Bathing is an ancient tradition that I do my best to revive. You don’t need to get a fancy jacuzzi bubbling tub to enjoy the benefits of soaking in aromatic waters and herbs. It’s a time for quiet contemplation, to allow muscles to rest, to allow your breath to come deeper. Quite simply, bathing helps us relax and unwind. It’s simply one of the best ways of relaxing, either before the start of a busy day or to wind down at the end. In addition, bathing can be good for your skin. Here are some ideas to help you start making bathing into part of your wellness and/or beauty regime.
Bath salts can be made with a number of different salts:
- Sea salt is generally soothing and gently de-toxing, however it does need to be rinsed off the body after a bath as it is drying to the skin. If you have over-oily skin a sea-salt bath maybe just what the doctor ordered.
- Epsom salts are renowned for drawing out toxins from the body. They soften the water and leave your skin soft and silky. No need to rinse Epsom salts off!
- Baking soda helps release tension from tired and sore muscles.
Try a combination of one-third of each or experiment with each salt, one at a time.
I suggest at least one half cup to two cups of salt in your bath each time.
Essential oils may be added to your salt to make an aromatic bath treat. For beginners I suggest no more than 10 drops per 2 cups of your salt bath-base.
The addition of herbs can make the experience even more pleasant. However, if using a lot of herbs you will need to put the herbs into a special little bag or you can tie-up in a J-Cloth (not very elegant, but very practical and inexpensive.) If you don’t wrap the herbs in some manner, you’ll end up soaking in herb tea! And, you really don’t want to gum-up the plumbing!
Don’t be scared you might be using the wrong stuff! Go with your nose, or your intuition.
Some essential oils and herbs will be soothing to your skin and relaxing. These include:
- Roses, flowers and hips
- Rose Geranium
- Marshmallow, leaves and roots
- Lemon Balm
Some essential oils and herbs will help relieve the ache of sore muscles and be stimulating. These include:
- Lemon verbena
For extra special dry skin relief, try missing soothing herbs with some oats or oatstraw and put into a muslin bag or J-cloth into the bath. The water feels silky smooth, and so does your skin. This also helps relieve sun-burn, wind-burn and skin rashes, including the discomfort of allergic reactions.
I don’t have the time? I have a large glass jar with a large spoon inside on the bathroom shelf. I buy Epsom salts in bulk from a bulk-food store and fill the jar. Then I add my essential oils and whenever I’m ready for a bath I just stir up the salts and add to the water. No excuse not to self-care.
These also make fabulous gifts for friends and family alike. Pick up some glass jars from the dollar store, fill with your salt/essential oil/herb mixture and they are ready to give. If you like, tie a bow around the bottle with the ingredients and instructions how to use. One of our early exercises in the classroom in the Traditional Holistic Aromatherapy Training Program at SCT is to make a special bath salt blend for ourselves. Then our homework is to use it and report back next class. (This homework assignment has become very popular!) Students always start cautiously, but end up with something they love. Some of them have shared recipes, which you can find on the SCT website. They all move on to making them as gifts, because they appreciate how great it feels to have an aromatic bath. The gifts are always appreciated, and some students have gone on to incorporate product making in their Aromatherapy practice.
This Winter, whatever the climate is like around you, take some time to tuck-in and enjoy the benefits of bathing.
For custom-made bath blends, contact Emma and she will make you something yummy. If you have any questions, please direct them to Emma at Ask the Aromatherapist. And, if the time is right to get started on learning more about Aromatherapy, contact me for private consultation or to begin class. Until next month,