Taking hot baths on a regular basis helps to modify some of the risks associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D), according to a new study from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).
The experts found that the heat from hot tubs and saunas has a therapeutic effect on various T2D risk factors such as higher body mass index and glycated haemoglobin |(HbA1c), a measure of blood sugar control.
Previous studies have suggested that some forms of heat therapy, including hot-tub bathing, can improve blood sugar control and body fat percentage. A research team led by Dr. Hisayuki Katsuyama of Kohnodai Hospital in Japan set out to investigate how heat may help T2D patients on a daily basis.
The study is the first of its kind to examine the effects of sauna or hot tub use on metabolic parameters across a large number of individuals with T2D in a real-world setting.
The study was focused on patients with T2D living in Japan, where it is a common part of everyday life to take hot baths. The researchers surveyed nearly 1,300 patients that regularly visited the outpatient unit of Kohnodai Hospital between October 2018 and March 2019.
The experts compared the frequency of hot bathing with specific beauty markers and blood test results.
The patients were divided into three groups according to the frequency of bathing. After detailed analysis of the data, the researchers established that the mean frequency of bathing was 4.2 times a week and the mean duration of bathing was 16 minutes.
The study revealed that increased bathing frequency was linked to decreases in body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, diastolic blood pressure, and glycated haemoglobin.
The frequency of hot-tub bathing could independently predict glycated haemoglobin and body mass index. After adjusting for age, sex, and the number of blood pressure drugs, reductions in diastolic blood pressure were also associated with increased bathing frequency.
“Our results indicate that daily heat exposure through hot-tub bathing has beneficial influences on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes,” wrote the study authors.
The research was presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Annual Meeting.
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer