From walking to HIIT to yoga, there is no shortage of “cure-all” activities that claim to improve health the “right way.” We’re constantly inundated with new ways to burn calories, lose fat, reduce inflammation, or (somehow) a mix of all three.
More often than not, we’re left with only sore muscles and new expenses, like class fees, equipment costs, and more. But according to a new study from Loughborough University published in the journal Temperature, there might be another option.
And as it turns out, this calorie-burning, inflammation-reducing activity is about as easy as it gets.
R&R Is More Important Than You Thought
The Loughborough University study sought to research the effect of the body’s core temperature on its overall metabolic rate. In plain English: does lifting the body’s core temperature burn calories in the same way that physical activity does?
The researchers enlisted 14 patients to either bicycle or sit in a 104ºF bath for 60 minutes. While the cyclists ended up burning many more calories, those in the tub burned some, too. Plus, the individuals soaking in the tub enjoyed anti-inflammatory responses similar to those brought on by exercise.
Raising one’s body temperature with a bath or sauna soak is called passive heating (PH). According to the study, PH is conducive to reducing inflammation and, yes, even burning a few calories.
Soaking in a bath might not burn as many calories as an hour-long bike ride. But it will burn about as many calories as a 30-minute walk—around 140 on average. Considering all you’d have to do is sit in a tub and relax, it’s hard to argue with PH’s anti-inflammatory, calorie-burning qualities.
Pamper Yourself With Maximized PH
PH is fairly self-explanatory: draw a bath, get in, soak, and you’re done. But there are several ways to elevate your experience into a maximally effective soak sesh. From overflow drain stoppers to luxurious cushions and caddies, these products take bathtime to a whole new level.
First up on our PH must-have list is this overflow drain cover from SlipX Solutions. Most bathtubs have an overflow drain that prevents you from filling up your tub all the way. For many of us, that means maybe half of our body stays covered with water, leaving the other half goose-pimpled and uncomfortable.
This overflow drain cover allows the water to rise a few inches higher, while a hole on the top of the device ensures water still has a place to go (that isn’t your bathroom floor). The suction cup back provides a watertight seal that is easily removable and leaves no marks or residue.
Once you get your water levels sorted, the next best thing to have during a long PH session is an ergonomic bath pillow. ZenTyme’s custom-designed headrest and shoulder padding provide maximum comfort, and six ultra-strong suction cups ensure your pillow won’t be going anywhere.
Unlike other bath pillows, ZenTyme’s luxury cushion features breathable, air-mesh material that is fast-drying and soft on the skin. The pillow also comes with a washing bag and an extra-large hook for air drying.
Speaking of luxury, it doesn’t get much better than a luxury bathtub caddy from Royal Craft Wood. This water-resistant tray is made of 100% natural bamboo and features a tablet stand, detachable trays, and, yes—even a wine glass slot. The tray can extend or condense, depending on the size of your tub.
According to the Loughborough University study, an effective PH therapy session is around one hour long. Thanks to Royal Craft Wood’s bath caddy, you can breeze through those 60 minutes with a book, tablet, or a glass of your favorite wine.
PH doesn’t just help with reducing inflammation and burning a few extra calories. If you use the right products, it can also act as a deep moisturizing session for your body. OUAI’s Chill Pills are tiny jasmine and rose-scented bath bombs with heavy-duty hydration power.
Jojoba, safflower, and hemp seed oils moisturize and protect the skin without clogging pores, leaving you feeling as good on the outside as you do on the inside.
While the LU study focuses on the physical benefits of PH, there are plenty of mental benefits, too. Life Is Calm’s Epsom Salts offer aromatherapeutic benefits that relax, soothe, balance, and purify both body and mind.
Chill out with lavender, restore your body with energizing eucalyptus and spearmint, and soothe irritated skin with coconut oil. Choose from six cruelty- and sulfate-free Epsom salts to tailor your bath to whatever your body needs that day.
If there is an easier or more relaxing way to reduce inflammation and burn the same calories as a glass of wine, we haven’t found it yet. But until we do, passive heat therapy is the ultimate form of treating yourself. So, go ahead—here’s your justification for that extra-long bath soak you’ve been dreaming about.