Probably one of the best health decisions you can make…
Nothing is more comforting than slipping into a luxurious hot bath and feel the tension of the day melt away - right? The mental health benefits of a relaxing hot bath are appreciated by tired and exhausted women everywhere. They can even make you feel happier…
But the perks of bathing extend way beyond just calming the mind. There are some real physical benefits too. In fact, science shows that warm baths can benefit everything from sore muscles and colds to blood pressure, hormones and the immune system.
But did you know that tossing some essential oils into the tub can take these benefits to the next level and improve your health even further? Essential oils are Mother Nature’s wonderful little helpers that can pretty much double-up on the powerful pros of a hot bath. Here’s how…
THE MANY HEALTH BENEFITS OF A HOT BATH WITH ESSENTIAL OILS
While bathing is a great way to indulge in a little self-care solitude, it can do so much more.
A relaxing soak in the tub is well known to reduce stress, but can also help you sleep better, ease painful muscles and joints, banish colds and flu and improve heart health. A hot bath can even help control your weight and send out a surge of the happiness hormone – always a good thing.
In fact, one study found that bathing is more beneficial to your physical and mental health than a shower. Experts suggest that the optimal bath lasts no longer than 20 minutes at a temperature of about 89F to 95F.
Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years as a potent cure-all for many ailments and ills. All the healthy goodness of the plant is extracted from the leaves, flowers, bark and fruit, and bottled up as a highly concentrated essential oil. It takes many pounds of plant to make just one small bottle.
Every oil has its own unique aroma and health benefits, which is why oils are often combined so you get the best of many benefits. With more than 90 different essential oils, you’re practically assured of finding one or a blend to fix almost anything. And so, if you’re soaking in the tub to ease away pain, there’s a whole bunch of essential oils that will help with that too. And with sleep, and stress, and blood pressure – you get the picture…
For that reason, adding essential oils to your tub can actually help boost all these remarkable benefits you can get from a hot bath…
1. Ease Stress and Quieten the Mind
In the fast-paced world we live in, feelings of stress and anxiety have become so commonplace that they seem to be the new normal. While we all know that’s not good for our mental health, it can be tough to chill out and unwind when your mind is racing at a hundred miles an hour.
Bathing helps to slow down time and shrug off the worries of your day. A study found that immersing yourself in a quiet, comforting cocoon of warm water not only eases stress but allows both your mind and body to relax and refresh.
Stress relieving essential oils for your bath: Add in a soothing mix of essential oils like lavender, rose, ylang-ylang, or bergamot to slow down the mind and bring on the calm.
2. Help You Sleep Better
Arguably the most important factor in guaranteeing a long and healthy life, a night of good quality sleep is nevertheless elusive to many of us. Beyond just helping your body and mind to unwind, it turns out that a warm bath also better prepares your body for sleep.
Soaking in warm water raises your body temperature. As cooler air hits your skin when you step out of your bath, your brain releases melatonin, known as the sleeping hormone. A cooler body temperature coupled with higher levels of melatonin help you sleep better. A study amongst insomniacs found a significant improvement in sleep continuity and a healthy increase in short wave sleep, with subjects reporting significantly “deeper” and more restful sleep after a hot bath.
Better sleep essential oils for your bath: Well-known as the Queen of Sleep, lavender essential oil can instantly improve the quality of your slumber. Toss a handful of lavender bath salts into your bath or mix and match a blend with other relaxing and sleep-inducing oils like chamomile, frankincense and vetiver.
Bedtime Routine Tips and Lavender to Help You Sleep Better Than You Thought Possible – Read More
3. Soothe Sore Muscles and Joints
Over-worked muscles, minor aches and pains, and even creaky, stiff joints can be relieved with a nice hot bath. Heat gets your blood moving that helps sore, tight muscles to relax. It also helps lessen the stiffness of arthritis and back pain.
Studies also indicate that hot-water baths may be a great alternative for those who are sedentary or unable to exercise. While this is not an excuse to skip the gym if you’re healthy, hot baths could be helpful as a gentle top-up workout session too.
Pain relieving essential oils for your bath: Try a mix of 3 or 4 anti-inflammatory and pain-soothing essential oils like chamomile, eucalyptus, sweet marjoram, basil, clary sage, ginger or rosemary. A handful of pure eucalyptus bath salts will also provide some quick pain relief.
In Pain? Here's How to Heal (Almost Anything) Using Cold and Heat Therapy – Read More
4. Lower Blood Pressure and Improve Heart Health
Dipping your body into hot water is a little like an exercise for your blood vessels and heart. A study has shown that passive heat therapy - such as soaking in a tub for 20 -30 minutes or so - can help lower your blood pressure and improve the blood flow to and from your heart – just like a mini workout.
Reducing your blood pressure helps reduce the likelihood of more serious heart conditions like a heart attack or stroke. And increased blood flow can even help relieve the pressure and pain of a headache.
Blood pressure control essential oils for your bath: If you suffer from high blood pressure, try a mix of clary sage, lavender, marjoram, Melissa or ylang-ylang essential oils in your bath. Alternatively, boost your blood circulation with a blend of rosemary, cypress, eucalyptus, ginger, neroli, lemon or geranium essential oils.
