By Jill Brooke
Slipping into a hot bubbly tub with floral-scented aromas is, for many people, an instant way to destress.
In terms of the healing properties of flowers, you might add a little lavender oil to reduce stress or rose oil to enhance your breathing. Rosemary and eucalyptus boost circulation while jasmine and gardenia—which is used in many perfumes—reduce anxiety.
But it’s not only the aromas that benefit your well-being. Scientific data reveals that soaking in a warm bath has health benefits as well including clearing your sinuses and chest, reducing pain and inflammation, calming your nervous system, and oxygenating your blood.
However, despite all these benefits, studies show that more people prefer showers to baths. One study found that only 10% of people bathe while 90% shower. Another study stated that 57% preferred showers while 32% opted for baths, with the shower-lovers identifying convenience and speed as the reasons.
With life slowing down a bit, it may be a better time than ever to enjoy the benefits of soaking in a floral-scented bath. Here are six reasons to do so.
Sore muscles respond to baths especially if you add Epsom salt, which breaks down into magnesium and sulfate in water and, in theory, is absorbed through your skin and into your body (though this hasn’t been scientifically proven). Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan! The warm water does relax sore muscles and loosen stiff joints. Furthermore, stretching in water is a low impact way to get out some of the kinks in your limbs. Another bonus is that submerging yourself in water reduces inflammation which can be a source of tightness and pain.
Being immersed past your chest with your head out of the water can increase your lung capacity and oxygen intake. There are two factors that contribute to this; the temperature of the water and the pressure the water places on your chest and lungs. When the water is warmer and your heart is beating faster, your oxygen intake can be improved and the steam created can clear your sinuses and chest.
Not only is your oxygen intake improved but the steam can clear sinuses in your chest. It also makes your heart beat faster which gives it a work-out. But don’t make it too hot – especially if you have a heart condition. Warm and toasty is ideal.
Warm water baths with fragrant smells reduce stress and also increases serotonin, which is the chemical produced by the brain that triggers happy feelings. Decades of research also says that hot baths improve sleep quality since the body’s core temperature regulates when you’re sitting in the water. Plus on a cold day, it warms you up.
Especially by adding the oils, it acts as a full-body moisturizer. Men in particular rarely moisturize their whole bodies – which can get dry especially in cold climates. Adding oils to the bath is a great remedy.
Be creative and have fun with your bubble bath by mixing different floral oils or products to find your favorite blends to help you relax. Just like you cook different meals, different scents provide a variety of experiences. Companies like Bath & Body Works, Indigo Wild, EO and Wen have a variety of scents and products to choose from. Find your own if you don’t want to do a DIY.
Light some candles, put on some music and wiggle your toes and just breathe in all these pleasures to revive your mind, body and spirit.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.