The Ultimate Guide to a Spa Quality Relaxing Bath

How to Have a Relaxing Bath

As a Mum, finding the time to run yourself a bath and then enjoy it is rare.

So when you do get the opportunity, you want to make the most of it, right? You want to relax to the max.

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of bubble bath and a head rest, it does the trick, but if you are serious about relaxation there is a lot more you can do.

Here, I will take you through a few easy extra steps you can take to 10x your soak in the tub, leaving you feeling fresh, calm, and relaxed.

Before that though, let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits of a nice warm bath.

The Rejuvenating Power of a Hot Bath

Immersing yourself in a warm, soothing bath is a revitalising experience, offering a multitude of benefits that extend far beyond mere relaxation.

This age-old ritual has been celebrated across cultures for its ability to alleviate physical discomfort, promote mental clarity, and cultivate a sense of serenity.

From the Japanese tradition of onsen to the Roman bathhouses, the art of bathing has been revered for its healing properties.

Elevated Mood and Emotional Well-being

The simple act of submerging yourself in warm water can have a profound impact on your emotional state.

According to psychologist Neil Morris, who surveyed 80 individuals, bathing can diminish feelings of depression and pessimism due to the “wonderful combination of isolation, quiet, and comfort” it provides.

The sensation of being enveloped in liquid warmth evokes a sense of security akin to being in the womb, creating a sense of comfort and ease.

Improved Sleep Quality

For those struggling to achieve restorative sleep, a warm bath before bedtime can be a game-changer.

As our body temperatures naturally drop at night, signalling the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, a warm bath can accelerate this process.

By raising your body temperature and subsequently allowing it to cool rapidly upon exiting the bath, you can effectively prime your body for a more restful slumber.

Relief from Muscle Pain and Stiffness

The therapeutic warmth of a bath can work wonders for sore or tight muscles, promoting increased blood flow and circulation.

The addition of Epsom salts, rich in anti-inflammatory properties, can further alleviate joint inflammation caused by conditions such as arthritis or muscular diseases.

For those living with metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes, salt baths have been shown to provide relief from associated discomfort.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Regular warm baths can contribute to improved heart health by reducing blood pressure, a significant factor in preventing more severe conditions like heart attacks or strokes.

The heat-induced dilation of blood vessels and improved circulation provide a gentle, low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise, offering benefits akin to a brisk walk.

Relief from Cold and Flu Symptoms

The steam generated by a hot bath can help clear out congested sinuses and persistent coughs. ‘Steaming’ is actually a technique used by singers to keep their sinuses clear.

The warmth and humidity help to loosen mucus blockages in the nasal passages, providing relief from the discomfort of respiratory ailments.

Furthermore, the elevated body temperature can bolster the immune system’s ability to combat viruses more effectively.

Soothing for Irritated Skin

While scalding hot baths can exacerbate skin irritation, a warm bath, when combined with soothing ingredients like coconut oil, olive oil, lavender, or oatmeal, can hydrate and heal dry or irritated skin.

The added benefits of aromatherapy can further contribute to regulating mood and reducing stress levels.

Increased Alertness and Wakefulness

Contrary to the belief that baths can induce drowsiness, the sweating and subsequent cooling process can actually leave you feeling refreshed and more awake.

As Shannon Vaughn, founder of Pursoma, explains, “That’s a kind of activity in and of itself—so afterwards people tend to feel refreshed.” While a bath may aid in achieving deeper sleep, it can also provide an invigorating boost of energy.

Preparing the Room

Preparing for a Bath

Crafting the perfect relaxing bath requires more than just filling the tub with water.

To truly immerse yourself in a spa-like experience, thoughtful preparation is necessary to make sure all of the right elements are in place.

First, ensure that you have ample time to switch off without any interruptions or time constraints. No pending tasks on the horizon. Select a window when you can truly disconnect from the demands of daily life and fully embrace the moment of tranquillity.

Make sure you have something nice and soft to put one once you get out too, a plush robe or fluffy towels (preferably Turkish or Egyptian long-cotton).

Setting the Ambiance

Create a serene atmosphere by removing any clutter or distractions from the bathroom area.

