To Soak or Not to Soak? That is the Question…
Soaking in a tub for 15 to 20 minutes. This was something I used to do weekly, years ago, when I practiced more common sense. Now, as a full-fledged adult, baths are something I always THINK about but never make the time for. Seriously, for years I have thought about them, researched their benefits, and encouraged others take them. Though over time I have deprived myself of the joy and ease they bring.
As a teenager, one of my favorite Friday night activities was not going out with friends or classmates in the new town I lived in; it was having a good soak followed by watching an old movie on Turner Classic Movies or AMC. Into my early 20’s I would find solace in the tub of the dingy apartment I shared with a roommate in NYC’s Chinatown. If I was on a business trip, it was a sure bet I soaked in the tub before going to sleep. Though as I got older, this beautiful bath ritual faded away. Somehow I no longer carved the time out for it as I was always “doing something.” I’m not sure why a regular soak was no longer “doing something.” Does this resonate with you? It is now time to get back to soaking: to take time supporting my health with a simple bath.
Looking back, I realize how a “simple bath” gave me a calming ritual no matter where I was. A tub was always a tub; providing the foundation for a few minutes of healing.
Myriad civilizations realized the necessity of bathing well before “science” was borne and deemed the only discipline that proves anything. There is much research behind and lived experience proving the importance of bathing in water from a health and healing perspective. Heck, there are even fancy words to describe the vast water therapies out there such as balneotherapy and thalassotherapy to name a few. For now my only intention is to:
Propose that the simple act of soaking in a tub is a way to love ourselves. A weekly soak allows us to pause and partake in an ancient ritual that is: accessible, simple yet elegant and effective in calming the nervous system yet stimulating our bodily processes.
Are you ready to get into the tub? Following is my version of a “Perfect Bath”:
- Draw a bath where the water is 100°-110° F
- Ensure there is enough water in the tub so a full-body immersion is possible; where the water is up to your neck and covering your heart
- Mix the following together into a bowl:
- 1-2 cups Magnesium Chloride or Magnesium Sulfate
- 1-2 cups Dead Sea Salt
- 5 – 10 drops Essential oils of your choice put into a dispersing agent*
- Empty the aromatic salt mixture into the tub and swish it around as you slowly immerse your self into the tub*
- Spend 15-20 Minutes spent soaking in the tub
- Once you are done, slowly get out of the tub, dry off and wrap yourself up
- Post Soaking:
- Sip on a glass of warm to room temperature water to re-hydrate as you are winding down
- Sit comfortably or lay down to let your pulse and body temperature regulate
*Notes and tips:
- Essential oils (EOs) are lipophilic by nature, meaning they are not readily soluble in water. Some EOs, like peppermint, may be dermal and mucus membrane irritants. For safety purposes, it is best to disperse and solubilize EOs in fatty/lipid substances like a nut/seed oil, powdered or liquid milk (coconut milk is a lovely option), honey or into bath salts.
- Always put EOs into the carrier mixture FIRST and then stir the mixture around in the bath water as you go into the bath. Why? EOs are volatile and readily dissapate into the air. They are providing less benefit in the kitchen or hallway when you want them in the vapors of the bathroom.
Water is a gift. Allow yourself to be supported by the container of a tub as you relax into the universal gift of water.
I’d like to give a “shout out” to Hellen Yuan, the incredible founder of hellennewyork. She fully embraced the healing art of soaking as a part of her healing process and has curated beautiful bathing experiences for others to immerse themselves into.