How to Turn a Bath Into an Experience

How to Turn a Bath Into an Experience

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  1. When it comes to bathing, getting clean needn’t always be the only objective.

    As the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans knew — and often practiced — while almost any bath can be satisfying and ultimately beneficial, with the right additives, bathing can take on a number of other purposes.

    Just by adding the right herb, oil, or household pantry ingredient, for example, you can ease tired muscles, heal dry skin, warm yourself up or cool yourself down, or put yourself in virtually any mood you so choose!  And all it takes is a fundamental understanding of the medicinal properties natural substances inherently possess, and be willing to do a little experimentation!

    Here are a few additives you probably have in your cupboard right now, and what they can do for you:

    Ginger: Adding one tablespoon of clopped ginger to a bath will ease muscles, eliminate toxins from the body, and help sweat out colds, flu, or hay fever congestion. And when it’s cold outside, adding ginger to bath water will raise the temperature of your skin and make you feel all toasty!

    Apple cider vinegar: For sore muscles or itchy skin, nothing’s better than apple cider vinegar!  Just add one cup to a nice hot bath and plunge in!  This is also an excellent curative for over-exposure to the sun–though I’d recommend tepid water.

    Baking soda: Like vinegar, baking soda will quickly neutralize skin irritation from such irritants as hives, poison ivy, insect bites, and even chicken pox, and will also ease muscle tension.  Just mix in ½ small box to warm water for skin problems, or hot water for muscle ache. Also, a whole box in a footbath can work miracles for sore feet!  Try it once and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along!

    Lemon: In hot weather, lemon baths are remarkably refreshing–and can be down-right addictive! Just add the juice of six lemons — peals and all– or ¾ cup of bottled lemon juice to a warm bath. (You may be tempted to use cool water, but warm actually cuts body oil better.) Not only does this cool the skin, it tightens the pores and makes you all tingly!

    Milk: (Remember Cleopatra and her famous milk baths?) One of the best possible things for dry skin –yes, Cleo had it right — you can add one quart of cow’s milk, one can of condensed, or one box of powdered to your bath. (Make sure it’s dissolved well into the water or you may come out a bit sticky.) Also, many powdered brands of milk make froth-like bubbles in the tub–which can add to the mood!

    Oatmeal: A personal favorite, by adding two cups of oatmeal to your bath (placed in a large tea bell or old nylon), you can get one of the most cleansing baths of your life, cure the worse skin irritations imaginable, and if you rub the oatmeal directly on your skin, is one of the best emollients available!  And the best part is that it’s way cheaper than that oatmeal soap that costs $5 or more a bar in a specialty boutique!

    Nut oil (peanut, sesame, almond, etc): Better than most commercial skin softeners (at any price), nut oils penetrate skin better and have no nasty toxic by-products like drugstore brands.  In this case, soak in a hot tub for at least ten minutes before adding one or two tablespoons of oil. (This one will make you smell and taste especially good as a bonus!)

    Now, how about a few additives just for fun!

    Jello: Adding ½ box of the unsweetened variety can not only make your skin smell delicious, it can work miracles on dry skin! And since it comes in various flavors (and scents), it is known to affect mood as well!  Research shows that many people find that their mood is lifted when they smell particular scents–like watermelon or cherries, for instance. Since smell receptiveness is highly individual, if you don’t already know which scents elevate your mood, you may need to experiment–but that can be a whole lot of fun!  And on a tactile level, Jello feels down-right good on the skin!

    Green tea: While green tea has been drawing a lot of positive attention in the past few years for its many health benefits when consumed, most don’t consider what it can do externally. Adding 8 to 10 tea bags to a hot (or even cool) bath acts as a natural astringent for oily skin, can draw toxins out of the pores, has a neutralizing affect on sunburn, and feels amazingly soothing. (And I’d wager it does a number of other beneficial things we don’t even know about yet!)

    Cinnamon: Long used for spiritual purification in many cultural traditions, cinnamon will remove toxins from the body (especially valuable after an illness), elevate the mood, raise the body temperature in the winter, cure various rashes, and is a natural disinfectant, natural stimulant, natural astringent, and has even been known to counteract edema! Though cinnamon sticks are more convenient, powder will do just fine. Put ¼ cup of cinnamon in a piece of cheesecloth and just drop it into a warm or hot bath.

    Remember that with all herbal and natural remedies, there is no way of predicting with certainty how a body with react. Just as some people are allergic to common bath soaps, some will find their skin reacting negatively to these substances. Should you find yourself reacting negatively, immediately get out, shower off, and discontinue use. But, don’t assume you will ill-react to every substance the same. You can always try one of the many others!


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