Epsom Salt Baths: Magnesium Absorption- Thomas DeLauer
Science Says Baths Can Reduce Inflammation And Beat Stress—Here’s How To Take Your Most Luxurious One Ever
There’s no doubt that taking a is one of the surest ways to experience relaxation and unwind at the end of a long day. But as it turns out, in addition to being a self-care staple, baths can give you many health benefits.
, MD, an integrative physician, director of New York City’s Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, and founder of Be Well, extols the health virtues of a good bath. The benefit that tops his list? Anti-inflammatory effects.
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“By reducing stress, you reduce inflammation,” Lipman says. “So by simply making the time to take a bath and relax, you can get anti-inflammatory benefits.” He adds that baths can also be an efficient way to lower cortisol, and through sweating, they can be a “nice way to detox and take care of your skin.”
Studies continue to back up these health boosts time and time again. For example, in 2019, one study reported that baths carry similar benefits to exercise, helping to burn calories and produce cardiovascular gains, which leads to lowered blood sugar. (Here are 7 sneaky signs your blood sugar is too high.)
And just like your mother told you, baths are still just the ticket when you’re feeling sick, particularly for easing troubled breathing.
“The steam can be very beneficial for your lungs,” says Lipman, who adds that a few drops of eucalyptus oil can enhance the breathing benefits. “It’s highly effective for supporting the respiratory system.”
MORE:4 Genius Ways Essential Oils Can Ease Congestion And Cough Better Than OTC Meds
So, what’s the magic number when it comes to taking baths? “I recommend anywhere between 1 and 4 times per week for 20 to 40 minutes,” Lipman says. “And make sure the water’s hot enough to promote sweating.”
Natural beauty experts agree with this frequency. Amanda Jo, founder of blog The Organic Bunny, says that she soaks twice a week for 15 to 30 minutes at a time. Natasha Uspensky, a holistic nutrition counselor and Ayurvedic practitioner, shares that she aims for an hour three times a week, “but even 20 or 30 minutes can yield massive benefits.”
Psst! Here are 10 signs you're way too stressed out:
Lipman says that certain products can build on the effectiveness of baths. “If you add essential oils, herbs, or salts to your bath, you can experience deeper relaxation, further detoxification, an increase in circulation, decrease in tension and muscle pain, and lessening of skin inflammation,” he says. His preferred products include Epsom salts, magnesium salt, almond milk, baking soda, fresh herbs, ginger, and fresh citrus.
Jessa Blades, a natural beauty expert and makeup artist, believes that it’s important to seek out health-benefitting products that also feel good to you personally. “When creating a bathing experience for yourself, make sure that it delights your personal senses and pleasure," she says. "If you don’t like lavender essential oil, then don’t use it. Find an essential oil that really speaks to you.” (These 5 essential oils may help treat your health conditions.) Blades thinks that setting the proper mood will lead to even less stress. She favors inspiring podcasts, beeswax candles, and a favorite scent, like sage, to turn your bathroom into a “healing oasis.”
Baths are rituals that are personal to each practitioner, but to fully immerse yourself in those health advantages, the right products are essential. Here are the best ones recommended by our natural beauty experts to create a bath that’s not only healthy and non-toxic, but incredibly luxurious as well.
Pursoma Digital Detox Bath
Blades sings the praises of this natural detox bath that acts as a sleep aid and helps to lift the tension and haze felt by those who spend hours on digital devices. (Here are 5 things that happened when one woman stopped bringing her phone to bed.)
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Kaia Naturals Charcoal Detox Hot Bath
After Jo fills her tub with clean bathwater (she has a home water filtration system that removes harmful contaminants), she soaks in these charcoal-rich bath salts. The activated charcoal draws out toxins, and essential oils serve as calming aromatherapy.
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MORE: 8 Healthy Uses For Activated Charcoal (And 3 You Can Skip)
Epsoak Everyday Unscented Epsom Salts
Uspensky swears by good, old-fashioned Epsom salts, like these salts that are a “high-quality USP grade” (a chemical grade of purity) and are “non-GMO.”
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Osmia Organics Organic Milk Bath
Both Jo and Blades love Osmia Organics products. This milk bath promises to soften the skin while offering soothing aromatherapy, carrying notes of chamomile, lavender, and rose geranium. (Dry skin? Slather on one of these 4 cooking oils that make the best natural moisturizers.)
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Plant Therapy Top 6 Singles Organic Essential Oils
As Lipman mentions, “detoxing oils” can “boost the benefits” of a bath, and Uspensky says this is an ideal starter set. It contains peppermint, sweet orange, eucalyptus, lemon, tea tree, and lavender essential oils.
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MORE: The 8 Best Essential Oil Diffusers For A Soothing At-Home Practice
Beauty by Earth Bath Bomb Gift Set
Bath bombs can be fun to watch as they dissolve, and can be quite the stress busters, too. Uspensky says that these bath bombs are “pre-infused with essential oils, moisturizers, and salts custom-blended for a variety of health concerns and applications.”
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Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Bath, Body & Massage Oil
Uspensky likes to apply this all-natural, hydrating oil “right before getting out of the bath to lock in moisture on my skin and further soothe frayed nerves.” She shares that oil massage is an ancient Ayurvedic self-care practice that elevates immunity and relieves stress. (Here's what happened when a Prevention editor went on a happiness retreat at an Ayurvedic center.)
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Weleda Arnica Massage Oil
Blades believes in the power of this massage oil, known for its ability to ease sore muscles after a bath.
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MORE: 10 Aromatherapy Candles That Can Make You Feel Happier And Less Stressed
Captain Blankenship Meteor Cosmic Freshening Spray
If aromatherapy is a focus of your bath practice, Jo suggests spritzing this spray while enjoying a steamy bath. “It’s a great way to clear your space and energy,” she says. The spray is scented with vetiver, ylang ylang, and pine. (After your bath, make sure to moisturize your skin with the !)
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The Beeswax Co. Tapered Votive Beeswax Candles
As you soak, set a tranquil scene with lit candles. Uspensky advises turning off overhead lights and burning candles instead. She prefers these candles because they’re all-natural and non-toxic, plus they’re unscented, so they won’t interfere with the aromatherapy effects of the bath. (While you're relaxing, try this simple meditation to beat the winter blues.)
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Roses, Whole Buds
Lipman asserts that adding fresh herbs to a bath maximizes health benefits, and dried roses can do just that. Roses are known for their antibacterial and aromatherapeutic properties. Blades orders her dried roses from Mountain Rose Herbs, creating a bath that improves well-being and smells amazing, too. Now that’s a recipe for good health.
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