What’s more relaxing after a long, stressful day than taking a hot bath? It can be incredibly therapeutic, helping to clear your mind from the worries of the day, relieve muscle aches and pains, and more. Baths are so amazing that most of us are more than willing to spend a pretty penny on fancy products for enhancing the experience, but the reality is that most of those items also contain a host of potentially harmful chemicals, and you probably already have plenty of natural healing ingredients right at home. While many of those ingredients sound rather strange, they’re surprisingly effective!
1. Green tea
You probably already know that drinking green tea offers a host of health benefits, but did you realize that it also makes for a fantastic addition to your bath and beauty routine? By adding it to your tub, you can reap its healing benefits too, including boosting your energy levels, increasing antioxidant activity in your blood and detoxing your skin from pollutants. It’s great for anti-aging, help to restore moisture and elasticity in your skin too.
Green tea helps to clear the mind and soothe the body for the ultimate pre-bedtime ritual that provides double the benefits of a normal bath. It’s therapeutic values create a feeling of calm, inner peace and balance. A green tea bath is truly one of the best kinds of herbal baths around.
To make it, you’ll need your favorite organic green tea. Fill your bath, and while the water is still running, drop 5 to 10 green tea bags under the faucet. The bath is ready when the bath begins to turn slightly brown/dark green, which means that it’s released all the minerals into the water. Be sure the bath isn’t too hot, as it will take moisture from the skin. Now get in, enjoy and soak as long as you’d like it.
2. Red wine
Pouring red wine in the bath? While this one certainly sounds bizarre, it’s actually not a waste of good vino, though you might want to use leftovers that remain after a big party, that bottle you’re trying to avoid while going through a detox or boxed wine. A red wine bath has actually been used as a spa treatment AKA vinotherapy for years. That’s because the polyphenols in red wine seep into your skin, feeding it with powerful antioxidants to help soften your skin, boost circulation and possibly even shift some of that cellulite around to make it less noticeable, all while providing anti-aging effects. The tartaric acid in it helps to reduce discoloration.
To make a red wine bath, simply add 16 ounces of red wine to the tub and soak up those incredible red wine enzymes for 20 minutes or so. Whatever you do, even if you happen to have gallons of extra red wine, never soak in pure red wine as it could result in a yeast infection or throw off your pH balance.
3. Raw Honey
Raw honey does amazing things for your skin – in fact, Cleopatra was even said to take honey baths to maintain her gorgeous complexion. It’s naturally antibacterial, making it outstanding for both preventing and treating acne, and because it’s filled with antioxidants it’s great for slowing down aging too. It’s also considered to be clarifying as it helps to open up the pores, making them easier to unclog.
Honey not only helps to moisturize the skin but it helps it retain moisture, and even those with sensitive, easily irritated skin can use it too. If you’re battling dry winter skin, a honey bath is the ideal prescription. That’s because as the seasons change the skin tends to go into overdrive in an effort to rebalance itself to the conditions.
Raw honey is extraordinary for the skin because of its antibacterial properties and significant serving of skin-saving antioxidants. It can help you regain your glow and a more youthful appearance too. To use it, simply add about one cup of raw honey and soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes. For extra relaxation, add a few drops of lavender essential oil with the honey.
4. Olive oil
Most of us use olive oil for drizzling on a salad and cooking-related purposes, but it also offers a wealth of beauty benefits. In fact, when mixed with water, it’s able to soak deep into your skin’s tissue, working to rejuvenate it. Famed Italian actress Sophia Loren is renowned for her beauty and she once revealed that her secret, at least in part, is taking olive oil baths.
An olive oil bath helps to strengthen the immune system so that your body will be better able to fight off viral and bacterial infections. It also helps to maintain collagen in your skin so that it keeps it looking nice and supple longer as well as reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Olive oil added to bath water has even been known to help out with skin conditions like psoriasis.
To prepare an olive oil bath, add about five tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil while the water is running and enjoy a soak for as long as you like. As soon as you emerge, your skin will feel incredibly soft and smooth- so much so that you’d think it belonged to a baby.
5. Fresh ginger root
A ginger root is one of the best ways to eliminate toxins from your body, due to its antibacterial properties. It’s an excellent natural treatment when you’re suffering from a stuffy nose or sinus ache, helping to literally “sweat out” the cold and congestion. As gingerprovides potent anti-inflammatory properties, it’s great for relieving sore muscles and easing pain after a workout, and even helps to reduce the pain of arthritic conditions. It will make you sweat a lot, so be sure to keep yourself well hydrated while soaking, and ideally, take it near bedtime as it will help ensure a better night’s sleep.
