After a pretty grueling week, we're looking at a wintery weekend ahead of us. At least that's how I am seeing it here in New York City. So I'm thinking of a long, relaxing bath to de-stress and unwind. It's been medically proven that immersing your body in water is therapeutic. Hydrotherapy can actually be traced back to 4500 BC in the areas that are now Egypt, Iraq, and Iran.
"The deep muscle relaxation that comes from a good hot bath helps to reduce cramps, tension headaches, and improves muscle elasticity," says the Josie Feria, the Director of Spa Operations at Lapis Spa, Fontainebleau Miami Beach. "The process is similar to a massage and beneficial for everyone from athletes to those who sit at a desk all day." So take some time to yourself this weekend, and follow Feria's tips to making the experience even more soothing.
Use Scented Bath Oil. Floral scents like lavender, jasmine, iris and rose are associated with relaxation and can help ease you into a calm state. Add oils to the tub when the bath is halfway full, this will help them disperse evenly throughout the water.
Get the Right Temperature. The Ideal water temperature for a warm bath is 92 degrees, which is somewhere between steamy and very warm. Be sure to use your wrist, not your hand, to test the water since your wrist is a better gauge of how the water will feel once your entire body is submerged.
Try a Body Scrub. Most people are used to being active all the time, so when they get in the tub their minds start racing and they become unable to relax. Try gently massaging your body with a sponge and body scrub. This will help engage your mind and buff away dryness leaving you with a clear head and soft skin.
Close Your Eyes. It is important to close your eyes during the bath to enter deep relaxation. Try cold cucumbers, an icy compress, or eye pads that have been soaked in chilled chamomile tea to depuff and make sure your eyes stay shut.
Bath Salts. Tough workout? Bath salts are like external muscle relaxants. If you have soreness, pain or swelling, bath salts reduce inflammation and stiffness. They help detoxify skin and increase circulation which helps to ease tension and revitalize the body.
Candles. Light a few candles and place them around the room and on the edge of the tub to get your body out of go mode and into relaxation mode.
Cold Water. A warm bath raises your bodys core temperature and makes you sweat. Before getting into the tub, set a bowl of ice water and a washcloth next to you and use it as a cold compress on your forehead or the nape of your neck to stay refreshed. It's also important to drink water during the bath to stay hydrated.
Get a Nice Bath Robe. Nothing jolts you out of a zen state like going from a warm, luxe bath to an old dingy towel. Get a plush terry cloth robe or fluffy towels that allow you to continue to feel warm and comfortable.
Relax Afterwards. Leave the smart phone alone for an hour or so and just enjoy the time to yourself with a cup of tea. Read, or listen to music, and if you want even more coziness, heat up a towel in the microwave and wrap it around your neck and take a deep and well-earned nap.