I have a confession to make…I’m crazy about taking a hot bath. Even though it makes me feel guilty, I’ll frequently indulge myself with a soak. Why the guilt? Well, as a mom of three and an entrepreneur, other tasks are always calling me. Laundry to do, supper to start, a dog to walk—not to mention the attention that my business demands. Often times a quick shower keeps me on-task for the day. But other times, I’ll fill the tub and linger for as long as the water has a trace of warmth.
I’ve found that a soak in the tub can make all sorts of things better, both physically and emotionally. A bath right before bed promotes good sleep, and I’ll take the occasional dip for just that purpose. However, it’s more typical of me to indulge myself in the middle of the day, and I’ve been known to take midday baths a couple times a week. How often depends on why I need one. For me, a bath often does the trick when I need to:
- Calm my mind enough to sort through whatever might be hung up there, get my creative juices flowing, or resolve some situation that’s been bugging me.
- Soothe my muscles and joints after a new workout, or if they’re sore for some other inexplicable reason.
- Take the chill off on those days when I just can’t get warm—no matter how many layers I put on.
- Ease the symptoms of a cold or some other illness by clearing my nasal passages or breaking a good sweat.
Maybe there’s no scientific research to back me up (yet), but you can’t tell me that my overall health doesn’t benefit from all of the things a bath can do for me. So when my boys tell me they want to take a warm bath too, which isn’t very often anymore, I don’t even question it. I start the water, and they grab their action figures to battle the forces of evil lurking on the edge of the tub.
I prefer to simply soak in silence, but plain old water doesn’t usually cut it for me. Depending on why I’m taking a bath, I’ll add some of the following:
- Epsom salts. This is actually a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. The benefits of dissolving a cup or more in your bath range from the absorption of minerals through your skin (preventing deficiencies) to the easing of chronic pain. Check out Mountain Rose Herbs for Epsom salts that don’t contain synthetic ingredients from petrochemicals.
- Apple cider vinegar. This the ultimate multitasking ingredient you should keep around your house. There aren’t many things it can’t be used for, and in a bath it will make your skin feel super soft. Unpasteurized and organic brands are best.
- Organic essential oils. I use these all the time, and bath time is no exception. If I need to relax, I’ll add lavender or chamomile. If I want to spark some creative thoughts, I’ll add lemon or bergamot. Or I’ll simply take the caps off of a few bottles and add a couple drops of whatever oils appeal to me at the moment.
One of my favorite things to give fellow bath lovers is homemade bath salts. I pour them into a nifty glass container and tie a note card with the recipe around the top, and it’s always well received. You can find oodles of recipes online, but this one from Food Renegade is similar to mine. You can vary the oils based on the person you’re making the salts for.
In all honesty, I don’t feel guilty when I soak in the bathtub anymore. I know when a bath is exactly what I need, and it never disappoints. Do you have an indulgence with health benefits?
Photo from iStock/YanC