Is there anything more rewarding then slipping in to a hot bath after a long day? Pouring yourself a glass of wine, lighting a candle, and closing (maybe even locking!) the door, and just doing... nothing?
Does that sound wonderful to you?
If yes, then I envy you, because it sounds fairly unenjoyable for me.
Unfortunately, I am one of those rare, odd-balls that find bathing, and even relaxing for that matter, an unproductive use of my time. Many times my thoughtful husband has tried to encourage my relaxation by drawing me a bath. The problem is, that once I get in, I lay there and think of all the things that I could be doing with that time... like, painting that old dresser, organizing the pantry, answering some emails. And then I get frustrated with myself for not being able to relax...which leaves me sitting in the bath antsy and frustrated.
Don't get me wrong, I am fully aware that this is an issue that I need to get a handle on! I desperately need to learn the art of slowing down my brain and "practice being present," as my yoga teacher might say. Actually, if she could see in to my brain during class she would give me an "F" - that is, if yoga was graded.
Recently, I've found that I'm able to somewhat "force" relaxation by adding some therapeutic bath salt blends to the tub. Specifically, bath salts containing calming and grounding essential oils. They really do help me slow down my mind and soothe my achy body at the end of a busy day, which at this stage in my pregnancy, I desperately need.
For my husband, I've concocted a batch of therapeutic bath salts specific for soothing sore muscles. My daughter even has her own special blend containing lavender, rose geranium and chamomile essential oils, which are all calming and help to "wind her down" before bed.
The main ingredient in these therapeutic bath salts, and most commercial bath salts, is Epsom salts, otherwise know as magnesium sulphate, which is said to soothe achy and sore muscles when 1-2 cups are added to a bath (it says to right on the container). After doing some research on Epsom salts, I found that there isn't much scientific evidence that proves this to be true, however, it has been a trusted muscle relief method for generations. You'll have to just try it for yourself!
Nonetheless, Epsom salts added to a bath will leave your skin feeling softer (especially if you rub it on your skin and use it to exfoliate as it dissolves), has mild antibacterial properties, and is a great carrier for the essential oils!
Also added to these therapeutic baths salts are Dead Sea Salts, Himalayan Pink Salt, dried herbs and flowers, and of course, essential oils.
In the spa world, Dead Sea Salts, which contain 21 trace minerals, are said to improve relaxation, nourish the skin, ease rheumatic discomfort and help in the treatment of Psoriasis and other skin disorders. Himalayan Pink Salt, which contain 84 trace minerals, has been used for centuries to help stimulate circulation, lower blood pressure and remove toxins such as heavy metals from the body, aid in relaxation, and much more. (Again, I haven't found much scientific research to back these theories up - it tends to just be "common knowledge." But if nothing else, I have to say that, aesthetically, the pink salt really does add a special touch ;))
Dried herbs and flowers also make a beautiful addition the any bath salts and really help to achieve that spa-like feel. In my "Calming" bath salt blend I used what I had dried out from the summer - wild rose petals, calendula, lavender, and peppermint. You can buy organic herbs and flowers HERE. Essential oils are the key to achieving a therapeutic bathing experience. Essential oils, if used correctly can help one combat the daily stresses of life, providing relief from ailments, skin problems, and helping increase the feeling of well-being. In addition to their powerful therapeutic properties, essential oils give off a wonderful scent. For your convenience, at the bottom of the page, I've compiled several lists of essential oils, grouped in to categories, that will help you to achieve the type of therapeutic experience that you seek.
***Note - There's a reason that I'm posting this recipe as we enter in to December! A jar of these beautiful, therapeutic bath salts would make an impressive and thoughtful Christmas gift for a loved one. Be sure to include a fancy label with instructions and maybe even list the ingredients (I like to use Avery)! i.e. Therapeutic Bath Salts for Cold & Flu. Add 1-2 cups to a warm bath, light a candle, and relax...
Please note - never use essential oils undiluted, in eyes or mucus membranes. Do not take internally unless working with a qualified and expert practitioner. Keep away from children. If applying an essential oil to your skin always perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body (after you have properly diluted the oil in an appropriate carrier.