Hard day at the office?  Feet killing you?

As soon as you get home, the first thing you would want to do is run yourself a soothing hot bath!

Latest research shows that baths are not only great for unwinding and soaking away the stresses of the day, they can also play an important role in boosting your immune system, help skin conditions like eczema and may even aid in alleviating some medical disorders.

One study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that diabetics who spent just half an hour in a hot tub could reduce their blood sugar levels by around 13 per cent. - as the heat dilated their blood vessels, blood-flow improved and the body made better use of its insulin, the hormone that converts blood sugar into energy.

A separate Japanese study showed that 10 minutes in a warm bath improved cardiovascular health in elderly men and women, helping them to cope better in exercise tests and reducing pain.

Previous research had suggested that hot baths could be dangerous for heart disease patients, because they temporarily increase blood pressure.

So what's the best bath for you and how long should you spend in it?   Find out with this guide below:

Warm baths - 90-95F or 32-35C - open the pores and encourage sweating, which helps to release toxins.  They are good for mild detoxing and slight colds.  Warm baths can also help lower blood sugar levels, relieve painful joints and muscles, and help to keep your bowels working properly.
SOAK TIME:  10-20 minutes.

If you are really stressed out, a cold bath can be the perfect answer - but they are only for the very brave and those in robust health.  The temperature needs to be 55-65F, or 12-18C. Cold baths are fantastic if you are full of tension. They do the opposite of hot baths as they thin the blood and increase blood sugar levels.
SOAK TIME:   A quick dip - between six and 30 seconds at the most.

For skin conditions such as eczema, hives, or rashes, adding some baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to your bath can make a big difference.  It acts as a mild antiseptic, opens the pores and relieves itching and skin irritation.  Fill the bath with lukewarm water, add about a pound of baking soda and mix well.
SOAK TIME:  10-20 minutes.

Yeast infections such as thrush can be helped by adding three or four cups of cider vinegar, preferably organic, to your bath water.  It is also very good for detoxifying the body - as the vinegar helps to restore its acid/alkaline balance. Add to a full bath of warm water.
SOAK TIME:  15-20 minutes.

Sprinkle about 3-5 lb (or less) of sea salt into the water and mix in well for a thoroughly relaxing bath.
The cooler the water and the shorter the time spent in the bath, the more it acts as a tonic.
SOAK TIME:  10-20 minutes.

Hot foot baths can help with colds and headaches as well as refreshing tired feet.  Pour enough hot water into the bath or a bowl to cover your feet and ankles and add a few drops of an essential oil such as Lavender, Peppermint, Thyme, or Lemon.  Finish by rinsing your feet with cold water.
SOAP TIME:  10-20 minutes.

A cold foot bath is absolutely brilliant if you are an insomniac or just sometimes having trouble sleeping.  Soak your feet until they start to feel uncomfortably cold. This treatment is also useful for constipation, nose bleeds, tired feet and colds.
SOAK TIME:  As long as you can bear.

Try alternating between hot and cold foot baths if you suffer from circulatory problems or varicose veins.  Start by soaking your feet for one to two minutes in hot water - followed by 30 seconds in cold. Keep alternating between the two for 15 minutes, finishing with cold water.
SOAK TIME:  15 minutes.


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