An aromatherapy bath is a wonderful reviving experience with essential oils added to your regular bath water. It can act as a sensual or therapeutic experience depending on the type of bath oils used. It delivers a synergistic combination of the benefits of essential oils with the relaxing powers of a hot water bath or the re-energizing effects of a cold bath. There are several benefits of aromatherapy baths such as – relief from anxiety and stress, ease tense muscles and a sensual prelude to a romantic night.
Benefits of aromatherapy bath
The benefits of aromatherapy baths are many for it is an effective way for essential oils to penetrate the body uniformly and safely. It helps as a moisturizer that produces lovely soft skin, it detoxifies the body, opens pores and deodorizes too. Apart from these, it offers other benefits too.
Sedative effects are the natural outcome of a warm bath for it has a calming effect. Warm water improves blood flow and relaxes stressed muscles. A research conducted on a group of women at the ‘Sleep Disorder Center’, McLean Hospital, Belmont found that when they had a bath in temperatures of 40-40.5 C, they enjoyed uninterrupted sleep. When essential oils such as chamomile, lavender and sandalwood are added to warm bath water, it reduced anxiety and had a soothing effect.
Relieve Pain: Essential oils such as peppermint, chamomile, lavender and marigold have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. When these oils are added to bath water, they can reduce joint pain, relax muscles and contribute to pain relief.
Benefits to Respiratory System: Steam is often said to relieve respiratory conditions such as sinusitis, congestion, sore throat and cough. Add relevant essential oils like pine, eucalyptus and peppermint to a hot bath and you can get quick relief from severe symptoms of cough, cold and other respiratory conditions. A combination of essential oils, hot bath and steam open up blocked airways and help in draining of mucus.
Steps involved in aromatherapy bath
Some of the steps involved in taking an aromatherapy bath include:
decide the purpose of your bath
- choosing the essential oils for the bath
- choosing the quantity of oils required
- choosing the temperature of the water
Choosing essential oils depend on the benefits of aromatherapy baths that you wish to enjoy. For this, you must understand the best oils for various purposes and then decide if you want a therapeutic bath, relaxing or stimulating bath.
Purpose of the aromatherapy bath
You can opt for a relaxing aromatherapy bath by providing the right ambience with soft lights, a closed door, soft music, light a couple of aromatherapy candles, bath pillow etc. Use warm water and enjoy your bath for at least 30 minutes to absorb all the benefits of essential oils. Enjoy the steam in the bathroom for an extra few minutes after you step out of your bath.
A stimulating aromatherapy bath is usually had with cold water. Again, you can add lighted candles, spices etc. to stimulate the atmosphere. Add relevant oils and you can prepare your skin by brushing it before your bath. Soak for 2-5 minutes, rinse with cold water that your skin can tolerate, step out and slap yourself with a towel to simulate a tingling sensation. This will make you feel energized and fresh.
Aroma shower is an alternate to a bath for those who are busy. Just step under a shower, add 2-3 drops of an essential oil to a wet sponge and rub all over while standing under a warm or cold shower.
Choosing the quantity of oils
The ideal recipe for an aromatherapy bath is:
- 1 teaspoon of carrier / nourishing oil such as avocado oil, sweet almond oil, apricot oil
- 5 drops of essential oil
Blend the oils together and store in a dark place in a glass bottle. Add teaspoon at a time in a bath. Mix the water well to ensure all the oils are dispersed in the water before stepping into the tub. Never add undiluted essential oils directly in bath water for they will irritate the skin.
Choosing the temperature of the water – Your personal preference and recommendations of the doctor will guide the temperature of water for your aromatherapy bath.
- A cold bath has temperatures ranging from 70-80 ºF. You feel stimulated after such a bath for it improves breathing, circulation and muscle activity. It also aids several skin problems. The normal time spent in the bath should be no more than 5 minutes.
- A warm bath is taken in water temperature varying between 80-93ºF. This is the most comfortable water temperature for a relaxing bath and provides excellent therapeutic benefits. See that you spend at least 20 minutes in a warm bath.
- A hot bath is taken in temperatures between 100-104ºF and is meant mainly for those with infections conditions like flu and to flush out toxins from the body through excessive sweating.
Ideal Essential Oils for aromatherapy bath
Do you want a sensuous bath? Then why not try rose, sandalwood, patchouli, ylang ylang, jasmine or neroli. For providing soothing benefits to the skin, ideal essential oils include German or Roman chamomile, patchouli, lavender and sandalwood.
Those who suffer from insomnia can choose lavender and marjoram. Geranium and mandarin are ideal for small children. Aromatherapy bath for normal skin (these have to added to appropriate amout of carrier oils before use, see above for proportions):
- Frankincense oil – 3 drops
- Palma rosa – 10 drops
- Neroli – 5 drops
- Lavender 12 drops
Precautions while taking aromatherapy bath
Find out essential oils that are not meant for pregnant women, children, people who suffer from various illnesses etc. Follow the right directions for children and elderly people – do not use more than a couple of drops. Hot baths are not meant for those who are pregnant, have broken capillaries, varicose veins, breastfeeding women and children. Check the labels of all essential oils and use only those recommended for aromatherapy baths to avoid adverse effects.
Oils that should be definitely avoided are basil, cinnamon, thyme, oregano, black pepper, clove, and nutmeg, Laurus, and Pimenta bay. Check all other essential oil labels to ensure they are bath-safe.
The benefits of aromatherapy baths are many and used in the right way, they provide therapeutic, calming and stimulating benefits.