Background: Bathing, or soaking, in a bathtub is a popular and often habitual pastime that has its roots in the culture of the Japanese people. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of such bathing on health status.
Methods: We conducted a population-based cross-sectional study involving 617 Japanese participants who took routine medical checkups. The frequency of bathing in a bathtub was categorized into two levels: "less than seven times a week" (less frequent bathing group) and "seven or more times a week" (frequent bathing group). We compared the following characteristics between the two groups: age, body mass index, blood pressure, blood chemistry findings, self-rated health, and sleep quality.
Results: The frequent bathing group reported better self-rated health and sleep quality than the less frequent bathing group, with age- and sex-adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) of 2.11 (1.28-3.48) for self-rated health and 1.55 (0.98-2.44) for sleep quality. Other survey items were similar between the two groups.
Conclusions: The findings of this study suggested that bathing in a bathtub every day or more frequently was associated with a good state of self-rated health and sleep quality.
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