3 steps to more spa-like bathing at home
If you were to spend a restful weekend away in a luxurious hotel, we’re willing to bet it would include a long, scented soak. But, why wait until then? While you might not be able to fit in time in the tub every day, there are so many reasons to make bathing a regular occurrence.
Taking a bath is a lovely way to ward off the chill, not to mention de-stress, winddown to sleep, or treat your skin. There may also be good news for those of us not prepared to submit to ice baths for our sport: one Swedish study found that muscle recovery is speeded up by heating after exercise (and actually slowed by cooling).
Fluffy towel at the ready? Here’s how to transform your bath into quality time for your body and mind.
Set the scene
There are few simpler means of relaxation than taking a bath: just step in, lean back for around 20 minutes, and let the warmth and quiet do its thing. However, for a more spa-like experience, this is your opportunity to get out a candle and dim the lights.
Soy wax candles are clean-burning and slow-burning. It’s a chance to practice some straightforward meditation or mindfulness, too: try bringing your attention to the moment, noticing the sights, sounds, scents and feel of things as you soak.
With bath oil, foam, milk, and more to choose from, there’s a style of scenting your bath whatever your bubble preference. For those who like to get creative, transforming your dip into a personalised aromatherapy session is easy with a few drops of essential oil, and you can experiment with creating your own scent combinations.
Particular oils are used to suit different moods. For example, a study found that inhaling lavender oil seemed to have a relaxing effect, decreasing blood pressure and heart rate. Meanwhile, jasmine oil appears to be stimulating – researchers found that people’s breathing rate increased and they felt more alert after using it. Rose or chamomile are sometimes used to calm, and grapefruit or lemongrass to refresh.
Quick tip: If you like the scent of dried rose petals or lavender, but don’t enjoy fishing them out of the plug hole – put some in a small muslin pouch and add it to the bath water to make your own tub ‘teabag’.
For a skin treat
Bath time is a perfect window to give your skin some TLC. A German study looking at Dead Sea salts found that they moisturised the skin, which the researchers suggested was down to the high magnesium content of the salts.
Bath and body oils can leave skin feeling soft and smooth after your dip. Vitamin E oil is moisturising and rich in antioxidants. Rather than towelling off any residual oil when you step out of the tub, massage it into your skin to complete the spa-like experience. Cosy dressing gown encouraged!
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.