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How to Transform Your Tub Into a Healing Hot Spring

Written by Dr. Edward Group Founder
 
A woman taking a bath.

Since antiquity, cultures around the world have sought out the healing power of baths. Ancient Greeks were among the first to harness the power of water to boost physical and mental health. They bathed in sulfurous hot springs to relieve muscle pain and soothe skin irritation, and famous philosophers like Plato and Hippocrates wrote about the benefits of bathing.[1]

Romans also made bathing a regular part of their health regimens, using it as an opportunity to socialize. They built huge public baths where hundreds and even thousands of people gathered. They called public baths Sanus per Aquam or SPA — some experts believe this is where the term "spa" originated.[1]

In the early 1900s, people traveled to Lithia Springs, Georgia to soak in a hot spring rich in the trace mineral lithium. This mineral is a mood booster, stress reliever, and libido enhancer.[2] And even today, soaking in mineral hot springs around the world is a popular activity for health and wellness.

Of course, you don’t have to travel to Greece, Rome, or Lithia Springs, Georgia to enjoy a mineral bath. You can create your own "hot spring" at home with nothing more than a tubful of hot water, a handful of mineral salts, and a few minutes of your time.

Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of baths, as well as easy ways you can make bathing part of your self-care routine.

Health Benefits of Bathing

There’s a reason that so many people seek out the pleasure of hot springs, spas, and other therapeutic bath experiences. Whether you love baths for relaxation or a few minutes escape from a hectic day, bathing offers a variety of health benefits. Here are some of them.

Soothes Sore Muscles & Joints

If your muscles and joints feel sore, bathing can help relax them. While a plain hot bath does the trick, add two cups of Epsom salt to the water for even better results. Epsom salt contains magnesium (magnesium sulfate, specifically), which plays a role in muscle contractions.

When you are low in magnesium, your muscles may become tenser, cramp more, and not work as efficiently. This is one reason why experts, particularly in sports medicine, recommend Epsom salt baths when your muscles are tight or sore.[3] They not only soothe the muscles and joints, but also reduce inflammation.

Writer and fitness enthusiast Alex F. learned about the muscle-relaxing benefits of Epsom salt when she saw an occupational therapist about some mysterious back pain.

"The doctor discovered that one of my ribs had slipped out of place, probably during a workout," says Alex. "She recommended I take a bath with Epsom salts because the magnesium would help relax my muscles and allow the rib to go back into place gently." After following the advice, her back pain disappeared.

Reduces Stress

The bathtub is a place of respite for Kimbra P., a busy mom from Madison, WI. "Even though there is so much love in our house, it can all be overwhelming," she explains.

When she’s soaking in a warm bath, "Anxious thoughts tend to stay away, because it’s the one place of complete calm and quiet in a house full of kids and animals."

The relaxing effects of bathing are well-documented.[1, 4, 5] Bathing improves circulation after a long day, especially if you are sedentary. People who bathed every day for 10 minutes felt less stress and anxiety after just two weeks compared with people who showered instead.[5]

A nice hot soak also helps modulate the nervous system and lower blood pressure.

Improves Sleep

If your mind starts racing the moment your head hits the pillow at night, a bath before bed may help you unwind. The drowsiness you feel after soaking in a tub full of warm water allows you to drift off more quickly.[6] and sleep more deeply.[6]

Adding Epsom salt provides the added benefit of relieving muscle tension, which can also help you get better sleep.

Pairing your bath with an herbal supplement like Global Healing’s Organic Valerian Raw Herbal Extract™ — well-known as a sleep remedy — can ease you into slumber without grogginess the next day.[7]

Transform Your Tub Into A Healing Hot Spring

If you think you’re too busy to take a healing bath, think again. One of the best parts about soaking to boost well-being is that it doesn’t require a large time commitment.

With just 15 to 20 minutes in the tub, you'll soak up the benefits. While bath bombs are popular these days, they often contain artificial colors and chemicals. Instead, make your own.

