Baths to Help You Relax

Martha Stewart Weddings, Winter 2004

A bath is a quick and easy way to unwind. Ten to twenty minutes in the tub is a proven way to reduce tension, rejuvenate the body, and clear your head. Adding a fragrant oil or a sprinkling of salts can make for an even more peaceful environment. Here are some tips.

Calming Scents
Some aromas have particularly soothing effects. The best ones for overall relaxation are basil, grapefruit, pine, lavender, tangerine, rose geranium, chamomile, lemongrass, and orange. Use them in the form of essential oils or scented bath products.

The ideal water temperature for a tranquil soak should be between 90 and 104 degrees. Use these ingredients for added benefits: Bath salts (most of which are made from either sea or Epsom salts) can help to draw soreness out of muscles and joints. Pour in two to three cups of warm milk (basic powdered milk is fine, too); the lactic acid gently exfoliates dry skin. Treat yourself to a tub full of frothy bubbles, or toss in effervescent bath tablets -- they perfume the water while releasing skin-softening oils. For hydrating and smoothing the skin, use a few drops of oil or a bar of moisturizing soap that has a calming fragrance.

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