Along, hard day’s work, the daily commute through mind-numbing traffic, blaring horns and the sweat and grime from the city’s heat and pollution, all usually culminate into a strong need for holistic healing – a need which is only partially fulfilled by the customary bath. The regular bath is usually a mundane task, a five-minute, quick hop-in, shower and hop-out affair which just about manages to cleanse the body of dirt and dust and sometimes get rid of some stress and tiredness.
But, did you know, that even your normal bath has the capability of becoming a blissful, refreshing spa-like experience? And that too with the inclusion of just a few simple steps and a few easily-available bath products?
Here’s how spending a little more time and effort in your bath can truly rejuvenate, de-stress and invigorate you, ready to face the inevitable daily stress and tension.
Let’s set the mood…
The process of getting more from your bath begins with creating the right environment. Place some potpourri in your bathroom–the scent is a great precursor to relaxation. Lighting a few aromatherapy candles not only heightens the relaxed atmosphere, but also provides soft diffused lighting. This helps to relax your tired eyes after continued exposure to the sun [if you have been outdoors all day] or to the harsh lighting in office.
Effect of Aromatherapy scents
|Lavender, ylang-ylang, patchouli, rosewood||Calming and soothing the mind|
|Peppermint, rosemary, juniper, bergamot, ginger||Getting rid of mental tiredness or fatigue|
|Jasmine, lemon, neroli, rose||Relieving tension and stress|
|Ginger||Reducing physical fatigue|
|Jasmine, rose||Creating a romantic atmosphere|
Playing soft, soothing music is another addition to the experience which is guaranteed to take the weight of the tiring, hectic day from your mind.
As you bathe…
With a tranquil ambience now set up in your bathroom, the next step is to use some therapeutic bath products while you bathe–starting with hand-made soaps and scrubs to shower gels, bubble baths and bath oils and bath salts. Choosing the right type may be a tad difficult, but a few pointers come in handy. Most of these products contain natural ingredients extracted from plants and make extensive use of aromatherapy essential oils like lavender, chamomile, lemon, rose and the like. The basic benefits of each essential oil differ and usually these products contain a combination of one or more essential oils. There is a plethora of oils ranging from the regular to the really exotic and the most common ones are listed. It’s important to read the product packaging to determine what is right for your skin type. Where more than one essential oil tends to provide the same benefits, it is best to purchase the fragrance that you like.
Soaps, bath gels and scrubs, loofahs
Your bath-enhancement experience begins even as you take a quick shower. Here, you can take a break from the ordinary and go for various scented, hand-made soaps. These not only cleanse the skin, but also leave you with a lingering scent which keeps you fresh for a long time. Take your pick from the several handmade soaps available in an array of fragrances ranging from jasmine and rose to peppermint, ginger and ylang ylang. An alternative to soap bars is bath gels – available in various types which cleanse and moisturise the skin.
Another product which augments the cleansing effect of soaps and gels is the loofah. Available easily at chemist shops, scrubbing the body with loofahs provides a good exfoliation effect, leaving your skin squeaky clean. Scrubs are dual in their functioning–they cleanse and exfoliate the skin, thus removing not only the dust, grime and sweat, but also taking off the dead skin cells revealing a fresh and sparkling new skin. For a personalised experience, you can even try making scrubs at home.
Making bath scrubs at home
Mix two tablespoons of olive oil to two cups sugar. Add 3-4 drops of the essential oil that you like. Mix well and store in a glass bottle. Use it like a regular scrub to exfoliate the skin.
Bath oils and salts
If there’s time for more than just a speedy shower and you have the luxury of being able to soak in a bath tub, then bath oils and salts are just the thing. Addition of a few drops of an essential oil or a few teaspoonfuls of bath salts increases the relaxation effect of soaking in the hot bath water. Bath salts can easily be made at home [See Box 3] and as far as bath oils go, two or three essential oils can effortlessly be combined together to get a completely new fragrance. In fact, even adding a cup of milk and a tablespoon of honey or a cup of oatmeal or 3-4 tablespoonfuls of rose water or lavender water to your bath makes for an interesting change. Soaking in a bath tub with a few drops of essential oil or a few teaspoonfuls of bath salts or with the home ingredients mentioned above for around 15 minutes is all you need to completely relax those tense nerves and ease away your aches and pains.
Do remember to follow up the shower or hot water soak by patting dry the body with a fluffy bath towel and then applying your preferred moisturiser to get soft, smooth and silky skin.
All said and done, you too deserve some pampering and indulgence. And, if your routine bath can provide it to you, isn’t the time and effort spent well worth your while?
Making bath salts at home
The simplest method of making bath salts requires only three basic ingredients: salt, essential oil and baking soda. Epsom salt is available at chemist stores, essential oils at stores which sell aromatherapy products and baking soda at regular grocery stores. Take two cups Epsom salt, and blend in 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda. Add around 10-12 drops of the essential oil of your choice and store the mix in a glass jar.