6 Tips for the Best Bath & 12 Ingredients to Add

6 Tips for the Best Bath & 12 Ingredients to Add

When people think of an ideal way to relax, a nice hot bath is usually what comes to mind. However, there are a few lesser-known tips and tricks that can take your bath from a simple relaxation to a full-blown healing, medically therapeutic investment!

Before you dive in, however, be sure you follow these tips for the best cleansing bath you’ve ever had:

1. Some like it hot…but not too hot!

How hot can you stand it? For some, if it feels like bathing in a bubbling cauldron of bliss, it’s just the right temperature. But did you know that superheated baths actually get your nervous system revved up? In actuality, there’s a threshold of heat where the relaxation is just a bit of an illusion. If you’re pregnant, this is especially important; keep your baths to a maximum of about 37˚C (100˚F) — just barely above body temperature!

Not only is your nervous system…well, a little nervous, but homeostatically it can be a bad idea to start boiling your system. Contrary to popular belief, if you can’t sleep, a piping hot bath is actually more likely to keep you awake than soothe you to sleep.

The most relaxing baths are not quite piping hot. If you are bathing for sedation or specifically to help you sleep, keep the temperature easy on your body.

2. Keep it cool

Ever feel wilted and sluggish after a hot bath? You may have even gotten a headache afterwards. Avoid this post-bath syndrome by keeping your head, hands, feet, or all three cool with a cold washcloth, ice cubes wrapped in a towel, or pouring cold water on these spots on occasion. They are your body’s ideal spots to release heat, which is important.

Your body isn’t actually too fond of getting too hot when it doesn’t have a chance to release heat. This creates an artificial fever. An artificial fever has its uses, but it can also have some unpleasant side effects, such as headaches. Give your body some opportunity to shed some heat. Your core body temperature will still go up (and you’ll get the benefits of that), but it will cause less physiological stress. You may be quite surprised at how much this improves your experience.

3. Make it a massage time

Treat yourself completely with a little self-massage, perhaps to release tension in trigger points. You can try something like a self-abhyanga massage after your bath, or you bring a ball into the bath with you and trap it under your body to apply pressure to stiff and aching muscles. Simply run a warm bath, and trap a ball between your body and the bottom or back of the tub to rub your back muscles — your buoyancy allows for excellent control over moderate pressures without being too intense.

4. Stay hydrated, my friends!

Guess what? Even if your bath is only slightly warmer than your body, your systems start to attempt to cool you off in the way it knows best: sweating! You can end up losing a lot of valuable fluid this way, so do yourself a favor and drink plenty of liquids before, during and after to replenish your body.

Choose liquids that are indeed hydrating rather than any diuretics, such as caffeinated tea, alcohol (sorry, bath wine!), or coffee. Instead, try a refreshing cool lemon water! This way, you will also help avoid a post-bath headache.

5. Lower back love

If you have lower back pain, a hot bath is the treatment for you! It’s even better than trying to ice it (which might even be on the harmful side).

The myth that a hot bath will only worsen the “inflamed” back is simply not true. The great majority of low back pain is essentially muscular in nature, contrary to the popular and mistaken view that it’s usually caused by something “mechanical” like a intervertebral disc herniation. Specifically, the cause of most back pain is myofascial trigger points (“knots” in your muscles), which can cause far more grief than most people realize — and yet they are relatively treatable. A little reassurance, rubbing, and a hot bath go a surprisingly long way, even with the most horrendous case of low back pain. A hot bath is amazingly good therapy for back pain, and the price sure is right.

Once again, trigger points are eased by heat, and usually irritated by cold.

6. Deep bath breathing

What better place to “blow off steam” breathing than in the bath? Controlling your breath moves energy throughout your body, and with the right technique, can be a hugely helping hand in relaxation.

Conscious, deeper breathing is always relaxing, grounding, and embodying. It can make you more comfortable in your own skin. But it seems to be particularly effective in a hot bath.

Now that you’re a bath pro, discover what bath ingredient is best for you! For example, did you know that by adding tea bags into your bath, you can help your body balance its energy and hormones, aid in clearing it of toxins, and also provide the anti-aging benefits of antioxidants? Check out this infographic, and see what ingredients you’d like to start trying.

Bathtime



7 Tools for Managing Overwhelming Emotions

7 Tools for Managing Overwhelming Emotions

Let’s face it – sometimes emotions get the best of us. Once we are triggered, it is tough to be in pain and not do something that essentially makes it worse. It’s much easier to numb the pain temporarily, but unfortunately those coping methods tend to have negative consequences. Basically, we get into the habit of choosing short-term symptom relief rather than addressing the core issue. You know what I’m talking about. How many of you have used alcohol to cope with your feelings of stress or sadness? How many of you ended up in much worse pain the next day or, worse, by the end of the night in tears in front of people you don’t quite trust?

Other popular unhealthy coping methods include: TV, drugs, sex, cigarettes, food, gambling, prescription pills, and the ever so popular sweeping-it-under-the-rug method. I must admit these methods are very tempting, but we all know how they end. What’s worse is that we still engage in these behaviors. Why?! Well for one, these unhealthy solutions work very well in the immediate. The second reason is that they are much easier to engage in and usually come with pleasure.

What are we hiding from, though? It’s funny, but when you think about it, we are only hiding from negative emotion. What’s an emotion? Is it going to kill us? Is it going to last forever? Sometimes emotions can feel that they are going to last forever, but the answer is no. All emotions crescendo and then dissipate. They imitate movement like a sign curve. Keeping this in mind would make it a lot easier to navigate our emotions. In order to deal with overwhelming emotions it is helpful to have a tool belt to reach for in times of distress. Here are a few of these less dangerous, and unfortunately, less fun, ways of dealing with these pesky negative emotions:

  1. Put it in perspective

Sometimes when you take a step back and think about what is really important to you, the problem that you think you are experiencing becomes very small. Ask yourself, “Will I still be in this much pain in one week? A month? One year from now? Will I remember this as significant? When I die do I want to remember this as something I spent a lot of time on?

