hot showers and baths are often overlooked during not only the detox phase of recovery but also for the ongoing physical and mental benefits that hot showers or baths can provide.
They can soothe any number of withdrawal symptoms and generally make you feel better, physically and mentally. Here are some of the reasons showers and baths are great in addiction and recovery.
Fever and sweating are common withdrawal symptoms when detoxing from drugs and alcohol or when addicts who are still actively using or drinking, cannot get access to drugs and alcohol, and so, withdraw.
Lying in bed or hanging around in clothes or bedding covered in sweat makes you feel unclean, makes you smell and can cause further sweating from being in damp clothes or bedding. What’s more, people often complain of detox smell, perhaps caused by stress or some kind of chemical imbalance as the drugs leave your system.
Some people describe this as sweating out toxins, but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that’s what’s happening. Regardless, many insist there is a specific smell associated with detox. A regular hot shower or bath can help you keep that under control and rinse off any sweat. Studies have shown that washing also has a psychological effect. Taking a shower feels like “washing away” addiction.
Hot Showers & Baths Help Soothe Aches and Pains
Another common withdrawal symptom, especially from opioids and alcohol, is bone and muscle aches. When you are not used to feeling any pain at all and suddenly the level of opioids or alcohol in your system drops, everything hurts and aches. A hot shower or bath is a good way to soothe those aches. The hot water helps your muscles to relax, which reduces pain. You may also ache from sitting around or lying in bed for a long time. A shower might be the closest thing you get to exercise or movement for a week or two when you feel like you have absolutely no energy to do anything else.
The hot water also dilates your veins and arteries which helps promote healing, especially if you have bad circulation from years of chronic injecting. Likewise, if you have ulcers from injecting, the hot water helps to reduce the risk of infection and begins to promote healing.
Helps Reduce Overall Restlessness & Agitation
An extremely common symptom of detoxing or reducing is having restless legs, arms and cause general overall agitation. The heat of the hot water relaxes muscles which can help reduce the severity of these symptoms.
A Shower Or Bath Will Help Clear Your Sinuses
One of the weird symptoms of withdrawal is a runny nose or feeling “bunged up”. A shower can help clear your sinuses, at least giving you a few minutes’ break from blowing your nose. The steam will also help dilate the blood vessels in your nose and down to your lungs, helping you to breath more easily.
A Hot Shower Or Bath Will Warm You Up
Or cool you down, depending on what you need. A withdrawal symptom from many drugs (including alcohol), is the inability to regulate your body temperature, which can make you feel like you can’t get warm or can’t cool down. A shower or bath can help with that by “resetting” your core body temperature, meaning you can warm up or cool down.
We will be discussing the benefits of cold baths and showers in a different article so stay tuned for that!
A Hot Shower Or Bath Reduces Stress, Lifts Mood And Helps Dissipate Anxiety
Anxiety, irritability, tension, depression and insomnia are just a few of the common mental issues that are commonly encountered during detox and also on stressful, upsetting or difficult days.
A hot shower or bath can calm you down by relaxing your muscles and soothing your aches. No one will bother you in the shower, so you can let the water run over your head and have some time to think. The steam inhalation helps open up your lungs, increasing oxygen levels which can help calm you down and relax.
You can also try using different types of soap, shower gels, bath bombs, bubble bath liquid or others that smell nice, are relaxing or helps you to ease your stresses away. Ingredients such as lavender are known for their relaxing qualities and can also help induce sleep if you are using it before you plan to go to bed. Adding a bath bomb can also provide nice, relaxing smells and also provides a fizzing effect in the water.
Consider Buying A Plug In External Bath Jets
In these modern times, you can buy almost anything! With that being said, you may wish to buy an external, plug in, bath jacuzzi pump which provide jets of water to massage you in the bath, providing you with your very own at home spa! These are not only relaxing, but also provide jets of water to massage your muscles, easing away your built up tension, restless muscles and irritability.
It Breaks Up The Monotony Of Life & Gives You More Self Worth And Self Respect
If you’re having a rough time in withdrawal or during your recovery, your perception of time might become distorted. You may spend a lot of time in bed, but never sleep or settle very well.
