When there's frost on the windows, a warm bath as is inviting as a crackling fire, which is why winter is the perfect time to start a bathing ritual. Luckily, baths are one of life's simplest pleasures, and they've been around for centuries due to their wellness benefits. A warm bath can:
1. Calm your mind.
The time you take in the tub can be like a mental vacation. Create an ambiance, read a book or listen to music — whatever you need to make it your sanctuary for a few minutes. When your body temperature rises, endogenous opioid peptides are released. These act much like endorphins, producing similar affects to exercising.
2. Improve circulation.
A bath will stimulate circulation, help flush your lymph system and removes excess water. The water creates physical pressure on the body, thereby increasing the capacity of your heart, meaning it works fast and stronger. (Think of baths as a workout for your heart!).
3. Lead to better sleep.
Not only is hot water relaxing to a tense body, it also physically aides with sleep. According to science, a lower temperature (60-68 degrees F) is optimal for your best sleep. If you take a warm bath before bed, your body temperature will rise, but your blood vessels will also rapidly dilate, which ultimately helps lower core temperature. Therefore, better sleep!
4. Help with weight loss.
A recent study found that for people who suffer from diabetes, regularly soaking in a hot tub can help reduce sugar and glucose levels. Compared to the control group, those who soaked six times a week for 20-30 minutes lost almost 2.5 pounds a month compared to the control group.
5. Moisturize skin.
When your skin is well-hydrated and damp, it's able to absorb moisturizing products much better than when its dry (this effect is amped up even more if you add natural essential oils to your bath water). The best time to moisturize your skin is immediately after a bath, before you dry off. The National Eczema Association recommends within three minutes of taking a bath or shower to seal in the water and really lock in moisture. Doing this will keep your dry cracked skin skin smooth and supple all winter long.
Though hydrotherapy is certainly becoming a trendy spa practice these days, you don't have to leave your home to reap the benefits. All you need is a tub and one of these three DIY soak recipes.
Relaxing Chamomile, Lavender + Dead Sea Salt Bath
- 2 cups Dead Sea Salt
- 10 drops chamomile essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
Pour the salts into your bathwater and add the essential oil while water is running. Make sure ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Soak for 20 minutes. Follow up with self massage or stretching for deeper relaxation. After your bath, you'll feel more relaxed ... perhaps even a bit drowsy! To get added moisturizing benefits, add two tablespoons of almond or coconut oil to the bath.
Hydrating Rose + Coconut Milk Bath
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 15 drops rose essential oil
- 1 cup powered milk or two cups of full fat milk
Pour the milk into your bathwater and add the coconut oil and geranium essential oil while water is running. Make sure ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Soak for 20 minutes. When you get out of the bath, your skin will be soft and smooth. Towel dry and you’re done — no need for moisturizer. For an extra glow, gently dry brush before you bathe or use a loofa in the bath.
Mood-Enhancing Aromatherapy Bath
- 5 drops of geranium essential oil
- 5 drops of pink grapefruit essential oil
- 5 drops of ylang ylang essential oil
Add the essential oils while water is running. Make sure ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Soak for 20 minutes. Be sure the oils are quality — not simply fragrance or mixed with synthetics. You'll feel your mood lift before you even hit the water!