In no time at all, you can create some DIY bath salts that will take your bath from blah to spa.

Recipe: Relaxing Mineral Bath Salts

This recipe not only helps detoxify you through your skin — by means of the Bentonite clay — it adds minerals into your bath that your skin absorbs, as well.[8, 9]

Bentonite clay contains calcium, iron, silica, magnesium, and other minerals. Epsom salt, as mentioned, also contains magnesium that soothes sore muscles and joints. This mineral bath salts recipe is perfect for unwinding after a stressful day or for a post-workout soak.

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Wide-mouthed glass jar

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Epsom salt (unscented)
  • 2 cups Celtic gray sea salt
  • 2 cups Bentonite clay
  • 4 tablespoons aluminum-free baking soda
  • 20 drops lavender essential oil

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together Epsom salt, Celtic salt, Bentonite clay, and baking soda.
  2. Add lavender oil and stir well.
  3. Transfer mixture to a wide-mouthed glass jar and seal tightly.
  4. To use, add two cups of bath salts to running bath water and allow them to dissolve. Climb in the tub and relax!
  5. Rinse excess minerals off in a shower or with clean water after soaking.

Recipe: Decongestant Bath Salts

If you’re experiencing congestion and/or body aches related to illness, you may find relief with this recipe. It features the sinus-clearing essential oils eucalyptus and rosemary.

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Wide-mouthed glass jar

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Epsom salt
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 3 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 2 drops rosemary essential oil

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together Epsom salt and baking soda.
  2. Add eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils and stir well to combine.
  3. Transfer mixture to a wide-mouthed glass jar and seal tightly.
  4. To use, add a handful of bath salts to running water and allow them to dissolve. Climb in the tub and breathe deeply as you bathe.

Create a Mindfulness Bathing Ritual

Taking a bath is an excellent way to practice mindfulness, clearing your mind of worries and fear. Think of your bath as a type of meditation.

Rather than fretting about your to-do list or stressing about the state of the world, focus on the sensations you’re experiencing. Feel the sensation of the hot water against your skin.

Listen to the sound of the faucet slowly dripping. Close your eyes and inhale the fragrant steam rising from the water. When you use bath time to practice being present, you’re able to calm your racing mind while relaxing your body.

Points to Remember

Since ancient times, people have relied on bathing to boost their well being. Taking a bath offers health benefits like easing muscle tension, reducing stress, and improving sleep.

With little time and a few simple ingredients, you can transform your tub into a healing hot spring. You can also use bathing as an opportunity to practice mindfulness, clearing your mind and soaking your cares away.

Consider making baths a part of your self-care routine to soothe yourself, body and soul.

Are you a bath lover? Do you have a favorite recipe for bath salts you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

References (9)
  1. Gianfaldoni S, et al. History of the baths and thermal medicine. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 2017;5(4):566-568.
  2. Marshall TM. Lithium as a nutrient. J Am Physicians Surgeons. 2015; 20(4):104-109.
  3. Bilbey DL, Prabhakaran VM. Muscle cramps and magnesium deficiency: case reports. Can Fam Physician. 1996;42:1348-1351.
  4. Laukkanen JA, et. al. Cardiovascular and other health benefits of sauna bathing: a review of the evidence. Mayo Clin Proc. 2018 Aug;93(8):1111-1121.
  5. Goto Y, et al. Physical and mental effects of bathing: a randomized intervention study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018;2018:9521086.
  6. Shahab Haghayegh, et al. Before-bedtime passive body heating by warm shower or bath to improve sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 2019;46:124.
  7. Bent S, et al. Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2006 Dec; 119(12):1005-1012.
  8. Moosavi M. Bentonite clay as a natural remedy: a brief review. Iran J Public Health. 2017 Sep; 46(9):1176-1183.
  9. Williams LB, et al. Bentonite, bandaids, and borborygmi. Elements (Que). 2009 Apr 1;5(2):99-104.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


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