Death is the ultimate teacher. Life is precious because it is limited. Nothing is worth sacrificing our happiness for. Nothing. It is impossible to control outside events that cause disturbance within, but it is completely in our control to either hang on or let it go. When we cling or feed the negative emotion, it robs us of our limited time on this planet. You are not your thoughts, your emotions, your body, or your things. Do not let death teach you this at the last minute.

  1. Engage in an act of self love

Many people understand being physically ill and respect it as painful. If you get sick, oftentimes your loved ones will tell you, “You poor thing. Go home and take a hot bath!” But there is a double standard when it comes to being in pain from emotions. If you don’t feel well emotionally, it can be tough to find an empathetic ear. We all get scared to share our emotions at times. We are ultimately afraid to hear, “Suck it up or get over it.” These words do more harm than good. If you are not feeling well emotionally, I challenge you to engage in acts of self-love as if you were physically ill. Go home. Take a hot bath. Sleep. You never know, it might make you feel a little better to take care of yourself. The idea would be to soothe with the 5 senses. Find activities that are soothing to your each of your senses:

  • Sight: Look at the sunset
  • Sound: Listen to relaxing music
  • Touch: Get a massage or go to yoga
  • Smell: Aromatherapy in a nice hot bath
  • Taste: Eat something that brings up good memories or give yourself that treat you love!
  1. Put a time limit on it

When we are hurt it is so easy to get lost in the rabbit hole. In the rabbit hole we become the emotions and thoughts that are plaguing us. We ruminate and get lost in trying to solve a problem that is unsolvable. We feed the emotion by believing the catastrophic thoughts that come up like, “I hate him and myself for trusting him. He never liked me and was just using me the whole time. I never want to see him again. I am going to call his parents and tell them what a bad person he is.”

Instead of letting these thoughts come and go we might actually act on them. We feel so horrible that we avoid people, stay in bed for weeks at a time, drink too much, or eat too much. In order to avoid this, put a time limit on it. Tell yourself that you are going to think or talk about this problem for only one hour a day until it is resolved or you come to acceptance. Once the hour is over, choose an activity that is the opposite of the emotion you are feeling to change your mood.

If you are sad, listen to happy music. If there is anger, watch a comedy on TV. If you are stressed and tense, go take a yoga class. Everyone deserves a break from time to time. Do not let one area of your life that is causing you pain engulf your entire world. You have the ultimate control over your happiness.

  1. Let the negative energy pass through you

Negative emotion is just negative energy. It does not help to squash it down, numb it or avoid it. The only way, is to face it head on and allow it to pass through you. This takes some bravery on your part. You must allow yourself to feel the pain. There are some tools that can help while you do this. You can allow yourself to get the support you need. Oftentimes, it is very difficult to be vulnerable and admit to others that you are having a hard time. In order to move the negative energy through your body it helps to talk to another trusted person. You can also release the energy by exercising, writing in a journal, or simply relaxing your body and letting your preconceived notions of how it “should” be, go.

  1. Observe the emotion

You are not the emotion or your thoughts. You can take a step back and witness what your thoughts and emotions do when there is a disturbance. Watch the thoughts or self-talk get faster as they ask you to fix them before they become abusive. Watch the emotion crescendo and dissipate. Do not avoid. Avoidance makes the emotion and the thoughts louder. Allow yourself to have the emotion, don’t fight it, and don’t escalate it by falling down the rabbit hole and attaching to the thoughts. Eventually it will pass. You do not really need to do anything for the pain to subside. It will on its own.

By this, I do not mean that you should not deal with your problems. By all means take care of yourself and your responsibilities. Just do not make decisions when you are in a heightened state. Wait until the emotion passes and then solve the problem. You will be able to see much clearer once the intensity has lessened.

  1. Delay, distract, and then decide

This tool, created by Marsha Linehan, is useful in order to inhibit negative reaction to a negative emotion. Many times, if we make a decision in the emotion it will make it worse. Basically, any negative urge or craving lasts for about 20 to 30 minutes. Help yourself by delaying your reaction and any subsequent actions for 20 to 30 minutes with a distraction.

You can go to work, help someone else, go for a walk, take a break from the trigger, read, or watch a movie. Once the time is up, make a pros and cons list as to whether your reaction is worth doing. Usually you will decide not to react the original way you had planned. For instance, slashing your boyfriend’s tires out because he lied to you probably won’t seem like such a good idea once some of the anger has passed.

  1. Become aware of your physical and emotional vulnerabilities

Sometimes our emotions can get the best of us when we are not feeling well. Become aware of your triggers. Ask yourself if you have any physical or emotional vulnerabilities that are getting in the way of managing your emotions. Some of these vulnerabilities are: hunger, lack of sleep, injury, illness, stress, lack of support, crisis, past trauma, negative core beliefs, etc. If you notice that the current problem is escalated due to one or more of these factors you may want to try to take care of the vulnerability first in order to prevent and manage the escalation of your emotion.

Embrace Your Emotions

My wish for us all is to start viewing negative emotion as an opportunity to practice these new skills rather than allowing the emotion to be a threat to our self-concept or survival. We do not have to fight and we do not need to flee (run or avoid). I hope that one or more of these resonates with you, and the next time you are in the emotion, you can remember to pull this list out of your wallet. Remember that it will pass, it is ok to have the emotion, and above all else you don’ t necessarily need to do anything. Let go and let it pass through you, because it will!

If you would like to learn more please visit or contact me at Good Therapy San Diego.

This article was inspired by The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

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