Me Time, Bubbles and the benefits of bathing
Believe it or not today is national 'Bubble Bath Day'. Take from that what you will, but it got me thinking...why do baths make us feel so darn good?
For me it's part of my night-time ritual, it's relaxing, it takes me away from screens and the demands of family life and gets me set for sleep. On the rare occasions that I have free time in the morning a warm bath is also a wonderfully indulgent treat.
Bathing can also be invigorating, if you have ever experienced the joys of a hammam you'll know that there is nothing quite like having your skin steamed, sloughed and scrubbed back to the softness of a baby's bottom!
But baths aren't just cosmetic - there are a wealth of health benefits to regularly dipping your toes in the tub.
1. Stress Relief
There is a reason for that 'aaah' moment when we step into a bath. The warmth of the water and submerging your body not only soothes muscles (where we can hold stress) it can also release serotonin, (our happy hormone) and is reminiscent of the womb - woo woo but true.
If like me you suffer with anxiety then add a generous scoop of Epsom Salts and a drop or two of lavender oil. The magnesium sulphate in the salts is known to nourish the nervous system, helping you to relax, and lavender helps with restlessness and insomnia.
2. Fighting Illness
It's not rocket science...warm baths create steam and inhalation of steam clears your nose and reduces inflammation. What may be a lesser known fact is that keeping warm can also help certain parts of your immune system to function more efficiently, helping you to keep those winter bugs at bay. Add a few drops of eucalyptus to really clear the passages!
Now you want to be a bit careful here. If you have your baths HOT you may in fact be doing yourself a disservice - preventing your body from being able to regulate it's temperature. however a warm bath will temporarily expand your arteries and veins allowing for better blood flow, it can lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
In my last blog I talked about the importance of body temperature when you're in bed. Melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone that can help prolong slumber and is released by the brain when you are cool. Stepping out of a warm bath into the air can help to trigger its release.
Soaking in it as well as drinking it (not out of the bath obvs) is a great way to hydrate your body. Warm water opens up your pores and allows your body to sweat. Sweating is our bodies way of naturally cleansing itself.
So, enjoy celebrating national Bubble Bath Day! Add an extra drop or six, lay back and relax - it's good for you!