Who doesn’t love a bath? A sudsy, fragrant soak is my cure-all for virtually every ailment, from flu to a bad bruise.
Baths have the remarkable ability to be both relaxing and energizing. They are an ancient, world-wide remedy for aches and pains of every sort: the Egyptians enjoyed baths with flowers and essential oils as a luxury and a remedy; the Romans were famous for their public baths; Japanese citizens were (and still are) advised to soak in natural hot springs for good health…and today, still, we acknowledge the healing powers of the bath. In fact, baths are so popular as a natural remedy that there is a word for it: balneology. Cool, right?
There are two features of the bath that lend it its healing properties:
2) Mineral/Herbal/Oil Infusion
While the first may seem obvious, the reason may not be as apparent. Heat, on its own, has remarkable healing properties. Fifteen minutes of heat will increase circulation to an area of tension, allowing the muscles to relax and regain elasticity and flexibility. A hot bath is, therefore, the ideal treatment for tired, sore muscles. Furthermore, heat creates steam. Steam opens pores and clears nasal passages. A combination of hot water on the chest and steam inhalation provides exceptional relief for chest colds and congestion.
The mineral/herbal infusion is where the bath becomes a true hero. Already we have seen how plain, hot water has its own healing properties. But there are myriad ways to augment those properties, simply by adding herbs, salts, and oils to the water. The following are just a few ideas of what you can put in your bath for added benefit:
1) Lavender-add 10 drops for relaxation
2) Eucalyptus-10 drops for congestion
3) Jasmine-10 drops for anxiety
4) Rose-10 drops for healthy skin
5) Peppermint-10 drops for energy
1) Epsom Salts-add 1 cup to bath for sore muscles and bruising
2) Baking soda-add 1/2 cup to a shallow bath for urinary tract infections
3) Apple cider vinegar-add 1/2 to shallow bath for yeast/fungal infections
1) Calendula petals for yeast infection, eczema, and itching
2) Rose petals/lavender petals for relaxation
3) Rosemary for circulation and sore muscles
You can mix and match any of the above, too! A nice, compact way to get your oils, minerals, and herbs into the bath all in one go is through bath fizzies, which are SUPER easy to make and lots of fun in the bathtub. Most of the ingredients you can easily find at your grocery store. The more obscure stuff, like the rose petals and citric acid, are linked to websites where you can buy them for a good deal. Here is the recipe:
LAVENDER ROSE BATH FIZZIES
(Makes 6 fizzies)
1/2 cup baking soda
1/4 cup Epsom salt
1/4 cup citric acid
1/4 cup corn starch
1 1/4 tsp coconut oil
In a medium bowl, whisk together the baking soda, Epsom salt, citric acid, and corn starch. In a separate bowl (or Pyrex liquid measuring cup for controlled pouring), whisk together coconut oil, water (start with 1.5 tsp), food coloring, and lavender oil. Slowly pour the liquid into the dry ingredients, whisking as you go. Go slowly to avoid reacting all the baking soda. Some bubbling will occur, but don’t let it bubble too much–if you let the chemical reaction complete, you’ll get no fizzing in the bathtub, which is SO sad.
If your ingredients are wet enough, they should clump together in your hand like damp sand. If they don’t, add an additional 1 1/2 tsp of water. That should do the trick.
There are a few options for molding the fizzies. They make special “bath bomb” molds if you want to have the spherical ones. I don’t have one of those, so I use a cupcake pan. I sprinkle the rose petals into the bottom of the tins, then portion out the fizzy mixture into each space until it is nearly full and press it down. I let it dry for 4 hours. They pop out easily enough: just flip over the pan and lightly tap on each space containing the mixture. Or make it even easier on yourself and use paper cupcake liners. They make pretty little ridges on the outside.
I love to give these as presents. (Walmart sells little gift bags with cardboard disk that fit in the bottom that are perfect for these). You can make all sorts of them too: experiment with different herbs and fragrances. You really can’t go wrong.
Now go enjoy a relaxing, healing bath.