(Next time you take a bath, don’t just run the water and lie there. Bathing is a golden opportunity for a multitude of relaxing and enjoyable spa treatments.)
Herbs, salts, and essential oils can all be added to your bath to achieve beneficial effects for both the mind and body. Bathing with special oils and herbs can help to detoxify, moisturize, and condition your skin as well as induce deep relaxation. The bath water should be pleasantly warm, but take care not to run the water too hot or you may feel sluggish and even become dizzy. In the summer, take a cooling bath. Once you overcome the initial shock, bathing in cool water is extremely refreshing. Add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to make it an even more skin-tingling experience. In the winter, thyme essential oil can be added to help boost your immune system as protection against colds and flu. We attempted to provide you some solid herbal bath recipes in our article.
From time to time, most people experience days when they feel lethargic and suffer from headaches, dull skin, or a bloated stomach. These are all signs of toxin build-up in the body, usually as a result of over-indulgence in fatty or acidic foods, not eating enough fruit and vegetables, breathing polluted air, not taking enough exercise, and drinking too much alcohol or smoking cigarettes. Even stress can produce an increase in the production of certain chemicals in the body, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which make us feel irritable and unwell when they are released into the bloodstream.
A weekly detoxifying bath is the fastest, most pleasant way to cleanse your system. You can vary the ingredients you add to the bath water, depending on your individual symptoms.
Detoxifying herbal bath recipe
Adding herbs to your bath has a two fold effect: their active ingredients are absorbed by the skin and carried to the bloodstream, and you also inhale their calming vapors. The main ingredient of this detoxifying bath is lavender, which promotes perspiration and so helps to rid the body of toxins. Juniper is used to stimulate the elimination of waste products.
- 10 heads of fresh lavender
- 2 tsp (10 ml) juniper berries
- 1 tsp (5 ml) comfrey leaf
- 1 tsp (5 ml) celery seeds
Steep the herbs in hot water for 15-20 minutes. Strain the liquid and put it to one side. Place the strained herbs on a square of cheesecloth or muslin, then tie it with a piece of string to form a pouch.
Add the herbal liquid to your bath water and hang the herbal sachet immediately beneath the faucet, so that it hangs in the flow of running water. Get into the bath and enjoy.
(Lie back and wallow in a luxurious bath scented with lavender and juniper essential oils to detoxify your system and promote a deep sense of well-being.)
Orange bath salts recipe
All home-made bath salt recipes use Epsom salts as their base, which are excellent for the skin. The salts are both detoxifying and moisturizing, by drawing out impurities but also locking in moisture. Orange essential oil has strong detoxifying properties.
- 4 tbsp (60 ml) Epsom salts
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) orris root
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) dried orange peel
- 1 drop orange essential oil
- 3 drops geranium essential oil
(Vary the orange bath salts recipe by using different essential oils. Use lavender oil for a relaxing bath; sandalwood oil to create an exotic fragrance; and rose and calendula oils to soften the skin.)
Mix all of the ingredients together, making sure that the oils are well- absorbed into the salts.
Add a small handful of the mixture to your bath water, then relax and enjoy.
Hard-water deposits and some commercially produced soaps can have a drying effect on the skin. As well as treating dry skin by applying a rich moisturizer after bathing, you can also add natural moisturizers to your bath water, including milk, herbs, and natural oils.
Cleopatra’s milk bath recipe
Milk is rich in calcium, vitamins, and minerals and has been added to bath water to soften and revitalize the skin since Cleopatra’s day. Bathing in milk leaves the skin feeling beautifully conditioned. The only drawback is the smell, but you can mask this by adding fragrant essential oils. The honey in this recipe seals in moisture and protects the skin. Store the milk bath in a glass bottle and leave in a cool, dry place.
(When using recipes made from fresh ingredients without preservatives, such as Cleopatra’s milk bath, store them in sealed glass bottles in a cool, dry place.)
- 5 fl oz (150 ml) milk
- 3 tbsp (45 ml) powdered coconut milk
- 1 tsp (5 ml) clear honey
- 3 drops jasmine essential oil
- 3 drops ylang ylang essential oil
- 2 drops lavender essential oil
Put the milk, powdered coconut milk, and honey into a saucepan and heat gently. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove the liquid from the heat and add the essential oils.
