At the end of a long day, almost nothing beats a soothing bath. Aside from getting you clean, time in the tub can relax muscles and improve circulation — and the downtime is good for both body and mind, making it one of our favorite holistic self-care rituals.
A great bath can be so much more than just warm water, and you can customize each element to suit your body’s needs. Here are some of our tried-and-true tips for taking your soak to the next level.
1. Ambience, ambience, ambience: If you don’t have a picturesque bathroom suite and a whirlpool tub (or even if you do), a few simple additions can really change the mood of your space. A reed diffuser and some candlelight will offer you spa-like luxury in the comfort of your own home.
2. Find the right temperature: Getting your sweat on in the tub can make for a cleansing, rejuvenating experience — but too-hot water can make your heart race. Stick with the temperature that feels good for your body.
3. To bubble or not to bubble?: If you want to feel like a kid again — or just want to add some extra luxury to your soak — a little bubble bath can make a big difference. Avoid the commercial brands, many of which are loaded with skin-irritating artificial fragrances. We like this brand, which is made with herbal extracts and certified Fair Trade shea butter. You could also try making your own!
4. Add a pinch of salt: An Epsom salts bath will help your body absorb magnesium, which can relieve achy muscles and aid your liver in the detox process. (For more on the benefits of magnesium, read “Magnesium: Your Body’s Spark Plug.”) We like this mixture, which includes the soothing scent of lavender and peppermint essential oils
5. Minimize multitasking: It can be tough to put aside your digital devices in our hyper-connected culture, but trying to catch up on email in the tub is a great way for your iPhone to take a dive. Besides, pulling the plug — if only for an hour — is the best approach to truly enjoying your bath’s stress-reducing benefits. Leave your phone in the next room, turn on some relaxing tunes, and let yourself be in the moment.
6. Extra indulgences: Including a mug of tea or a cup of kombucha — or even a glass of wine — can feel downright luxurious during bath time. Consider adding a bath pillow or a tray caddy for extra pampering.
This article was originally published on April 7, 2017 on Experience Life, Life Time’s whole-life health and fitness magazine.