Looking throughout history, many civilizations had there own bath rituals. According to Medical Daily, these rituals were in place to serve a specific purpose. That purpose could have been for hygienic reasons, but also religious, therapeutic and/or social purposes.
In fact civilizations such as the Greeks were one of the first to develop showers systems, and from there other grand civilizations developed their own plumbing like systems, expanding on this, delivering indoor plumbing as well.
Bathhouses at this time were equivalent to the "spa-like" experiences, we have today. Of course, nowadays we know the importance of bathing as it relates to hygiene, but....
What does the research say about baths and relaxation?
Exercising in many different forms, such as aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliver and an emotional resilience to acute stress. But, if you're not the "exercising-type" person, maybe you can utilize a soothing bath to get a stress-reducing effect!
Using more recent, research-based studies, immersion bathing vs. showering have been looked at to compare physical and mental effects. In one such study published in Evidence Based Complimentary Alternative Medicine Journal, mood profile scores were significantly lower for stress, tension-anxiety, anger-hostility, and depression-dejection in the immersion bathing group. There were also self reports of better skin condition and health.
This same study discussed that "immersion bathing induces increased blood flow and metabolic waste elimination". The theory is that this alone can help you feel more refreshed, physically.
Your skin is also known to release endorphins (feel-good hormones) with warm water. So seemingly this could be an easy, therapeutic activity, to indulge in after a long day of work.
There have also been studies looking at cardiac output, and/or oxygen transport during immersion in different temperatures/pressures of water. Results have indicated increases in cardiac output when the body is immersed at warmer temperatures and specific pressures.
What About Pain Relief?
According to SpineUniverse.com, a warm bath can be an effective relief for painful back spasms, because of there muscle relaxing effects. Dr. Donald S. Corenman who treats patients with disorders such as degenerative disc disease to nerve compression, recommends certain at-home remedies, including hot baths, as these can help with blood flow and clean out lactic acid.
Science also backs up the usage of hydrotherapy ( or using water at varying temperatures to treat health conditions) as a way to help individuals deal with pain, self-efficacy, joint mobility; even balance and strength.
ArthirtisFoundation.org describes heat therapy, including warm water, as one of the oldest, cheapest and easiest forms of complementary therapies for conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and lower back pain.
How Can We Take It Up A Notch?
While a hot bath can help relieve tension in the body and ease the mind (like discussed above), adding a few little details may turn your bath from ordinary into extraordinary.
Here are some tips to get the most out of your bath for the most relaxing experience!
One quick-way to enhance your bath experience
is through the use of aromatherapy. There are various methods you can employ to
add this fragrant element to your bathing ritual. One option is through the use
of scented essential oils that can be added to the bathwater. Alternatively you could add Epson salts with infused aromas, such as lavender.
Essential oils are great because they have phytochemicals and if used correctly, can offer benefits to people, according to an article posted by Cleveland Clinic. The idea is that once inhaled (or absorbed) certain aroma's (oils) "simulate your central nervous system that triggers an emotional response".
*Never Directly Apply Essential Oils to Skin*
Aromatherapy methods include, candle-burning, diffusers, aroma from the oil bottle itself, dry evaporation, and or steam distillation.
Additionally, you can also use things such as bath bombs and soaps that employ calming fragrances such as chamomile, to soothe your mind and invite in the sense of pure-relaxation. While these methods are great, an even better option may be to go with a lovely fragrant soy wax candle. Soy is a long lasting type of wax, that has none of the hazards of most traditionally used paraffin waxes, coupled with an essential oil fragrance, may give you complete tranquility.
Another element that can enhance your bath and
deliver a more relaxing experience is investing in a fragrant and calming
moisturizing soap scrub. The benefits of this are twofold. First, you'll be able
to bathe in the pleasant scent that only a high-quality soap can deliver.
Secondly, you'll be able to enjoy moisturized and healthy skin that smells great long after your bath is over. Also, because soaking in a bathtub for an extended time may dry your skin, it is essential that your soap smells good and offers high moisturizing qualities!
Your sense of smell is not the only way you
can enhance your bath-time relaxation ritual. You can also add another soothing
element to your bath by putting on your favorite relaxing music to play in the
background as you soak.
Whenever you are playing your favorite mood-setting music, coupled with amazing fragrances from your soap, and the dancing light of candle fire, you will find yourself in a state of delightful bath-time bliss.
In fact did you know that Music Therapy for Relaxation is a thing...?
That's right, music can have effects on your emotions and your body, according to an article published by The University Of Nevada, Reno. A slower tempo rhythm may help to calm your mind, as well as relax your muscles, which are both necessities when taking a bath for relaxation, right!
So try some music at the time of your bath, and let us know what you think!
If you want to cap off your relaxing bath-time
experience, then don't forget to have a nice warm fluffy towel waiting for you
whenever you decide to exit, while sitting in a comfortable, relaxing warm bath, you
may never want to get out!
However, if there is a fluffy towel waiting to be wrapped around your body whenever you get out, leaving the bathtub becomes a much more pleasant experience. Ensuring that you have a nice soft, warm towel waiting for you when you get out is the perfect way to make sure you have a complete soothing experience that will calm you like few other things can.
There are tons of ways to enjoy a bath, these are some of the most frequently used, but also staples (because they work) on how to really take your experience to another level.
Please share other amazing ideas for enjoying your bath-time in the comments section of this blog post.
Hope to have you again soon!