Patients with depression who took twice-weekly hot baths (104ºF/40ºC) for 20 minutes followed by 20 minutes wrapped in blankets with hot water bottles significantly lowered their depression scores. At eight weeks, scores improved enough to move some “severe depression” patients to “moderate depression” and some “moderate depression” patients to “mild depression.” Since depression, body temperature and sleep are known to be linked—and the daily rise and fall of body temperature is out of sync in people with depression—the researchers believe that hot baths may relieve depression by resetting body temperature and circadian rhythm. Bonus: The patients liked the therapy—only two out of 22 dropped out, compared to 13 who dropped out of a control group of 23 who exercised instead.

Related Articles