Bathing for Health and Well-Being

Enjoy the soothing pleasures of a leisurely bath.

By Amanda Kimble-Evans


The Bath Treatment
Today many of us still enjoy the soothing pleasures of a leisurely bath in our homes. Retreating to a warm, scented bath lit by candlelight can calm your mind and body: the privacy and peace of the bathroom allows for quiet meditation. Or maybe you need a boost of energy to get you through the day: a cool bath and the scent of lemons on a sunny day could be just what you need.

To add another dimension to your bath water, look for scented oils in natural foods stores and many shops specializing in products for body and bath. You can use the oils in combinations that promote calming, energizing, or healing.

Many of the following recipes call for the use of essential oils. Because these oils are highly concentrated, dilute them before adding them to your bath to prevent them from irritating your skin. "Carrier oils" you can use to dilute the essential oils include almond, apricot, hazelnut, olive, grapeseed, and sesame. Combine 25 drops (or 1/4 teaspoon) essential oil to 1 ounce carrier oil. Also, check with your doctor before using any essential oils or herbs on yourself if you are pregnant or on children. If you are prone to allergies, test a small amount of diluted essential oil on the inside of your arm and wait for 12 hours.

Energize and Focus
Three spices reminiscent of India work to sharpen your senses and clear your mind. Try this bath to start your day or when you begin a new project.

1 tablespoon powdered ginger
1 tablespoon powdered cinnamon
6 whole cloves
1 large orange sliced

Light red and orange, citrus- or spice-scented candles. Tie the powdered ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a piece of muslin. Run a warm bath and add the bag of spices. After the bath is full, float the orange slices. Have a cup of iced spice tea or fresh orange juice to sip while you enjoy your bath.

Silk and Satin Skin
This bath, which moisturizes and smoothes rough skin, is perfect in the winter when dry air often makes skin brittle.

1 cup oatmeal
1 cup whole milk
2 cups sugar

Light vanilla or unscented white candles. Run a warm-water bath and add the milk. Tie the oatmeal in an old stocking or a square of cheesecloth and let it float in the bath. Use the sugar to exfoliate by rubbing small handfuls over your skin. Then rub the oatmeal ball on your body to help soothe your skin.


Clear Headed
Some headaches just won't go away no matter what you try. A healing bath may be just what you need to clear your head.

1/4 teaspoon lavender mix
1/4 teaspoon chamomile mix
1/4 teaspoon peppermint mix

Brew a cup of peppermint or chamomile tea to sip while in the tub. Run a hot-water bath. Add all the mixes when the bath is full. Breathe the steam in with long, slow breaths and concentrate on relaxing the muscles in your face.