You get mani/pedis on the reg, light candles and listen to calm music to ward off the Sunday scaries and even get massages a couple times a year. Yep, you’re familiar with the benefits of self-care, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that there are a ton of long-term mental-health benefits, too. (Well, in other primates, at least.)
According to a new study from Kyoto University in Japan, macaques monkeys, or Japanese snow monkeys, are no stranger to the #treatyourself movement, and it has serious pros for their mental health. The monkeys, who were thought to frequent hot springs because of the freezing-cold winters, actually derive a lot of stress-reducing benefits aside from just trying to keep warm. The study found that female monkeys that bathed in hot springs regularly also experienced lower glucocorticoid levels (a hormone related to stress and inflammation), meaning those trips to the spa could actually lower anxiety over time.
But it’s not just “monkey see, monkey do”: The study found that humans who gathered to watch the monkeys’ spa activities didn’t experience any change in stress levels.
In other words, you have to actually go to a spa to reap the benefits. (So go ahead and request that personal day. It’s for your health.)