Creating a self-care routine can help you renew your beauty, body and mind, helping you to stay in balance and become the best version of yourself. The act of taking a bath is one essential element of your self-care plan. Baths have many benefits including relieving colds, rejuvenating your skin or reducing stress through some much needed “me” time. Baths are an excellent time to practice mindfulness and check-in with yourself. If you don't already, consider scheduling time to take baths (yes, schedule them) a few days/nights a week. You will notice the difference right away.
7 Health Benefits of Baths
A good hot bath can have many benefits for your beauty, health and wellbeing.
- Relief muscle pain: soaking sore muscles in hot water after a hard workout or if your muscles are irritated can help them relax. The heat will also help get your blood flowing for circulation.
- Purge toxins from skin: your skin is your largest organ, it is also a gateway to your insides absorbing everything you put on it and what it is exposed to throughout the day (like pollution). You should cleanse your skin thoroughly every night, but a hot bath where you sweat it little will open your pores and help to purge toxins from your body. Adding things like Epsom salts that contain magnesium sulfate also helps to draw toxins out.
- Help you sleep: when you are relaxed, and your body temperate is cooler, you sleep better. As Leah Silverman says in "7 Reasons Why Baths Are Great for Your Health” for Town & Country Magazine: “At night our body temperatures naturally drop, which signals the production of melatonin—or the sleeping hormone. Soaking in a warm bath will raise your body temperature, and exiting will more rapidly cool it down, thus instigating the production of melatonin, and better preparing you for sleep.”
- Relieve cold and flu symptoms: steam from a hot bath is great for a stuffy nose, congestion or a cough. There is also evidence that an elevated body temperature helps the immune cells work better.
- Hydrate and heel dry irritated skin: a warm bath combined with essential oils or other skin healing soaks can help the skin on your face and body become more moisturized, reduce irritation and calm the skin.
- Burn calories: you still need to exercise, but according to Steve Faulkner, a researcher at Loughborough University a hot bath and the “passive heating" it induces can burn as many calories as a 30-minute walk.
- Relieve stress and anxiety: in many cultures taking a bath has been used to connect better with yourself, relax and calm the mind. It is pleasurable "me" time, and this can help reduce depression, stress and feelings of anxiety.
To start you on your detox bath “journey” we’ve created a three-part guide: 1) How to prepare the room and the supplies you need, 2) bath rituals you can do while in the bath to enhance the experience and 3) types of products and spa treatments for your bath
How to Prepare for your Detox Bath
Baths can be super easy or more elaborate depending on the experience you are trying to create. Here are some steps to think through when creating your best detox bath.
- Schedule it: adding a bath to your calendar may seem over the top, but without it, you may not make the time. Schedule 30 minutes to an hour or more a couple of times a week.
- Declutter the bathroom: take the time to clean and declutter the bathroom – it isn’t relaxing to be soaking in the bath and looking around at clutter.
- Draw a warm bath: the temperature shouldn’t exceed your body temperature by too much.
- Add bath additives: essential oils, soaks, bubble bath, bath bombs – all of these are added directly to the bathwater and used in addition to the products you may apply to the skin while in the bath (part 3 of our detox bath guide covers products).
- Gather your bath items: book, iPad, bath caddy, pumice stone, towel, robe, shower cap, bath additives, skin products, hair mask, exfoliating sponge or brush, lotion for after, etc.
- Make a drink: green or herbal tea or lemon water our two of our favorites.
- Light candles or incense: while the water is running light some candles or incenses or use a scent diffuser. Select a scent by the mood you want to create.
- Ready the room: place your towel or robe where you can reach it. Set up your book or iPad caddy. Once you get in the bath, you can relax and have access to what you need.
- Turn on the music: soothing, relaxing music or even white noise can help relax you and block out any outside sounds.
- Declare “me” time: it may be necessary to notify your family that you are "off-limits" for an hour – or even to kick the pets out! Finding balance requires genuinely stepping back from your daily life and quieting the mind. Shut the door and tune into you.
Enhance Your Detox Bath Experience
Before you begin your bath, think through the type of experience you want and what you want to work on or benefits you seek. There are many different relaxing rituals you can do in the bath, here are a few ideas.
- Read - pick up your favorite book or magazine; there is nothing like sinking into a hot bath with a good book.
- Listen – depending on the music or podcast you pick, just soaking and listening can be very therapeutic. Read our article on the brain benefits of listening to music in Mindful Music.
- Meditate – after you have applied your facial mask, a warm tub can be a great place to practice meditating, and today all the apps available make it easy even for beginners – two meditation apps we like are Headspace and Calm.
- Self-Massage – the warm water of the bath will relax sore muscles making it a great time to massage your hands, feet or shoulders and do a few neck/head stretches or upper body twists (sitting of course).
- Yoga – if you have a hard time just sitting still in the tub, there are some simple yoga poses you can do (again - sitting or kneeling poses for safety) – get a list of poses and how-to at yogalisa.com.
- Just be – no book, no music, no yoga – soak in a warm tub, letting go and clearing your mind. You will be surprised how much you will open up and feel relieved.
Products and Spa Treatments for the Detox Bath
Starting our list off with a few non-beauty products that make tub time more enjoyable and moving into bath additives and skin treatments.
- Blue tooth waterproof speaker for your music.
- A bath caddy or tray to hold your book, iPad, drink and beauty products.
- Luxurious robe – nothing like getting out of a warm bath with smooth refreshed skin and slipping into a soft, thick robe – think a high-end hotel.
- Candles or diffusers in scents that speak to you. Smell is a critical sense that can trigger relaxation if you pick the right scent.
- Teas or flavored waters because it is essential to stay hydrated.
- Epsom salts contain magnesium and sulfate and when added to a bath have been proven to help relieve joint inflammation and aches and pains.
- Baking soda can be added to the bath (about ¼ cup) and will help make your skin smooth and detox the body.
- Himalayan salt crystals come in larger chunks that dissolve in the water as you soak or smaller salt size crystals. They are good for detoxification and hydration as well as stimulating circulation and soothing sore muscles.
- Soaks made of various salts, herbs, teas or minerals are available to help calm skin, relieve sore muscles or pull out toxins.
- Essential oils can help your skin and stimulate your senses. Our top picks are lavender (for calming) sandalwood (for anxiety) and peppermint for (energy but also great to alleviate cold symptoms). You only need a few drops (5 to 7 total) if you purchase a pure essential oil. Or look for products that combine two or three essential oils into a unique detox blend.
- Virgin coconut oil added to a bath is great for the skin, smells lovely and is very hydrating. Or try a ½ cup coconut oil added to ¼ cup Epsom salts for combined detox benefits.
- Bath bombs are very popular now and come in all sort of scents, colors and skin benefits. They add color to the water that can be relaxing as well as stimulating scent.
- Bubble bath is a more traditional bath additive that lathers but also come in various scents and usually focus on hydration and relaxation.
- Masks (skin and hair) – it’s easy to use bath time as spa time and treat your facial skin or hair with a treatment mask. So many masks are available that focus on different skin benefits, so you can pick based on your skin concerns. See our article "Face Masks Defined: What's Right for You?"
- Lotion – after a bath the skin will be soft and hydrated with open pores, making it a great time to apply moisturizer on your body further sealing in the hydration, and for facial skin an excellent time to use a serum treatment that will better absorb into the open pores followed by a moisturizer.
Enjoy your detox bath!