5. Combat Colds, Flu and Make Breathing Easier
Ever wondered why winter always brings more colds and flu? It’s because chillier weather has been found to suppress the immune response. In fact, studies have found that a higher body temperature helps certain immune cells work better - the main reason why you get a fever when you’ve got the flu.
So, increasing your body temperature with a hot bath can actually boost your body's ability to fight off cold and flu viruses. And if you're already sniffling from a stuffy nose or congested chest and throat, a steady flow of warm steam can open up clogged passageways and help you breathe easier.
Cold and flu relief essential oils for your bath: To relieve the stuffiness of colds, use a blend of cajuput, cloves, eucalyptus, niaouli or pine. And if you feel you’re coming down with the flu, toss a mix of tea tree, lavender and lemon oils into your bath.
This All-Natural Remedy Is the Only Thing You Need to Treat Colds and Flu – Read More
6. Improve Dry and Irritated Skin
While baths that are too hot can make your skin more irritated, a lukewarm bath can be truly beneficial for your skin as long as you add some basic skin loving essential oils and apply moisturizing lotion immediately after you get out of the tub.
Just the water alone can penetrate and rehydrate the top layers of your skin but at the same time can also strip it of natural oils if you soak for too long. Adding in certain essential oils will help improve the skins’ surface moisture levels and hydrate and soothe dry skin.
If you have very sensitive skin, it’s best to follow the simple ‘soak and seal’ method recommended by the National Eczema Association to ensure you properly protect the skin barrier.
Better skin essential oils for your bath: A blend of a few skin enhancing lavender, chamomile, rose, frankincense or sandalwood oils (best combined with jojoba or pomegranate carrier oils) will add hefty dose of moisturizing goodness into your skin. Finish off with a generous dollop of lavender body lotion to seal in all the goodness.
Why Lavender Can Truly Make A Huge Difference to Your Skin, Hair - And Body – Read More
7. Lift Your Mood and Make You Feel Happier
Ever heard of the ‘happy hormone’? It turns out bathing in warm water can increase the levels of serotonin, the chemical produced by the brain that makes you feel happier - giving you a fabulous sense of well-being and a welcome mood boost. We could all do with a little more of that...
Switching to a cold bath can also balance out other stress-related hormones such as beta-endorphin and cortisol and so help relieve conditions like depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Mood-boosting essential oils for your bath: Opt for a blend of bergamot, rosemary, lavender, ylang ylang or rose oils that are all mentally uplifting and help increase serotonin levels.
11 Mood Boosting Essential Oils: ‘Cos You Don’t Want to Feel Down Any Longer – Read More
8. Burn Calories and Encourage Weight Loss
No, regrettably bathing won’t replace good eating habits or your workout. But a small study has shown that the rise in body temperature in an hour-long hot bath burned up to 140 calories, roughly the same number you would burn off during a half-hour walk. But every little bit counts…
Another study showed that regular soaks in the hot tub helped control blood sugar and weight levels amongst diabetes patients. The more regularly they bathed, the more weight they lost - plus they clocked up improvements to their BMI, waist circumference and well as blood pressure.
Weight control essential oils for your bath: Choose 3 or 4 of weight loss supporting oils like bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, petitgrain, lemongrass, coriander or fennel to help boost metabolism and help reduce belly fat.
Can’t Lose Weight? Some Unusual Reasons Why - And How Essential Oils Can Help – Read More
HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS IN YOUR BATH
You turn on the taps, sprinkle in a few drops of essential oils, then lie back and relax, right? Not quite…
Firstly - oil and water don’t mix. It takes about 3 pounds of lavender flowers to make just 15ml of oil so they are also highly concentrated. So just tossing essential oils into your bath water not only means they don’t disperse correctly, but you also land up delivering a pure undiluted - and potentially irritating - blow to your skin.
Always Dilute Essential Oils With A Carrier Oil First
Essential oils should always be properly diluted in a carrier oil before adding them to your tub. Blend between 5 and 20 drops with one tablespoon of carrier oil. Grapeseed, jojoba, sweet almond or argan oils are all good choices, and also help by improving the overall condition of your skin.
Add Essential Oils After You’ve Run Your Bath
Because a large part of the power of essential oils is in their aroma, wait until the last minute to stir them into your bath water so that the scent doesn’t evaporate before you even have a chance to hop into the tub. You want to get the most out of your aromatherapy bath.
Create a Relaxing Spa-Like Atmosphere
A bath-time ritual also doesn’t have to stop at just using essential oils. Creating a spa-like ambience in your bathroom can be the ultimate self-care experience. And it doesn’t take much. Light a few candles, grab a luxury spa mask to soothe your eyes and a neck pillow to support your head, and prepare to be transported in blissful heaven.
Seal-In the Benefits with After-Bath Skin Care
Don’t forget to lock all the goodness into your skin with a generous amount of body lotion as soon as you hop out of the tub and have lightly toweled off. Body lotions and creams have rich ingredients that seal in all the moisture and those wonderful essential oil benefits into your skin.
A hot bath has always been a welcome self-care ritual to relax and chill out after a long day. But science has proven its health benefits extend way beyond that. Adding in the healing power of essential oils just takes those benefits one step further…