Fill the bathtub with water, then add the milk bath liquid.
( A taste of honey: Honey has long been used to delay or counteract the effects of aging on the skin. Renowned for its ability to heal burns, honey’s soothing, moisturizing qualities were utilized in day-to-day skincare products for the face, hands, and body by rich and powerful women throughout history, from the time of Cleopatra.)
Conditioning herbal bath
Elder-flower, linden blossom, and chamomile have a very soothing effect on the skin. Place the three herbs in a glass bowl, pour on hot water, and allow it to brew. Strain the liquid and add it to your bath water. Alternatively, wrap a handful of the herbs in a square of muslin or cheesecloth and tie it with string to form a pouch. Hang the herbal sachet from the faucet under the flow of water.
Brown rice and regular bran make excellent skin smoothers. Take a rectangle of cheesecloth, about 12 x 10 in (30 x 25 cm), fold it in half, and sew along two sides to make a small pouch. Fill it with bran or rice, then sew the final edges together. Rub the pouch all over the skin while you are in the bathtub as a moisturizing exfoliant.
MOISTURIZING BATH OILS
For a fast way to restore natural oils to parched, dry skin, try adding a few drops of plant or vegetable oil directly to your bath water. Do not add more than 2 tsp (10 ml) or your skin will become too greasy. Vary the type of oil depending on your skin type.
For dry skin
Avocado, wheatgerm, castor, sesame
For normal skin
Almond, apricot, jojoba, vitamin E-rich oil
For greasy skin
Safflower, camellia, calendula
(Always use oils that are appropriate to your skin type.)
AROMATHERAPY BATH RECIPES
Adding aromatherapy oils to your bathing water that you prepared for your enjoyment with the herbal bath recipes is a delicious way to enjoy their therapeutic effects – enveloping your body in warm water while you inhale the heady scents of your favorite oils is a deeply pleasurable experience. The hot water doubles the effectiveness of the oils: they are absorbed directly from the water into the bloodstream through the skin and at the same time the vaporized scent is inhaled. Take care that the water is not too hot, or the oils will evaporate entirely and none will remain in the water to penetrate the skin.
Most essential oils can irritate the skin and mucus membranes, so always dilute them in a carrier oil (such as sweet almond oil) or milk before adding them to your bath water. Mix 4-5 drops of the essential oil with 2 tbsp (30 ml) milk or 2 tsp (10 ml) almond oil, then pour the mixture into the bath water, swirling it around to disperse it. Camomile and lavender oils are the exception, because they are both non-irritating. Use just 4-6 drops of the essential oil and swirl it around in the water before getting into the bathtub. Essential oils can also be mixed with Dead Sea salts or sea salt before adding them to your bath water.
(Make a little extra essential oil mixture when having an aromatherapy bath and massage it into tense areas of your body.)
THERAPEUTIC BATH OILS
Combine any of the oils in the following categories to achieve the desired effect. Do not exceed the total number of drops recommended in the main text above.
Grapefruit, juniper, lemon, cypress, tea tree.
Bergamot, geranium, melissa, frankincense, palmarosa, clary sage, jasmine, mandarin
Clary sage, geranium, jasmine, mandarin, lavender, ylang ylang, marjoram, neroli, rose
Bergamot, cypress, juniper, lime, pine, coriander, grapefruit, lemon, peppermint, rosemary
BATHS TO HELP YOU SLEEP
If you have trouble sleeping, having a warm bath before going to bed can help you drift off into a calm, deep sleep. You can make the bath even more effective by adding one of the natural soporific ingredients listed here. They will help you to get a restful night’s sleep so that you wake up feeling refreshed the next morning.
Caution ! Never allow yourself to fall asleep in the bathtub. Get out of the bath the moment you feel you are getting sleepy or your eyelids are becoming heavy.
(Tips for Sleeping: As well as having a bath infused with sedative herbs and oils, turn your bedroom into a relaxing sanctuary for a good night’s sleep.
- Invest in a thick pair of drapes to keep the bedroom dark.