Strategically place scented and unscented candles around the space, and consider dimming or turning off the lights for a more calming ambiance.

Enhance the sensory experience by playing soothing music and supporting your head and neck with a rolled-up hand towel or a dedicated bath cushion.

Cleansing Before the Soak

To truly indulge in the bath as pure luxury, it’s recommended to shower beforehand.

It sounds odd, but this ensures you enter the tub feeling refreshed and clean, allowing you to fully savour the experience.

If you prefer to wash your hair during the bath instead, loosely bundle it atop your head to keep it dry from the shower.

Running the Ideal Bath

Running a Bath

With the preparations in place, it’s time to focus on creating the perfect bath experience.

Fill the bathtub to the desired depth, leaving enough room to prevent overflow when you step in. The deeper the water, the more immersive and relaxing the experience will be. Aim to step into a fully prepared bath, rather than sitting in it as it fills.

There is no universal “perfect” bath temperature, as individual preferences vary. Most people find comfort in a bath slightly warmer than their body temperature, typically ranging from 37°C to 40°C (98.6°F to 104°F).

Choosing Your Pampering Additions

Enhance your bath with indulgent additions that cater to your personal preferences.

Some options to consider include:

  • Bubble Bath: While bubble baths can be delightfully indulgent, it’s important to be mindful of potential skin irritation or dryness. If you don’t have any sensitivities, feel free to enjoy the luxurious bubbles.
  • Essential Oils: Essential oils can transform your bath into an aromatic haven, but choose wisely to avoid irritation. Opt for soothing options like chamomile, lavender, or rose, and avoid more potent oils like peppermint, cinnamon, tea tree, or thyme. To ensure proper dispersion, mix 5-20 drops of essential oil with 5-20 drops of a solubilising agent like solubol before adding to the bath.
  • Epsom Salt: While research on the benefits of Epsom salt baths is limited, generations of bath enthusiasts have sworn by their ability to soothe sore muscles and promote deep relaxation. A small study by Dr. Rosemary Waring at the University of Birmingham found increased levels of magnesium and sulfate in the bloodstream after an Epsom salt bath, potentially contributing to pain reduction. For a standard-sized bath, sprinkle in 2 cups of Epsom salt.
  • Avoid Bath Bombs: While bath bombs can be visually appealing, they are generally not recommended for a truly relaxing bath. Not only can they leave the tub feeling messy and difficult to clean, but they may also cause irritation in intimate areas. No thank you.

Maximising Your Time in the Tub

Enjoying a Bath

With the bath perfectly prepared, it’s time to immerse yourself in the warm embrace of the water and allow the relaxation to wash over you.

The ideal duration for soaking in the tub is between 15 and 30 minutes. This timeframe allows for sufficient muscle relaxation and mental unwinding without excessive dehydration or skin dryness. While you can certainly extend your soak if desired, be mindful of the potential impact on your skin.

For those seeking to deepen their relaxation further, the bath can serve as an ideal setting for meditation or mindfulness practices. Alternatively, some may prefer to simply bask in the tranquillity, allowing their mind to wander freely or engaging in a favourite leisure activity, such as reading or listening to music.

Facial Care

While it may be tempting to cleanse your face during the bath, particularly if you’ve added essential oils or Epsom salts, it’s generally recommended to avoid doing so.

Instead, focus on fully relaxing and allowing your skin to soak in the nourishing benefits of the bath.

While not strictly necessary, some individuals find that splashing their face with cold water after a hot bath can be invigorating and help to close pores. However, this step is entirely optional and should be based on personal preference.

Emerging Refreshed and Revitalised

As your bath comes to an end, take a moment to savour the sense of renewal and rejuvenation that has washed over you.

Step out of the tub with care, ensuring a secure footing, and envelop yourself in the plush comfort of your pre-prepared robe and towels.

Have a brief lay down on a freshly made bed and enjoy the lasting effects of your bath, allowing the benefits to linger long after you’ve emerged from the water.

Carry this sense of tranquillity with you as you transition back into your daily routine, feeling refreshed, revitalised, and ready to tackle whatever lies ahead.