The Healing Power of the Bath
By: Sarah Grace Powers – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
The bubble bath is long revered as the ultimate self-care ritual. And for good reason. Hot water pulls the stress right out of a body made rigid by a day of decisions, petty arguments, computers, traffic – all the tiny frustrations that plague modern life.
The steaming water alone is enough to shift the energy inside your body and mind, but something about those bubbles – it turns a simple cleansing activity into something so much more luxurious and special.
Now, true self-care definitely involves a lot more than the occasional—or even frequent—bubble bath. But, if you are lucky enough to have a good bathtub, it’s worth your while to spend some time there.
Baths have many more therapeutic benefits than simply helping you to relax. Stepping into a bath affords an opportunity for some much-needed alone time, it can be almost like a meditation and is certainly a gift to yourself.
Not only will a precious 15 minutes immersed in hot water take you away from the responsibilities and cares of the day, allowing you some uninterrupted time to just be with your sweet little self – a warm bath can wind you down, and open you up enough that you might possibly locate your libido when it’s time to crawl into bed with your husband or partner.
No promises there though! It’s just a possible fringe benefit for some women. Other allies may be needed for lost libido a midlife and beyond—including herbs, dietary adjustments and/or counseling.
In the months and years following my divorce, I rediscovered this simple ritual as an ally for processing my feelings. It was a no-cost gift I could give myself and a way to give myself some love and forgiveness.
Hot water can also relieve minor cramping and pain – especially wonderful for your moon time, or if you’re getting close to the end of that, it can help the perimenopausal symptom of period-like cramps that last for weeks on end.
Add some candlelight, a cup of tea or glass of wine, and perhaps some soothing music and a little bit of heaven has arrived in your bathroom.
What About Those Bubbles?
I remember my mother pouring in the perfumey white powder out of the big pink Mr. Bubble box each night before I climbed into a bath with my sisters. We’d spend near on an hour playing with those bubbles, making up games. (That break time from the kids was probably more therapeutic for my mom than taking her own bubble bath!)
But nowadays who wants to use Mr. Bubble to froth up that relaxing bath? (Do they even make Mr. Bubble anymore? I’m probably dating myself…) That was like putting laundry detergent into the tub.
The point of your bubble bath is to deeply nourish and relax not just your body, but your mind and soul too.
That means using a bubble bath that leaves your skin feeling silky and moisturized, one that utilizes the powers of aromatherapy to induce the relaxation, stress relief, or whatever therapeutic results you are going for when you turn on that hot water.
That’s why you want to choose natural, moisturizing ingredients and to avoid perfumes and stick with pure essential oils.
One unfortunate problem is the stuff that makes those frothy, smile-inducing bubbles.
The sad reality is that many bubble baths use harsh soap ingredients and other nasty chemicals that drain away our precious skin moisture.
And since all bubble baths are not created equal, you’ll want to take care when purchasing, or even make your own.
You can also ditch the bubbles completely and still savor the bath experience, using bath salts, oils, herbs in a muslin bag, or adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
To me, one of the simplest and quickest paths to a bath-induced attitude adjustment is through aromatherapy.
Essential oils (which are a completely different animal than perfumes or fragrance oils) can uplift the spirit, soothe a worn out brain, penetrate sore and achy muscles, invite sensuality and love – and so much more.
A Bath Is A Date With Yourself
Many women have spent a lifetime (at least the adult part of it) taking care of others. We give to our spouses, to our kids, our bosses, our co-workers. We volunteer, we take care of pets, we look after just about everyone but ourselves.
Few of us can even remember how to go about a practice of self-nurturing.
Well, a regular bathing date is a good way to start!
Although some of the more luxurious natural bubble bath products out there can put a dent in your wallet, you can still find some high-quality solutions that won’t dip into next week’s lunch budget.
And when you think about it .an ounce or two of bubble bath is still a heck of a lot cheaper than a couple of cocktails. And you get to wake up feeling refreshed and cared for, instead of dehydrated and tired.
Really, a bath is a cheap date!
Give These Bubble Baths A Try
I’ve often gone the route of whipping up my own bubble bath concoctions (check out the recipes below to see how easy this is), but sometimes I like to treat myself to something ready-made.
Whether you’re purchasing bubbles, bath salts or oil, always check the labels and choose a product that contains real essential oils and no fragrance. (It turns out that ‘fragrance’ is just a code name for any sort of toxic chemical a company wants to add in.)
Not only will these be gentler on your skin, but you will derive actual therapeutic effects, rather than merely immersing yourself in a sweet-smelling tub of water. Fruity scents (with the exception of citrus), and some of the tropical scents like coconut are almost always derived from synthetics. Beware!
Become a label reading fanatic and ask if you don’t recognize an ingredient. This one thing can turn your bathing experience from just a lovely way to spend a half hour into a remarkably therapeutic experience – making a profound difference to your health and well being.
Since it’s often a bit of a challenge to find a bubble bath that isn’t crammed with chemicals and perfumes, I’ve often chosen baby bath products in the past. (And why not? Remember this is a ritual to baby your SELF!)
Of course, keep in mind that no commercial product will be quite as pure and clean as the ones you make yourself. That said, below are a few good options. All of these can be purchased online, or at any well-stocked natural foods store.
California Baby Bubble Bath – This was a best-seller at my herb shop back in the day. And the most popular scent was called “Overtired & Cranky” (with essential oils of tangerine, sweet orange, and chamomile). We all know that it’s not just babies and toddlers who get this way!
Several other scent combos are available, including “Calming” and “I Love You.” No sodium lauryl sulfate!
EO Bubble Baths – This is another high-quality company, and you may have come across their attractive blue bottles of hand soap, shampoos, and other aromatherapy body care products. Vegetable glycerine, herbal extracts, and coconut pamper your skin. Always made with pure essential oils.
Aura Cacia Bubble Baths – This is one of my current favorites, especially since I happen to know that they have seriously improved the sourcing and quality of their essential oils in recent years. This company also makes some wonderful bath salts, and they are not skimpy with the essential oils, these bubble baths and bath salts are seriously therapeutic.
Or Just Make Your Own
As mentioned, it’s pretty easy to make your own bubble bath. But, keep in mind that the more natural the recipe the less huge and lathery the bubbles. Yet, what you lose in bubbly effect you gain in health benefits and the knowledge that you are being kinder to the Earth.
Simple & Bubbly
1 cup unscented natural baby shampoo
1/4 cup oil (almond, calendula or coconut oils work well)
10-15 drops essential oils (see suggested combos below or just use lavender or my current fave – neroli.)
Mix ingredients in a large measuring cup on medium sized bowl using a whisk. Pour into a pretty bottle and use 1-2 fluid ounces per bath.
Ideas for essential oil blends:
Uplift and brighten your energy with 4 drops orange, 2 drops geranium, 3 drops lavender and 4 drops sandalwood.
Soften, sooth & relax with 5 drops lavender, 4 drops mandarin, 2 drops neroli, 2 drops vanilla
Clean & Natural Bubbles
1 quart of distilled water
1 4-oz bar of castile soap (melted in the microwave)
OR 4 ounces liquid castile soap
4 ounces liquid vegetable glycerin
15-20 drops essential oils
Mix first three ingredients together and stir well. Add in essential oils and pour into bottles. Use about 4 oz. per bath.
More by Sarah:
Sarah Grace Powers is a certified life coach and EFT Practitioner. She is a ‘dream resuscitator’, helping clients rediscover their passions and reinvent themselves no matter what their age or circumstance. In her previous career, she owned and operated an herb shop and has practiced holistic living for over three decades. Find her at sarahgracecoach.com
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