For a ginger bath, peel the skin of fresh ginger root and then grate it using a fine grater until you have about a half cup. Add it to a warm bath and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. As it will likely make you sweat quite a bit for an hour or so afterward, plan to wear a bathrobe or clothes you don’t mind sweating in. To enhance the effects, sip a cup of ginger tea while you soak.
Cinnamon is not only a fabulous spice to smell and cook with, taking a cinnamon bath helps to warm the body and relieve congestion. It’s warming and a decongestion as well as being antiseptic and antiviral. They’ve been used for centuries as a part of spiritual purification in many cultural traditions as it’s know to help eliminate toxins in the body, particularly following an illness. It helps to cleanse, invigorate and even lift one’s mood. Similar to ginger, it’s also warming. On a cold day, it’s a fabulous way to help fight the chill. You can even add it to your daily cup of coffee for some incredible health benefits!
Using cinnamon sticks to make your bath is optimal, but you can use the powdered version as well. Either place three cinnamon sticks into a running bath, or use about one-quarter of ground cinnamon placed into a cheesecloth and then drop it in.
Roman Emperor Nero’s second wife, Poppaea Sabina, was said to have bathed in donkey’s milk to preserve the fairness of her complexion. It makes sense as milk contains lots of lactic acid, which happens to fall under the umbrella of alpha hydroxy acids that are known to help penetrate the top layers of the skin while stimulating new cell growth as well. It works as a natural exfoliant, to remove dead skin cells, revealing the fresh, younger looking skin that’s been hiding underneath. The lactic acid in milk extremely mild, so don’t worry, it won’t strip or irritate the skin. In fact, it’s actually quite soothing on dry skin.
The milk is also incredibly rich in vitamins and minerals that aid in slowing down the aging process while helping to maintain the skin’s natural elasticity. Plus the fat in the milk (be sure to use whole, full-fat milk) leaves the skin feeling incredibly soft and supple.
To use it, simply pour a cup of whole milk under the water when running a warm bath. You can also combine it with a half-cup of raw honey for added moisture that’s ideal for soothing dry skin. Once the tub is full, you can turn the water off and swish it around with your hand so that it blends in well.
While it might sound a bit gross, numerous therapeutic benefits have been attributed to bathing in seaweed. In fact, scientific studies have shown that it helps to reduce stress and relieve skin conditions like eczema, acne, and psoriasis. It’s also been found to be effective for relieving muscle aches and joint stiffness that’s associated with arthritis and rheumatism. A seaweed bath has also been linked to body toning and slimming as well as detoxification as it aids in eliminating toxins in the body.
While some spas offer seaweed treatments, you can take advantage of this sea plant right at home. A long soak in your own tub filled with a rich infusion of mineral-rich seaweed is said to be nearly as balancing, nourishing, and purifying as soaking in the Dead Sea or hot mineral springs. It’s naturally healing, moisturizing and anti-ageing, and is also rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-cellulite properties.
There are multiple types of seaweed that can be used but some of the best included knotted wrack kelp or bladder wrack kelp. All you need to do is add it to a hot bath and watch as the seaweed transforms the water to a rich brown hue as it releases its minerals. You can also add your favorite essential oil, which not only adds a pleasant scent but helps to hold the heat in. Allow the bath to cool enough so that you can get in, and as you soak the seaweed’s gel will be released so that it can seep into your skin. The coating also increases perspiration, which helps to release toxins from your body, replacing them by osmosis with minerals.
9. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is renowned for its medicinal benefits, whether taken internally or used externally, to treat a number of conditions. It’s one of the best ways to soothe the pain of a sunburn, and it’s excellent for fighting skin problems, including fungus and bacteria that settles on the skin. It also works to eliminate body odor and offers joint pain relief for those who suffer from conditions like gout, arthritis and just about any other inflammation-related condition. If you’re in need of a detox, an ACV bath is great for sweating those toxins out and even inducing a more restful night’s sleep too.
Apple cider vinegar is beneficial as it’s a rich source of vitamin C and B vitamins as well as containing powerful antibacterial properties. Plus, it can help balance the body’s pH levels too. As skin is the body’s largest organ, it sometimes needs assistance to remain balanced and healthy, and soaking in an ACV bath helps to nourish it to keep it that way.
To use it, fill your bath with warm to hot, but not too hot, water and then add one cup of apple cider vinegar. Soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Afterward follow with a cool shower to rinse off any excess vinegar.
Oatmeal makes a nutritious breakfast, but it also works wonders for the skin, particularly those with itchy, dry skin. In fact, you’ll absolutely love the way your skin feels after adding some to your bath. To do so, add about a half cup of oatmeal into a cheesecloth. Don’t add it directly to your bath or you’ll risk having a big tub filled with edible oatmeal. Drop the oatmeal-filled cheesecloth under the warm, running water and hop in for supple, soft skin.
By Susan Patterson