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By Melanie L. Skelton, MH
Having a natural bath ritual is a fabulous way of taking care of your body and your spirit. Slipping down into the warmth of the water helps overworked muscles melt into a more relaxed state. This is a great time to let your mind relax too. Whether you like to bring a book with you and escape mentally, or just take the time to quietly process what may be going on in your life, the natural bath is great self-care. In fact, it can become somewhat of an art.
The ideas of what a bath should look like have changed throughout history. The Roman baths were a public experience and Cleopatra’s bath required a herd of lactating donkeys to provide the milk to fill her tub. But you can make your bath your own personal refuge.
What to Add to Your Bath
For Cleopatra it was donkey milk, but you have so many choices in what you will add to create your vision of a natural bath. The options are endless. Let’s explore a few.
Herbs & Botanicals
You can sprinkle fresh or dried herbs or flowers right into your bath. Or you can make a tea bag to get the benefit of the herb without having to work so hard to clean up the tub afterward.
Here are some great herbs for the bath:
• Lavender buds – Can help you to settle down and relax after a stressful day.
• Calendula flowers – Soothes troubled skin and helps to hydrate.
• Peppermint – Calming and cooling for tired or sore muscles.
• Lemon Balm – Can ease discomfort from indigestion.
LAVENDER BATH BOMB
Oils & Essential Oils
Adding oils to your bath creates a skin moisturizing experience. Add some essential oils and treat your skin and your senses.
These are a few examples.:
• Jojoba – It’s not truly an oil, but it is similar to our skin’s own sebum, which makes it a delight for our skin and a beautiful way to add some moisture.
• Almond Oil – A light, skin-loving oil that will soak into the skin easily.
• Eucalyptus – If you are trying to clear the sinuses or the lungs, a few drops of eucalyptus will go a long way to promoting better breathing.
• Ylang Ylang – This lovely oil is the perfect way to boost your mood…or get in the mood.
Salts & Other Skin Conditioners
Sometimes you need muscle soothing, other times you need skin conditioning. Some additions to your natural bath may help in both ways. Here are some more ideas:
• Oatmeal – An ageless remedy for itchy skin that is a perfect addition to your bath. Put the oatmeal into a muslin bag before you throw it into the tub to minimize cleanup.
• Baking Soda – Can be soothing to irritated skin. Also a great way to help promote a detox.
• Epsom Salt – The minerals in Epsom salt are believed to help remove toxins from your body and relieve stress. Magnesium absorption is another benefit of Epsom salt and, among other benefits, this magnesium is important for the muscles.
An Easy Answer
The right bath bomb can have a combination of these natural bath ingredients. The key to that is knowing what is in your bath bomb. Most bath bombs have fillers, fragrances and fake colors. If you are going for some therapeutic time in the bath, the last thing you want is ingredients that don’t contribute to the conditioning nature of the ingredients we’ve discussed.
Look for a bath bomb that uses natural clays or herb infusions, which naturally brings color to the bath bomb along with their own advantages. Bath bombs using essential oils are going to bring benefits to the bath that you won’t get from a bath bomb using fragrances.
YOU'RE THE BOMB!
What you put in your bath is part of the art, but your routines can also enhance this precious time. What routines do you bring to your bath?
• How about a candle? This sets a relaxed mood and can signal to the body that it is time to calm down and release all the stress of the day.
• Some people love to bring a book to read. I personally love to listen to an audio book while I bathe. Getting lost in the story while I soak is a great escape from the problems of the day.
• How about some spa music. Music is the perfect way to set the tone for many parts of our day, including our precious bath time. Something soft and relaxing, whether it is instrumental or new age, will set the stage for relaxation.
After all the planning and implementing the art of your natural bath, it is time to soak the stress away. Slide down into that tub and take care of those tired muscles and dry skin from head to toe. Soak your cares away and do it often.