Throughout history, humans have believed in the healing properties of water. The Ancient Greeks placed importance on elegant bathhouses, the Ancient Egyptians bathed in the Nile for religious purposes, and Hindus bathed in the Ganges to be forgiven for transgressions and to help attain salvation. Nowadays, people can bathe in a hot soothing bath with essential oils to relieve headaches, or soak in a frigid ice bath to reduce inflammation. Not everyone takes advantage of how healing baths can be, though.
Taking a bath is a human tradition, but most people resort to showers for convenience and time restrictions. You don’t have to reserve baths for when you get sick, because you can always add healing ingredients to a bath to improve skin health, reduce stress, or decrease muscle aches and pain. The best part about these ingredients is that they are readily available, so much so that you may already have them in your home! You’ll find our favorite ingredients, along with their health benefits, to add to your baths below. Use them whenever you need a little extra self-care.
There are historical records of early civilizations applying honey to the skin for its therapeutic properties. The antimicrobial properties are beneficial for dermatological applications, due to the H2 O2 release of components like methylglyoxal in manuka honey. The antioxidants in honey can help neutralize free radicals and toxins that can cause skin sagging or DNA damage. Add ½ cup of raw honey to warm bathwater and stir until dissolved.
Spas charge a pretty penny for seaweed wraps, but there’s no need to empty your wallet when you can make a DIY seaweed bath at home. Seaweed contains minerals that are essential for the proper function of human skin cells, thus explaining why seaweed wraps help the skin absorb the nutrients. Since the transference is primarily through osmosis, a seaweed bath is also beneficial, especially for those with psoriasis or eczema. Add several sheets of wrack kelp to your bath and soak for 20 minutes.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Praised for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, eucalyptus essential oil can be a healing addition to your bath, especially if you are suffering from congestion or cough. Several studies have shown that eucalyptus contains 1,8-Cineole, a powerful antimicrobial agent that can help to kill certain viruses. Add 10-20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a warm bath to ease cold symptoms.
Next time you brew some green tea, brew about two extra cups for your bath. That’s right, people, green tea isn’t solely reserved for matcha lattes and weight loss. The antioxidants in green tea can enter your pores in the bath, helping your skin absorb the properties that contribute to a youthful glow. Studies have shown that the polyphenols in green tea can also protect the skin against early aging and wrinkles. Stir in two cups of green tea to your warm bathwater for best results.
If you are looking to make a powerful detox bath, bentonite clay is the ingredient you need. It has been praised for its ability to help improve skin ailments like dermatitis, working to hydrate skin and boost collagen synthesis. Some cultures have even used bentonite clay as a natural sunscreen. To make a bentonite clay bath, stir ½ cup of bentonite clay into water in a bowl to yield a paste. Do not use a metal utensil or bowl for mixing the clay. Add this paste to the bath water and soak for 20 minutes.
Rich in medium-chain fatty acids, cold-pressed coconut oil helps to moisturize and soothe the skin. The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties benefit those who have acne-prone skin or fungal infections. Working to strengthen the protective barrier of the skin, coconut oil helps to make your skin less prone to inflammation and premature aging. Adding ½ cup of cold-pressed coconut oil to your bath, stirring until it melts.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil has a cooling effect on the body, which can help relax tense muscles. Often times, the scent of peppermint oil can alleviate headache pain or itchiness, and the anti-inflammatory properties may improve lung capacity, helping you breathe more deeply during your bath. For the best results, add 10-20 drops of peppermint essential oil to your bath with 6 teaspoons of melted cold-pressed coconut oil.