You may always be tired without doing anything. A shower is like a reset. It lets you wash away the last 24 hours and feel fresh for a minute before going on. It also gives you some pride in your appearance as you start to look after your personal hygiene and appearance, which often get forgotten about or ignored when we are in active addiction or are having a tough time in your recovery. This mental aspect is just as important as the physical benefits that hot showers or baths provide.
The Use Of Saunas, Steam Rooms & Spas
Although saunas lend no true benefit when it comes to eliminating drug toxins from the body, individuals may find saunas soothing in the same way that some find massages soothing during the drug detox period. Some drugs cause joint and muscle pain as withdrawal symptoms and the high heat of a sauna can relieve some of this pain.
In that way, saunas may be an excellent supportive solution for getting through those tough first days of withdrawal without ingesting other medications. If you have additional questions about saunas, sweat lodge therapy and the drug detox or withdrawal process, please contact us.
10 Top Beneficial Reasons For Having A Hot Shower Or Bath:
- Lowers blood sugar. Forget walking. A hot bath may be just what you need to lower your blood sugar and burn calories. In a recent study done by Loughborough University, scientists investigated the effect a hot bath has on blood sugar control (an important measure of metabolic fitness) and on energy expended (number of calories burned). They recruited 14 men to take part in the study, who each soaked in a hot bath for one hour. They then compared how many calories were burned in each sessions, as well as measured their blood sugar for 24 hours after each trial. Bathing resulted in about as many calories being burned as a half-hour walk (around 140 calories). The overall blood sugar response to both conditions was similar. Goodbye, gym.
- Fall asleep faster. Hot water relaxes the body and better prepares us for falling asleep. When a tense body enters a warm bath, the hot water increases the body temperature and relaxes the muscles. Relaxing the muscles not only soothes us physically but also mentally. That being said, only 20 minutes is needed and be careful not to fall asleep in the bath!
- Lowers blood pressure. Studies have shown that soaking in a hot bath can lower your blood pressure. This is a great system for those with heart conditions and even those who don’t. But first, consult your doctor if you do have a heart condition because a hot bath will also raise the rate of your heartbeat. If your GP or healthcare professional says it’s OK, then it’s a great way of bringing down your blood pressure.
- Relieves muscle tension. Hot showers can relieve tension and soothe stiff muscles. If you have a powerful shower head, even better! Let the hot water work like a mini massage on your shoulders, neck, and back.
- Have cleaner, healthier skin. A good soak in hot water, be it a bath or shower, can open up the pores in our skin. And if the water is clean then it can wash some of the dirt and toxins from our skin. The result is fresher and cleaner skin.
- Moisturises our skin. We may not like the wrinkled skin we get after a hot bath, but it actually has a good effect on it. The warm water leaves the skin moist for longer and prevents it from drying up and getting those little cracks that often appear when it’s dry.
- Improves blood circulation. Dipping the body in hot water to the neck is kind of an exercise for your blood vessels. This is because water creates physical pressure on the body and so it increases the capacity of our heart. In other words, when we’re inside the water, the heart works faster and stronger. Consider this more like a light exercise and just a few dips a week is an excellent work out for your heart.
- Helps relieve cold/flu symptoms. A hot shower also acts as a natural decongestant to relieve cold symptoms, since the hot steam moisturizes nasal passages. Taking a 10-15 minute hot-soak-break can also really help you feel better while your body is trying to get better.
- Reduces headaches. Most types of headaches are caused by the narrowing of blood vessels in the head. The positive effect of the hot water on our blood vessels can be used to alleviate the pressure on those blood vessels and cure our headache.
- Helps us feel better about ourselves. After a stressful day, take a nice warm shower and try to relax, as it’s known that when we feel better physically, we get more confident in ourselves, the more convinced we are up to the challenges ahead. A hot bath is also a great way to reduce daily anxiety as well and make us feel good all around.
The Downsides Of Hot Showers:
- Hot showers can dry out and irritate your skin. Schaffer says the hot water causes damage to the keratin cells that are located on the most outer layer of our skin — the epidermis. By disrupting these cells, it creates dry skin and prevents the cells from locking in moisture.
- They can also make certain skin conditions worse. Higher temperatures make it easier for the skin to dry out and worsen conditions like eczema.
- Hot showers can cause you to itch. Friedman says the heat can cause mast cells (which contain histamine) to release their contents in the skin and cause itching.
- They can increase your blood pressure, too. If you have problems with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, taking a shower that’s too hot can make these conditions worse.