Too many of us neglect the benefits of soaking in the tub in today, but a leisurely soak can allow you to step out feeling clean, comforted, and relaxed…improve your circulation lower your blood pressure…make your skin glow and feel feel smooth to the touch…melt away all the stress of the day…prepare you for a glorious, uninterrupted sleep…refresh and rejuvenate your body…and soothe or heal skin and muscles.
Here is some advice for people like myself who haven’t had a bath in years, especially a bath that will change your life, or at least your week,
Step One…Create a soothing environment.
Bath Mat…Place a bath mat or towel on the floor to catch any water that might slosh out while you bathe or drip off your body when you get out. …prevent you fromslipping and falling when you step out of the bath
Bath Towels/Robe…Invest in a fluffy robe and towels.
Bathroom Door…Ambient temperature is important as well. Once you start running the bath, it’s important you keep the bathroom door shut. This lets steam build and warm up the room so the water doesn’t lose heat to the cold air too fast.
Room Temperature…If you have a heater in the bathroom, turn it on to make sure the temperature outside the bath water isn’t jarringly cold. Running the bath with the bathroom door closed can also help create a warm environment.
Step Two…Run the Water
Water Amount…Fill the tub until it is about 2/3 full, then turn off the water.Remember that once you step into the tub, the water level will rise. If you fill it to the very top, water is going to spill over the sides and create a spillage, and water could go everywhere.
Water Temperature...A good bath is all about the temperature of the water.Bathwater that’s too cool will cut your relaxation time short, and bathwater that’s too hot will just make you sweat. Generally, you want your bathwater to be somewhere between 90° F and 105°F by the time you get in.
While you may find a scalding bath relaxing, too-hot water actually agitates your nervous system and can cause a drop in your blood pressure. Your heart will start pumping harder, and you may feel dizzy or sick. Too hot bath water can actually make it more difficult for you to relax and fall asleep.
Start your bath hotter than you might think. Basically, it’s better to err on the side of your bath being too hot than too cold. If it’s too cold, you have to add a ton of hot water to heat the whole tub up, but if it’s too hot, you can just drizzle cold water into the hot water.
Try heating an extra pot of water on the stovetop and pouring it into the bath.
Use a thermometer to ensure that you don’t run your bath too hot.
Or test the water with your wrist-not your hand. This will give you a more accurate sense of how the water will feel on the rest of your body.
Step Three…Add whatever…(well, almost)…
Bath Salts...Combine two parts Epsom salt, two parts kosher salt, one part baking soda, and a few drops of your favorite essential oils…such as tendrops of eucalyptus and ten drops of peppermint to help clear sinuses…or ten drops of lavender and ten drops of bergamot to help aid relaxation. When it comes to bath salts, the more, the better! Grab a handful or two, and hold them under the running water as you draw your bath.
Champagne or Red Wine…Add a glass or two of red wine or champagne into your running bath.
Epsom Salts...Soaking in epsom salts relaxes you, soothes aching muscles, regulates blood pressure, regenerates and heals skin cells, reduces swelling, helps heal bruises, and detoxifies your system. Add 1-1/2 to 2 cups epsom salt to your running bathwater.
Herbal Bath…The easiest way to take a herbal bath is to brew a cup or two of a very strong tea using herbs and essential oils. Strain the tea. Add to running bathwater. Tie remaining brewed herbs in a washcloth, using a hair tie. Throw this in the tub also.
Chamomile is extremely relaxing and calming. Green tea is an energizing and mood-stabilizing antioxidant. Peppermint tea is energizing and clarifying. Rosemary tea is a relaxing astringent and clarifier that is great for keeping you alert. Sage tea is an uplifting and calming astringent that is great for people with oily skin or back acne.
Milk and Honey…Pour 1-2 cups of 100% milk and 1/2C honey under running, warm water.
Oatmeal…Oatmeal is great for sunburned skin, rashes, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, acneic skin, oily skin, and aging skin…because it is softening and soothing. Fill a knee-high nylon or thin sock without holes with 1/2 to 1 c. of oatmeal. Tie tightly at the top. Place in your bath water as you soak. Squeeze it softly every so often to release the oatmeal “water,” and scrub your entire body lightly with the sock before leaving the tub.
Scented Oil...Add some scented oil when your bath is halfway full. Lavender or rose oil are great choices because of the relaxing effect. Use at least an entire cup of oil per bath to reap the moisturizing benefits.
Step Four…Soak until your fingers wrinkle…
Close the darn door…After you step into your bath, either partially or completely close the shower curtain or door to seal in heat so that the water takes longer to cool and to keep in all that fabulous, fragrant steam.
Hair…Try an oil hair treatment or deep condition your hair. Tea tree oil can help treat dandruff and moisturize dry hair. Moroccan oil assures you of silky, but not oily, tresses.
Mask…Apply a hydrating mask if your skin is dry or you’re worried about it drying out in the bath…a clay mask for super smooth skin, or if you have large pores or oily skin.
Sip…As you soak in the warm water, your body will start to try cooling you down by sweating. This can make you quickly dehydrated. Be sure to replace those fluids by drinking plenty of water and applying a cold washcloth to your forehead to keep you from overheating. Skip the diuretics-soda, coffee, alcohol, or caffeinated tea-as these will further dehydrate your body. Instead drink lemon or cucumber water.
Take your sweet time…After ten minutes of soaking, you may be tempted to hop out of your tub and go back to other activities. Instead, lie back and stay there for another ten minutes. Set aside at least thirty minutes.
Step Five…Now what?!
Moisturize…Wet skin acts like a sponge, so using moisturizer immediately after your bath means your skin will absorb as much as possible.
Dry off…Gently pat your skin with a towel and avoid harsh rubbing, which can irritate your skin and may wipe off your moisturizer.