Science of bathrooms:

How cleansing can turn a negative into a positive

A relaxing soak in the tub or an invigorating shower – how cleansing can turn a negative into a positive. Most of us will have been energized by an early morning shower or rejuvenated after slipping into a warm bath. Claire Asher a professional science communicator explains what scientists think causes the bathrooms feel-good factor. Griffin Collection

Positive vibes
Research suggests that negatively charged particles stimulate our brains and can have a range of positive effects on our body including reduced stress, lower blood pressure, improved task performance and faster reaction times.
One way to generate these negative particles, or ‘happy ions’, is by running water and this may go some way to explaining why bathing makes us feel good.
Shower power
Molecules create ‘happy ions’ as they collide with a hard surface and split apart, such as water molecules hitting the bathtub. The harder the collision the more likely it is to form ions, so showers will tend to fill the air with more ions than baths do.
Switch off
Some researchers also claim using electrical items can reduce the level of positive ions in the air so switch off the hairdryer and straighteners or they could be reversing some of the positive effects of bathing.
The science bit
Although more research is still needed to understand the mechanisms behind the positive effect of negative ions, so far, trials of negative ion treatment appears to have been beneficial to people with depression and in particular, sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Higher doses of ions have a greater impact, and high-density ion exposure has been found to reduce the symptoms of SAD and bipolar depression by up to 50 per cent.
The levels of artificially generated negative ions used to treat depression are likely to be much larger than those we are exposed to simply having a wash. Nevertheless, levels of negative ions have been shown to be higher in the bathroom, and particularly around running water from taps, baths and showers.
Good clean fun
Science to one side, there are many other positive things to be taken from our bathroom routines. The act of cleansing ourselves from whatever the day has thrown at us can be enormously cathartic.
What better way to enliven the spirit than stood under a jet of water as you wipe the sleep from your eyes? And there a few things as relaxing as lying flat in a steamy bath surrounded by aromatic bubbles.
So if you’re feeling stressed out, scrub up. After all, we’ve known for years about the benefits of the bathroom!
If you would like to read some more detailed post about this subject head over to Claire’s blog, Curious Meerkat.

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    Where are the floor tiles in the bathroom pictured from?

    Jo, 4th of June 2013

      Hi Jo! Sorry I didn’t get back to you straight away! These gorgeous floor tiles are from Fired Earth, you can find them here. They are on sale at the moment as well! Tamsin 🙂

      Tamsin, 12th of June 2013

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