I love baths. There’s nothing like soaking in hot water to help relieve stress, soothe sore muscles and declutter a busy mind. Baths are my multi-purpose tool for health and wellness and I prescribe them to myself often.
While resting in the hot water is a great way to give your body some of the TLC it needs, there are ways to make baths even better, naturally. By adding a few natural ingredients to your bath, you can infuse them with myriad beneficial properties, from healing to soothing to improving body function.
These additions are a simple, affordable way to incorporate natural wellness into your life.
Aromatherapy uses aromatic plant compounds, typically in the form of essential oils, to improve health and mood. Essential oils are either inhaled or applied to the skin. Adding them to baths is a great way to do both.
Lavender essential oil is a soothing oil that is great for the skin and nerves alike. It’s especially helpful for insomnia. (Find 100% pure lavender EO here.)
Frankincense essential oil is great for relieving stress, reducing inflammation and promoting overall well-being. (Find 100% pure frankincense EO here.)
Vetiver essential oil is a moisturizing oil that promotes tranquility. (Find 100% pure vetiver EO here.)
Rose essential oil is a calming oil that helps relieve anxiety and tension. (Find 100% rose EO here.)
Lemon essential oil is an uplifting oil. It’s also great for clearing congestion and reducing water retention. (Find 100% pure lemon EO here.)
Method for using oils
Note: Always use 100% pure essential oils (like these). If you’re pregnant, be sure to choose essential oils that are deemed safe for pregnancy and avoid staying in very hot water for prolonged periods of time (choose a bath vs. hot tub because the bath cools over time).
Salt isn’t just for eating. Adding salts to your bath is a great way to give your body the trace minerals it needs to function properly, while also giving your bath therapeutic properties. Some salts, like Epsom salt, have no culinary use, but serve to reduce pain and promote healing by being dissolved in bath water.
Sea salts contain trace minerals, like magnesium, potassium and calcium, that can be absorbed by your skin in a bath. A sea salt bath can help relieve dry, itchy skin, reduce pain and improve sleep.
Add a few tablespoons of sea salt to your bath and stir to dissolve. (Find unrefined sea salt here.)
Using Epsom salt in your bath is a great way to increase magnesium – an essential mineral that is readily absorbed by the skin. Magnesium plays a key role in our body’s well-being and helps with things like:
- relieving stress
- flushing toxins
- improving heart and circulatory health
- improving the body’s ability to use insulin
- bowel regularity
- improving sleep
To use Epsom salt, simply add a cup to your bath and stir to dissolve.
Herbs offer many beneficial properties like healing, soothing and reducing inflammation. I like to make a soothing herbal bath tea that I steep in several cups of hot water before adding to my bath.
Steeping herbs ahead of time helps to extract more of the beneficial properties and keeps you from leaving your bath with a bunch of leaves stuck to your skin.
Here are some of my favorite herbs to use in baths:
Lavender is a calming herb that also soothes the skin. (Find organic dried lavender flowers here.)
Plantain speeds the healing of scrapes and other wounds. It also helps to relieve skin inflammation. (Find organic plantain leaf here.)
Comfrey promotes fast healing and pain relief. Especially helpful for sore muscles, sprains and bones that need mending. (Find organic comfrey leaf here.)
Calendula is an anti-septic and anti-inflammatory herb that soothes the skin and promotes healing. (Find organic calendula flowers here.)
Applied topically, chamomile can help ease the pain of inflammation and soothe irritated skin. (Find organic chamomile flowers here.)
Method for using herbs
To use herbs in baths, put ¼ cup in a muslin drawstring bag and steep in 6 cups of hot water for at least 5 minutes. Allow to cool (so you don’t burn yourself) and add to the bath. (As long as the drawstring is tightly secured, I add the bag of herbs along with the infused water.)
Don’t feel limited to using just one of these suggestions. I often add a few depending on my reasons for needing a bath. To make things easier, you can also mix up some herbal bath salts ahead of time using your favorite herbs, salts and essential oils.
What’s your favorite way to improve your baths?