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.
10 Signs That You're a Free Spirit
When we think of the term, “free spirit,” we imagine a person who steers their own course in life, unencumbered by common burdens or concerns. Some look at those who identify as free spirits as being irresponsible or childish, though this mindset offers lessons to inform us how we can live life on our own terms.
If you’re someone who considers yourself an independent thinker or doer, who pushes against society’s envelope and is deeply committed to finding your own path, you may be a free spirit. Are you curious as to whether the free spirit path is for you?
Ten Signs You’re A Real Free Spirit
If you identify with any of these signs, chances are you have a free spirit waiting to be let loose into the world!
1. You’re Independent-Minded
Independent people thrive on listening to their own voices, regardless of the situation or circumstance. This key personality trait of the free spirit is a common one in innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative artists, as an independent streak also relies on a strong foundation and belief in oneself.
Are you the person in the room who always finds a new way of looking at things? Free spirits defy expectations and will always see the unexpected in equally unlikely ways. These kinds of thinkers can be great assets on a creative team, as they will always find a new way to look at an idea. Free spirits are also incredible advocates for innovation, as they are not afraid to stand up and for their ideas, no matter how much it veers from the rest of the crowd.
2. Fear Doesn’t Stop You
Dale Carnegie said, “Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.” Free spirits feel fear, but they don’t allow that feeling to be something that stops them. Instead, a free spirit will work through the fear and let it serve as a motivating factor. In fact, most free spirits will tell you that any success is not worth having unless it’s achieved with a healthy dose of moving through fear.
3. You Have a Strong Spine.
While it can be said that free spirits go with the flow of life, they accomplish it with a healthy and strong sense of self. This translates into living with intention and purpose and one that is not defined by anyone else. A free spirit walks the talk and in many cases, creates the language that makes up the talk.
4. Free From Attachment
To live as a free spirit, one has to be willing to let go, or walk away from the things that might weigh others down such as conventional relationships, careers, and other traditional trappings of modern life.
You might find a free spirit selling their material goods and living in a van, or not staying tethered to one place for very long. Or perhaps a free spirit may choose to live simply with a commitment to not participating in consumerism. Minimalism is often a choice of free spirits as this lifestyle embodies freedom from many of the things that weigh us down. Free spirits enjoy their own company and thrive on solo time, and putting themselves first.