by Amy Medling, founder of PCOS Diva
“I am sure there are things that can’t be cured by a good bath, but I can’t think of one.” -Sylvia Plath
Heat therapy for PCOS is not something you hear about very often. It is, however, proving to be a very effective natural tool for healing and soothing PCOS symptoms.
Soaking in a hot tub filled with Epsom salts, baking soda, geranium, clary sage, and lavender essential oils (see my go-to bath salts recipe) is just the ticket for helping me calm down after a long, stressful day. For more on essential oils for PCOS, visit PCOSDiva.com/essentialoils. But stress reduction is just one benefit hot water therapy. There are good reasons I use baths as a therapy in my Jumpstart Program, Sparkle Program, and book Healing PCOS.
Heat therapy or a good hot bath can help in these 3 key ways:
Heat therapy baths can help lift mood.
In a small recent study, it was shown that taking a bath just twice a week produced a moderate but persistent lift to mood. The benefit was similar to that seen with physical exercise, which is a recommended therapy for mild or moderate depression, a common PCOS symptom.
Heat therapy baths can help you sleep better.
Researchers believe that a warm bath before bed can signal the production of melatonin, a hormone which aids in sleep. A recent meta-analysis of sleep research showed that the best time for taking a bath is 1–2 hours before going to bed and should last for at least 10 minutes. The warm bath calms the body down by improving the blood circulation from the core of the body to the hands and feet which also improves sleep quality.
Heat therapy baths may help metabolic factors of PCOS.
A study conducted at the University of Oregon had 6 obese women with PCOS spend 1-hour sessions in a hot tub three to four times per week for about two months. After the study period, the women showed reductions in fasting glucose during an oral glucose tolerance, reduced blood pressure and heart rate, and other improvements in measures of heart health and metabolism. Some participants reported having regular menstrual cycles during the study. Researchers noted that repeated heat exposure reversed inflammation and improved insulin resistance in the study participants. This may be due to the increased levels of some heat shock proteins in fat tissue after the hot tub sessions. Heat exposure causes the body to increase proteins known as heat shock proteins, which are involved in reducing inflammation, repairing damaged insulin receptors, and improving blood vessel structure and function.
As I often say, little hinges swing big doors. A hot bath can be one more element in your PCOS Diva lifestyle that makes for big improvements. Try heat therapy for PCOS. You will be glad you did.
*NOTE* Large and/or sudden increases in body temperature can put a strain on your heart, so if you have heart problems avoid hot baths, particularly on cold days.
Amy Medling, best-selling author of Healing PCOS and certified health coach, specializes in working with women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), who are frustrated and have lost all hope when the only solution their doctors offer is to lose weight, take a pill, and live with their symptoms. In response, Amy founded PCOS Diva and developed a proven protocol of supplements, diet, and lifestyle programs that offer women tools to help gain control of their PCOS and regain their fertility, femininity, health, and happiness.