Motivated

The Joy & Benefits of the Bath


by Carrie Borzillo - October 26, 2020


Love them or hate them, these cold weather months of Fall and Winter are undeniably a wonderful time for a few seasonal staples — warm fuzzy sweaters and knee-high boots, hot chocolate and hearty soups, and indulging in warm and cozy hot baths! Some might say it’s “sweater weather,” we say it’s “bath weather”!

Baths come in many forms — you’ve got the classic bubble bath with wine, candles, and music for some sexy time with your partner, the therapeutic soak with mineral salts to ease your tired body after a hard work-out, and aromatherapy baths to relax and rejuvenate.

Photo Credit: by Carrie Borzillo
Photo Credit: by Carrie Borzillo

Studies show the many mental health and physical health benefits of baths include reducing stress and improving sleep, fighting off cardiovascular disease, helping with skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, to name a few, among other benefits. Whether you just want to treat yourself to a little self-care and pampering this chilly season or have some medical issues to address, we’ve got a bath for you!

But, before you get your fuzzy robes out and start running the hot water, keep these safety tips in mind:

● Consult a doctor first if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or have any health conditions before taking a hot bath or using bath products.

● Don’t use bath products, such as essential oils, bath bombs, and bubble bath, if you have irritated, inflamed, or broken skin.

● Test the water temperature and your homemade concoctions first.

● Only soak for 15-20 minutes. 15 minutes is the minimum to get the full benefits of each type of bath, and over 20 minutes might dry out your skin.

Aromatherapy Baths

Essential oils are wonderful for a simple bath option to help with stress, insomnia, and minor aches and pains. The main goal of an aromatherapy bath is to unwind, relax, and destress and it’s one of the best ways to use a variety of essential oils.

Photo Credit: by Carrie Borzillo
Photo Credit: by Carrie Borzillo

Since essential oils are not water soluble, you need to dilute them with a carrier oil before using. Essential oil research experts, Tisserand Institute, recommends using grapeseed, jojoba, almond, or argan oil for this. The blend would be 5 to 20 drops of the essential oil of your choice to one tablespoon of carrier oil. Mix the essential oil with the carrier oil in a bowl before putting it into the tub, test it on a patch of skin first to make sure you don’t have a reaction, and then stir it into the bath right before getting in.

As for which essential oil to choose, well, that’s up to you. Due to its mild floral scent and stress-relieving properties, lavender is usually the top pick for those needing to relax and relieve some minor body aches. Chamomile, rose oil, and frankincense are other common picks for similar reasons. Cedar oil is a good choice if you are looking to treat eczema. Eucalyptus oil is not the best choice for a soak because its pungent, astringent properties can sting your skin and private parts. (Ouch!)

If you don’t have a tub, no worries. You can sprinkle a few (3-6) drops of any essential oil straight from the bottle onto your shower floor. The hot water will diffuse the scent and it won’t get directly on your skin, but you’ll be able to breathe in the aromatherapy. In this usage, eucalyptus oil is a wonderful choice — especially if you have a stuffy nose and want to clear it up a bit!

Tub Tea

Tub Tea is easy to make at home and great for a holiday gift. They smell amazing, help you to relax, and can be great for your skin. You can easily find extra-large paper tea filter bags for loose tea online or at hobby shops or craft stores. The paper ones are compostable, or you can buy reusable muslin bags. The rest of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery and garden shops.

Here’s a simple recipe for Rose-Lavender Tub Tea: Combine 2 cups of Epsom salt, 1 cup of dried mini rose buds, and 1 cup of dried lavender in a bowl and mix it up. Scoop into your tea bags. Some bags have a seal, others you’ll have to sew together or tie tightly.

Photo Credit: by Carrie Borzillo
Photo Credit: by Carrie Borzillo

You can also create your own mix using a variety of other similar ingredients, including pink Himalayan bath salts or Dead Sea salt instead of Epsom salt, as well as ground oatmeal, dried calendula petals, dried mint leaves, and even powdered milk.

To use, add one Tub Tea bag into your hot bath and let it sleep for 5 minutes. Swirl it around a bit and then enjoy! Or, if you prefer to give this as a gift, you can make a larger batch and put it in a small mason jar with a ribbon around it.

Bath Salts

The three most common bath salts to use themselves are Epsom salt (white), Himalayan salt (pink), and ancient Dead Sea salt (brown), and they are generally used for therapeutic baths for specific reasons. For each, read the instructions on the package for how to use. It’s generally about two cups poured directly into a hot bath. Let the salts dissolve before getting in.

Photo Credit: by Carrie Borzillo
Photo Credit: by Carrie Borzillo

The differences between the three are slim as they all mostly aim to ease pain, detox, and reduce fatigue. But, according to some studies, Himalayan salt baths, mined near the Himalayan mountains near Pakistan, can reduce fatigue, stress, and pain, and also treat eczema, acne, and psoriasis. The salt delivers magnesium, which helps muscles contract and relax, while the antimicrobial properties are what helps treat the aforementioned skin conditions.

Epsom salt, which is actually a mineral from natural springs in Epsom, England, has a higher amount of magnesium so it’s usually the preferred mineral salt bath for aching muscles, as well as to relieve the itching from bug bites. As for Dead Sea salts, from the Dead Sea of Israel, the biggest difference here is that while it too is used for muscle aches, it’s more known for its detoxifying and beautifying effects. Poured straight into the bath is great for detoxing, or you can add it to a little balm or oil to help with dry skin and cellulite.

Bath Bombs

Homemade bath bombs also make for a great self-care holiday gift this season. They’re colorful, fun, and easy to make in large batches. They do take a little more time and effort than Tea Tubs, but they are worth it! Here’s how to make a dozen Glitter Bath Bombs…

Photo Credit: by Carrie Borzillo
Photo Credit: by Carrie Borzillo

Ingredients & Tools:

● 8 ounces baking soda

● 4 ounces corn starch

● 4 ounces citric acid

● 4 pounds Epsom salt

● 2.5 tablespoons coconut oil (any veggie oil will do, but coconut smells best)

● 2 tablespoons essential oil of your choice (lavender or rose are great options, or for a more holiday feel try peppermint or vanilla)

● 1 package biodegradable glitter in a color of your choice (optional)

● 1 tablespoon water

● 3-5 drops of all-natural, organic food coloring in a color of your choice

● Either silicone molds or whatever ice cube or popsicle trays you have in your house will do as well

Instructions:

1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl.

2. In another bowl, mix in the wet ingredients until it’s perfectly blended.

3. Slowly add the liquid mixture (about a tablespoon at a time) to the dry ingredients and whisk as you go. It should feel like damp sand in the end.

4. Fill your molds or trays before the mixture dries out.

5. Put the tray in the refrigerator for a few hours to harden. Depending on your mixture, this could take 24 hours.

6. Pop one into your bath and enjoy or box them up for gifts.

For more at-home spa recipes, check out How To Recreate Spa Sleep Treatments At Home.


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