take baths

“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”

― Sylvia Plath.

I have friends who always take baths and I have friends who never take baths. In my opinion, the latter are really missing out. Baths have been around since 1700 BC and for good reason. Roman bathers were often attended by seven or more healers applying herbs and oils. I take baths rarely but when I do, they really hit the spot. The bathtub is a haven where I often have my best ideas because my mind is uncluttered. Baths are a luxury because they take time, a rare commodity these days. If you take the time, however, baths really deliver. Evening baths help us unwind after a long day and sleep better, they warm us up on a winter morning, they heal sore or aching muscles, and, oh yes, they are cleansing. Your bathroom can become a relaxing, comforting spa.

How to take a bath:

  • Make sure your tub is clean. The best non-toxic cleaning method is to use a mixture of white vinegar and warm water. This will rid the tub of any mildew or dirt. Rinse out.
  • Make sure the drain is able to close all the way. There is nothing worse than finally leaning back in your tub, covered in warm water, and having the water slowly drain away.
  • Make sure the water is no hotter than 100°F. A bath that is too hot gets your nervous system in a twizzle and might cause a drop in blood pressure. You will also look like a beet when you emerge.
  • Fill the tub only 2/3 full or it will overflow when you get in. Have a bath mat or towel on the floor by the tub. This will prevent slipping and falling when you get out.
  • Consider investing in an inflatable bath pillow to rest your neck (for $19.99).
  • As your body heats up in the warm water it will start to cool you down by sweating, and you could become dehydrated. Have a cool drink like lemon water or iced tea nearby.
  • If you are using the bath to relax, create a soothing atmosphere. Light some candles, find a book or magazine to read, and add some bath salts or oils (a full cup per bath) to the bath water. Try to separate from your smartphone while you are in the tub.
  • Keep your bath under 30 minutes. Staying in longer will dry out your skin. If your fingers start to wrinkle it’s time to end the bliss. If you used bath salts, stay in less time as the salts dry out skin quickly. Soapy water also dries out your skin so save the soaping up until the end of your bath.
  • If you feel you are soapy and have bath oil or salts on your skin, take a quick shower to rinse off.
  • Apply moisturizer immediately after getting out of the tub or shower. I never really understood how to apply moisturizer to wet skin. It seemed to get watery and I thought it wouldn’t be absorbed. In fact, wet skin is like a sponge and your skin will absorb all the moisturizer you give it. The more intense the moisturizer the better. Oils and butters are wonderful. Gently pat your skin dry.

The following will add to your bath experience:

  • Cinnamon will invigorate and detox
  • Oatmeal will relieve itching and irritated skin
  • Clary Sage oil relaxes, improves menstrual cramps, supports female hormone balance and boosts brain power
  • Lavender will relieve stress and inflammation
  • Ginger will ease a cold and flu symptoms
  • Honey will smooth and soften skin
  • Lemon will perk you up
  • Chamomile will calm you
  • Epsom salts will relieve pain and inflammation

Now would be the time to break out that pink, soft, cozy, fluffy robe your mother gave you that you never thought you’d use. It will be the perfect thing to wrap yourself in when you get out of the tub.

Some of my favorite bath products:

Soaps: L’Occitane en Provence Shea Butter Extra Gentle Verbena Soap. 3.5 oz. is $8.00 and 8.8 oz. is $14.00.the-art-of-taking-a-bath-loccitane-soapLe Couvent des Minimes Sereine Relaxing Foaming Bath is made in a convent in the mountains of Haute-Provence. This is a rich, relaxing cleansing foam made from lavender and orange. $19.00 for 17 oz.the-art-of-taking-a-bath-le-couvent-des-minimes-eau-sereine-relaxing-foaming-bathElizabeth W Magnolia Body Cream is rich and delicious. $42.00 for 7 oz.the-art-of-taking-a-bath-elizabeth-w-body-creamElizabeth W Magnolia Bath Salts are my favorite. $16.50 for a 16 oz. bag.the-art-of-taking-a-bath-elizabeth-w-magnolia-bath-saltsJust tried Soul Cycle for the first time and need a therapeutic, anti-inflammatory bath? Try the classic Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath. It combines mustard seed powder, eucalyptus, rosemary, wintergreen and thyme. You add warm water in a tub and a quiet half an hour – and you’ll be ready to get back on the bike. $17.31 for 16 ounces.

mustard-bath

Having just made a trip to a bathroom supply company I can assure you that manufacturers are putting a lot of effort and thought into bathtubs. You might enjoy these bathtub ideas from Pinterest.

Note: Giving a basket of bath products makes a wonderful and thoughtful hostess present or a ‘moving to a new home’ present. More on that topic,

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