Is there anything that feels better during the cold winter months than a long soak in the tub? Forget the misery of freezing temperatures, getting soaked by rain or snow, and shivering in the icy wind. Perhaps you’ve had a tough or stressful day at work, the kids are fighting, or you’re just feeling down with the short days. Lay back in the warm water and feel your body start to relax as the tension eases away. Add some soft music, candlelight, even a glass of wine! But most important of all, add some essential oils.
Used for centuries for their therapeutic properties, essential oils can help to achieve the perfect environment for ultimate relaxation. The correct oil can also help with physiological and psychological ailments such as inflammation, muscle soreness, skin problems, sinus and respiratory congestion, insomnia, stress, PMT or menopause symptoms, and so much more. So, create a collection of the finest essential oils to achieve the perfect bathtime experience.
What are the benefits of adding essential oils to your bath?
An Essential Oil Bath Can Relieve Stress and Anxiety
It’s not easy to shut out anxiety, worries and negative thoughts. And the effect of shorter days and lack of natural sunlight on the body can also enhance this negativity and increase depression. Whilst many may think that a long soak in the bath is just an indulgence (and seriously, who doesn’t deserve a little “me” time anyway?!), a study has demonstrated that immersing the body in warm water can increase blood flow, in addition to metabolic waste elimination. Adding essential oils takes this to the next level, with many oils known for their ability to induce calm and relaxation, diminish stress, anxiety, negativity and mental fatigue, and even increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is a key factor in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is caused by the lack of natural sunlight and can cause depression, fatigue, etc.
Try: Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Rose, Bergamot.
An Essential Oil Bath Can Improve Sleep Quality
Not everyone has the ability to get into bed, drop off to sleep quickly and then sleep soundly all night, awakening feeling totally refreshed and rejuvenated. You may find it difficult to fall asleep or keep waking up. Yet quality sleep is vital to our wellbeing. During this time the immune system is strengthened, our internal organs, muscles and cells are repaired and replenished, the brain is strengthened as nerve cells communicate and reorganise, and energy is restored. Having a warm bath signals the pineal gland in our brain to produce the sleep hormone, melatonin, which aids in a smoother sleep pattern. It also helps to lower the body’s core temperature which further aids sleep. Essential oils are well known for their abilities to enhance sleep, acting as natural sedatives, clearing anxiety, stress, relaxing the body and mind, interacting with neurotransmitters and even influencing melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Try: Lavender, Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Frankincense.
Top Picks for a Great Night’s Sleep
An Essential Oil Bath Can Relieve Pain and Soothe Sore Muscles
The warm water not only helps to soothe sore muscles, aches and stiffness, but also increases blood circulation. Essential oils have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and circulation enhancing properties to further relieve pain and reduce aching and soreness. A prefect panacea to relieve the discomfort of arthritis.
Try: Eucalyptus, Geranium, Frankincense.
Managing arthritis the natural way
An Essential Oil Bath Can Treat Colds and Flu
The steam from a hot bath is ideal to help clear congested nasal passages, reduce the itching of a tickly throat and overall promote easier breathing. Add the right essential oils and you can really up the ante to bring instant relief to the symptoms of colds and flu. With proven antiviral and antibacterial properties, and also natural decongestants, they can help to reduce inflammation, break down and expel mucus in the respiratory tract and sinuses, eliminate any associated headache, reduce a fever, and deter coughing and a sore throat.
Try: Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Frankincense, Tea Tree, Lemon.
An Essential Oil Bath Can Lower Blood Pressure and Improve Heart Health
Did you know that immersing your body in hot water can have the same effect as a mini workout in terms of benefits to the heart. Soaking in a warm tub helps to dilute the blood vessels and lower blood pressure, as well as increasing blood circulation thereby improving blood flow to and from the heart. According to one study, a daily hot or warm bath can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by 28%, and the risk of a stroke by 26%. Choose an essential oil which helps with relaxation and improves blood circulation.
Try: Lavender, Ylang-ylang, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Geranium.
An Essential Oil Bath Can Bring Relief for PMS or Menopause
Do you suffer with PMS or are currently going through the menopause? Lie back and let essential oils work their magic on your hormones and reduce or eliminate some of those symptoms. They can help to balance the hormones and regulate the menstrual cycle, and alleviate the symptoms of PMS, improving depression and anger and restoring mental and metabolic balance, promoting blood circulation, relieving cramps and reducing bloating and breast tenderness. By stimulating the secretion of salivary estrogen they can help with the menopause by eliminating symptoms associated with reduced estrogen, such as mood swings, depression, sleeping disorders, hot flashes and pain.
Try: Rose, Geranium, Jasmine.
An Essential Oil Bath Can Enhance the Skin
Is the winter affecting your skin? Is your skin dry, itchy or inflamed? Essential oils can be a valuable aid to skin care, helping to relieve skin irritation, reducing inflammation, helping with conditions such as eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and acne, rehydrating dry skin, promoting wound healing and reducing the signs of ageing.
Try: Frankincense, Rose, Geranium, Myrrh, Lavender.
Bath Safety with Essential Oils
It’s always worth reiterating that oils and water do not mix. Essential oils are very potent and cannot be applied directly to the skin. As such, they cannot just be dropped into the water as they will lie on the surface and come into contact with the skin, and undiluted essential oils can cause skin irritation and even burning.
How to Use Essential Oils in the Bath
An Essential Oil bath using a Carrier Oil
This method is the most moisturising for your skin, and perfect for the winter months. As previously mentioned, you can even apply this to the body before you step into the bath! Likewise you can coat your skin with the floating oil.
How to use: Mix 5-20 (max 10 of peppermint) with 1 tablespoon of your chosen carrier oil, and add to a bathtub of hot water, or alternatively smooth over the skin.
Please take extra care when getting in and out of the bath as the oils can make the bath very slippery and hazardous.
An Essential Oil bath using Bubble Bath
Now who doesn’t think that the ultimate bath experience consists of laying back in thousands of hot soapy bubbles? It certainly has my vote! Add to that a great aroma, and the associated benefits are just the icing on the cake!
How to use: Add one teaspoon of essential oil/carrier oil mix (as per above) and mix with an application from your favourite bubble bath. Por under running water to maximise the bubbles., we like to use the method above (combining your essential oil with a carrier oil), then add that to
An Essential Oil bath using Bath Salts
Aching muscles, stiffness, pain or anxiety? Further enhance the effects of the essential oils by adding to some epsom salts. An age-old remedy to reduce inflammation and full of therapeutic benefits in their own right, mixing in some essential oils makes for an unbeatable relaxing, muscle soothing bath. Alternatively you can use Dead Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt.
To use: add 15-20 drops of essential oil to 2 cups if epsom salt. Mix well and add to running hot water.
Note: when using essential oils it is always best to add them to the running water just as you are ready to enter the bath, thus ensuring that the aroma does not dissipate too quickly and the therapeutic benefits are not lost before you get in the bath. For best results close the bathroom door to keep the aroma locked in. Better still, enclose the bath with a shower curtain.
Extra caution must be taken getting in and out of the bath, since oil can make the bath slippery.
Experience the versatility and awesome benefits of essential oils this winter. Soothe aches and pains and allow the aromatic warm water to calm your mind and beat the doldrums.