Beat Winter Blues With Aromatherapy Baths
Here in the United Kingdom, the cold, wet, dark and gloomy weather has really set in now, with record-breaking levels of rainfall in many parts during January. Thank goodness we’re not knee-deep in snow, but nonetheless, right now Spring seems far, far away. During dreary weather like this I like to pamper myself a bit from time to time, and usually qualify my actions with a declaration along the lines of ‘I work hard, so I deserve it’. I heartily recommend that you do the same!
However, if it’s pouring down outside you probably won’t feel much like rushing off to a beauty salon, and anyway, there’s that huge bill still waiting to be paid from all the Christmas shopping. Better not overdo the spending right now! Instead I recommend something as luxurious as a beauty treatment, but much, much cheaper – a nice long and lazy soak in a bath-tub containing your favourite essential oils. What could be easier or more therapeutic on a dark, depressing, winter day?
Soaking in the bath is not just something we do purely to clean ourselves, it’s a ritual that many of us practice in the search for some serious rejuvenation and relaxation. Let’s face it, when the gloomy weather gets you down or you are having a particularly stressful time due to a heavy workload or family problems, there is no nicer way to escape from everything than by taking a long, hot soak in the tub.
The water cure
The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans really understood the powerful, therapeutic healing properties of plain water and took advantage of this at every available opportunity. As history records, the Romans developed the art of bathing into a national pastime by building highly sophisticated public baths known as Thermae.
In each building would be three pools; hot, lukewarm and cold which were respectively known as the caldarium, tepidarium and frigidarium. Sometimes there would also be a steam bath, which was called the sudatorium.
The ‘water cure’ was common term for the Greek healing tradition comprising of several therapies which made skillful use of waters healing power;
- Hydrotherapy – techniques of therapeutic bathing and use of water
- Balneotherapy – therapeutic bathing in medicinal and thermal springs
- Thalassotherapy – the therapeutic use of ocean bathing and marine products
The unique healing art of water therapy is now being revived thanks to the availability of health-enhancing essential oils and other beauty spa products. And you can easily turn a plain old bathroom into your very own healing sanctuary just using your essential oils with a few simple accessories.
Sound and light
Relaxing music and the flicker of candlelight creates a lovely relaxing atmosphere and really enhances the whole experience, so choose the music according to your mood before running your bath. To complete the relaxing ambience, light a few candles or small votives around the bath, and you will soon begin to forget about your winter blues.
Choose the essential oils you want according to your mood and add them to your bath after running the water. Adding your oils too early can be wasteful since a large proportion will evaporate before you even get into the bath. So put your drops of oil in the bath just before stepping in, and use an essential oil dispersant to spread the oils evenly on the surface of the water.
Reviving bath blends
Add two drops each of ylang ylang, lavender and bergamot essential oils to the tub and feel the reviving effect lifting you above all thoughts of gloomy weather and other troubles. You will only need to use a total of around 8 drops of essential oil in a normal bath, since generally speaking, more is not necessarily better for achieving the desired result in aromatherapy.
An equal blend of geranium, lavender and sandalwood essential oils smells absolutely heavenly and is balancing to the senses, and likewise roman chamomile, lavender and bergamot make a wonderfully soothing and comforting blend. Any recipe containing either rose, neroli or jasmine is bound to be deliciously calming, but if you do not have any of these oils don’t worry, because there are plenty of other relaxing ones to choose from.
Citrus essential oils such as bergamot, grapefruit, orange and mandarin are wonderfully refreshing, uplifting, and revitalizing, but don’t add too many drops of them since like spice oils, they could irritate your skin. To ensure you don’t overdo things, use no more than a maximum of 6 to 8 drops (in total) of the various essential oils you choose. Here are more instructions how to safely use essential oils in the bath.
Ease those aches & pains
If your legs and feet are tired after a strenuous day at work try mixing essential oils of sweet marjoram, black pepper and rosemary to quickly bring relief and ease them back to normal. These essentials oils are great in a bath, but they will work equally well in a simple foot-soak too.
Hunched over a computer for hours on end can play havoc with your shoulders and back, so to help ease the pain try a blend of roman chamomile, ginger and lavender in your bath. If you just need a pick-me-up to clear your head after too many hours on your laptop, a mix of grapefruit, cardamon and melissa helps to recharge and refresh those overworked brain cells.
You can exchange any of these essential oils for your particular favourites, since it’s just a case of finding what works best for you. Be sure to take note of how many drops of each oil you use in your blends though, so that when you find a blend you really like you will be able to reproduce it again.
Never underestimate the therapeutic power of an aromatherapy bath since it is one of the finest (and easiest) ways to chill out whilst enjoying all of the healing benefits essential oils can bring.
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2011. Written by Sue Charles