Wash away winter woes by taking a spa-like soak.
Sure, a warm bath can work wonders after a stressful day. So why not upgrade your wellness quotient? Just add these five natural ingredients to your bath for immediate benefits to mind, body and spirit.
Three of the baths use essential oils. Remember, oil and water don’t mix. First, you’ll need to dilute the essential oils with a carrier oil such as coconut oil rather than pouring it directly into the tub. Simply combine one tablespoon of the carrier oil with about six drops of the essential oil. Then pour the mixture into the bath after you’ve filled the tub. Adding oils while the faucet is still running will cause the oils to evaporate. And to get maximum benefits—and avoid skin irritation—use the highest quality ingredients. In the case of essential oils, that means 100 percent pure oils.
Here are five baths to try. …
TO COMBAT FUNGAL INFECTIONS
Add lavender oil
Many of us know that this pretty, purple plant’s scent helps you sleep by easing stress. But the herb has been effective in fighting fungus infections. A study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology found that the Lavandula genus of the lavender plant was lethal to certain strains of fungus by destroying the membranes of the fungal cells.
TO RELIEVE STRESS
Add rose oil
A study in Chemical Senses found that rose oil decreases levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Once reduced, symptoms such as rapid heart rate and elevated blood pressure are alleviated. The oil has also been found to stimulate the mesolimbic, or reward, pathway in the brain, where neurons release dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter.
TO FIGHT A COLD
Fans of The Big Bang Theory might remember Penny nursing a sick Sheldon by patting VapoRub on his chest. Much like the menthol or camphor used in this product, eucalyptus’ main ingredient, eucalyptol, is a natural decongestant and opens nasal passages to make breathing easier.
TO FLUSH TOXINS
Add Epsom salts
They’re known for relaxing tired muscles, but the sulfates in these crystals also release pollutants from pores and help draw out toxins. Plus, a good soak helps restore magnesium, which most of us don’t get enough of. According to the National Institutes of Health, magnesium helps regulate “muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels and blood pressure,” among other things. Simply dissolve one cup in bathwater.
TO MOISTURIZE DRY SKIN
Add milk and honey
Cleopatra is said to have soaked in this mixture to keep her skin looking radiant. Why does the mixture leave your skin soft and supple? “The lactic acid in milk makes it a natural exfoliator,” explains Georgiana Liquori, master esthetician at Aesthetic Center of New Jersey in Franklin Lakes. “And honey is a humectant, meaning it locks in moisture. Additionally, they both have antimicrobial properties that really clean your skin.” Unlike oils, you can pour the mixture—1⁄4 cup each of whole milk and honey–into hot running water.
By Rita Guarna