- Don’t have the room too hot or too cold – 65-70 F (18-21 ‘C) is just right.
- Don’t eat just before you go to bed; avoid eating after 6 pm.
- Drink a cup of herbal tea or warm milk before you go to sleep.
- If you are disturbed by noise, invest in a pair of earplugs. )
CHAMOMILE AND LAVENDER
Chamomile essential oil has calming properties and is an effective sedative. Lavender is soothing and calming, and is known for its balancing effect on the nervous system. It can be used to relieve headaches and help prevent insomnia. Dilute 7-8 drops lavender or chamomile essential oil in 3 tbsp (45 ml) sweet almond carrier oil and add three-quarters to your bath water. Rub the remaining oil into the soles of your feet, just before getting into bed, to enhance the effect.
This bitter, medicinal herb is part of the mint family. It will not make your bath pleasantly scented, but it is remarkably effective for insomnia. It acts on the nervous system to promote a sense of deep relaxation.
Hop flowers have a tranquilizing effect. Steep a handful of the flowers in hot water, strain, then add the cooling liquid straight to the bath water. Alternatively, tie a handful of the dried flowers in a square of muslin with string and hang it under the faucet as the water is running.
This is another natural ingredient known for its sleep-inducing properties. Use it sparingly, because it is a powerful tranquilizer. Make an infusion by adding fresh valerian to hot water and allowing it to brew for a few minutes. Strain and cool the liquid, then add the liquid directly to the bath water.
(Use nature’s plentiful bounty to help you get a good night’s sleep. Many herbs and essential oils will help you sleep peacefully without detoxifying your body with chemicals.)
(Showers are refreshing, invigorating, uplifting, and relaxing. They are the perfect way to galvanize your system and wake up your mind, ready for the day ahead.)
Pouring running water over areas of the body is known as an “affusion,” and is an effective way to spring-clean the body and improve its biological functions. Showers can be used in many ways – both hot and cold and at varying intensities – to achieve different effects. Take a hot shower to kick-start your circulation and relieve aching muscles. Use short, sharp bursts of cold water to invigorate your mind and body and to reduce inflammation.
THERAPEUTIC SPA SHOWER AT HOME
Alternating hot and cold showers, also known as blitzguss, helps to stimulate the blood supply to the skin and restore lost tautness and vitality. Such spa showers are even said to help prevent premature aging of the skin and eliminate fatigue. Repeated every day, the blitzguss will strengthen your immune system and help protect against infections.
- Take a warm shower until your skin is warm and glowing.
- Switch the temperature to cold and hold the shower about 3 in (7.5 cm) from the skin’s surface. Quickly move the shower head over your whole body, directing it over your face, down your arms and legs, over your torso, abdomen, and back. The whole process should take no more than 30 seconds.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2, then get out of the shower and pat off the excess water. Do not rub the skin, and dress warmly as soon as you are dry.
Strawberry shower gel recipe
Deliciously scented and energizing, fresh strawberries make this shower gel wonderfully refreshing. The gel is cleansing, astringent, and cooling, and particularly suitable if you have greasy skin and a tendency to spots on your back and chest. The gel can be stored in the refrigerator and kept for about a week. Foaming gels are difficult to make at home, so you will need to buy an unscented bubble bath base, which can be purchased from many beauty stores and pharmacists.
- 3 tbsp (45 ml) thick, unscented bubble bath base
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh strawberries
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh raspberries
- 2 drops tea tree essential oil
Mix all the ingredients together in a blender, making sure the oil is thoroughly dispersed. Refrigerate overnight to set.
Pour a small amount of gel with a little warm water onto a long-handled soft bristle brush and rub gently over your skin. Concentrate on problem areas, such as the chest and back, for about five minutes. When you have finished, lather and rinse under a hot shower.
(After a therapeutic spa shower, your skin will glow with health and you will feel invigorated and refreshed.)
( Fruit sensations: Replace the strawberries and raspberries used in the strawberry shower gel with other fruits from your refrigerator. Use tropical fruits, such as papaya and pineapple, to improve skin texture; peaches and grapes will soothe and cleanse inflamed, blotchy skin.)