In the part of the world where I live, winter has more than arrived: It’s cold and windy. Part of the time, we have snow and ice; other times, it’s barely above freezing and rainy. Bottom line: Tis the season for nice, hot baths. I can’t think of a better way to get warm.
I have some favorite additives for the bathtub:
*Either coconut or olive oil. You can find more than a few articles on the benefits of each one. Some sources prefer coconut oil, saying that it detoxifies, moisturizes and works as an anti inflammatory; others will promote olive oil for many of the same reasons. I like either one, mostly because they moisturize.
*A favorite recipe of mine is: 1 cup epsom salts, 1 cup wine, 2 tablespoons olive oil. I find this very soothing.
*Oatmeal, usually prepared as an additive for baths. I have read that you can take regular oatmeal, put it in a sock or infuser and put it in your bath water so that you don’t have a mushy mess. I haven’t tried this approach. Oatmeal does seem to soothe dry, itchy skin.
*A few drops of scented oil. I really enjoy jasmin or bergamot. One I am planning to try is cinnamon-cassia.
There is one I would like to try:
*Two cups of instant dry milk mixed in bath water. This is supposed to be very good for skin.
I could see adding some oil and fragrance for a wonderful experience.
I have also heard of putting 1 cup of honey into a bath: I’m not so sure I want to try this – Too sticky.
Other additives include lemon juice, baking soda or commercially prepared bath salts.
It does turn out that hot baths are good for more than just warming up on a cold day.
One of the first medicinal uses I ever learned was for help in relieving a migraine. It works like this:
Get an ice pack for your neck. If you have one of those really killer ones, get one for your forehead as well.
Draw a bath that is as hot as you can comfortably stand – no burning yourself, right?
Lean back in the tub so that your lower body, hands and forearms are submerged. Rest there for up to 20 minutes. I found that I could only tolerate about 10, so my suggestion is stay a tolerable length of time, up to 20 minutes. Then, go directly to bed. Because I always found that light, motion and noise seem to aggrivate a migraine, I kept the lights off and the house as quiet as possible.
Another benefit of a hot bath is some relief from emotional distress, including anxiety and depression. I have heard some news reports on this one. I do find that it helps. A couple of sources that I have found suggest 2 cups of epsom salts to help with stress reduction – it’s the magnesium of course. I have tried that, but am not convinced that doing so made much of a difference.
Pain reduction is a third therapeutic use for a hot bath. I have known people who tried this when they had some inflammation going and were not happy with the results; however, if it’s muscle tensions or things like a pulled something or other, a bath can deliver tremendous relief. I have found that a soak in hot water is wonderful when I am generally achy.
Some other benefits I have encountered include:
*Lowering blood pressure
*helping to prepare for sleep (this requires a warm bath instead of a hot one.)
*Part of curing a cold and other viruses
Some information states that pregnant women and people with heart problems should not take hot baths. If you fit one of these groups, talk to your health care provider first.
A strong suggestion is to drink a glass of water before and after a hot bath: We perspire; therefore, we lose some fluids.
Obviously, some people will not like a bathtub because of size, physical ability or personal preference. I say, find nice gels and such; then make a hot shower your treat.
Enjoy; stay warm and happy.