Not just for pain: overheating baths work against depression
Around one in eight adults will develop a depressive disorder in the course of their life. The options for treating depression are almost as diverse as the causes of mental suffering. At the University Hospital Freiburg, it was examined how well warming baths help against depression.
Different treatment options
Depression has become a widespread disease in recent years. There are various options for treating the disease. Those affected often go to psychotherapy. From naturopathic therapy approaches with herbal ingredients or acupuncture to surgical interventions with the implantation of electrodes in the brain, a variety of different treatments have already been successfully tested. Now researchers in Freiburg want to further investigate how well warming baths help against depression.
Heat therapy in naturopathy
Heat therapy is widely used in naturopathy. It is used primarily for muscular tension, diseases of the musculoskeletal system such as neck pain or chronic low back pain.
But an increase in body temperature also improves the quality of sleep on the next nights and helps against depression. Researchers at the University Center for Naturopathy at the University Hospital Freiburg under the direction of Prof. Dr. Roman Huber show in a recent pilot study.
Warming baths help against depression
As the university reports in a message, the test subjects already reported improved sleep and reduced feelings of depression after four warming baths with a water temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. The scientists are now looking for further volunteers to be able to compare the effectiveness of warming baths with the effects of exercise therapy in a follow-up study.
The latter treatment option has long been recognized. Studies in recent years have shown that sport helps against depression and works in a similar way to antidepressants.
Therapy ensures better sleep quality
"Our first results indicate that overheating baths lead to better sleep quality due to the higher body temperature," said Prof. Huber. If the body temperature rose by an average of 2.43 degrees Celsius immediately after the bath, it was an average of 1.06 degrees Celsius above the initial temperature even after a subsequent rest phase.
In the survey, the test subjects showed both an improved state of health and a significant decrease in sleep disorders. Doctors assume that the increased body temperature modifies the activities of the nervous system, which often lead to nightly brooding and circling thoughts in depressed patients. (ad)