When our hectic life – and hormonal changes- become even more demanding on our bodies, a bath soak may be the answer to our midlife crisis.
The experience – a practice that has been around for centuries in Roman, Greek, Ottoman (Turkish), Japanese, British, and other major empires throughout recorded history – not only soothes physically but also mentally providing a chance for midlife women to take a real break and enjoy some much-needed quiet time.
Soaking in a warm fragrant herbal bath or other natural ingredients for 20 minutes can in fact provide a quiet sanctuary in which to retreat, reflect and refresh.
But did you know that a bath enriched with salts, herbs and other botanicals can also be a proper beauty treatment?
According to Palm Beach superstar holistic facialist Tammy Fender, there are several ways to turn it into an incredible “me-time”.
“You can set an intention for your time, light a candle, play the music that makes you feel beautiful, apply a lavish face mask, and soak deeply in your tub, finishing with self-massage with body oil, and even doing a little journaling,” she says. “It’s a beautiful way to restore, refresh, dissolve tension, soothe the system, and celebrate life’s beauty.”
How to make an herbal bath
Making a herbal bath is similar to making tea. By making a strong one and adding it to your bathwater you’ll benefit a full effect, but you can also throw a handful of herbs directly into the hot tub.
There are lots of different ingredients that can be beneficial to your midlife well-being. Basil, Chamomile, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Calendula, and Rosemary are the most popular and you can use them either fresh – they look beautiful in the tub – or dried.
Depending on your specific needs and preferences, you can also add different medicinal leaves, salts, flowers, milk and oils to customize your herbal bath experience for relaxation, invigoration, or replenishment. And sometimes you can add oatmeal to soothe skin irritation, too.
Just be careful not to do this lovely ritual too often. Sebastian Kneipp, one of the founders of the Natural Medicine movement and father of hydrotherapy, said that a hot bath a week is a pleasure, but a hot bath every day will weaken your system.
Here at CrunchyTales, we’re having a more detailed look at the benefits of bath soaking and will share some recipes that can help you to alleviate swollen legs, and cellulite, eliminate congestion, relax and soften your skin.
1. Whole sea salt bath for swollen legs
If you have circulatory problems in your legs this simple bath soak recipe is for you. Sea salt, due to its anti-oedema action, helps reduce the heaviness and swelling of feet and ankles, but in order to be truly effective, you must use whole sea salt in high concentration, though, which is why one to two kilos of it is necessary, depending on the size of the bath.
All you have to do is place the salt on the bottom of the empty tub and turn on hot water: the salt will gradually dissolve (as well as the stress). Then, simply enjoy the ritual by staying immersed for 20 minutes (but please, avoid too hot water if you have leg capillaries as it may make them worse).
For even better results, keep your legs raised upwards after the bath, leaning them against the wall to facilitate venous and lymphatic drainage.
2. Horse Chestnut anti-cellulite bath
It’s well known that cellulite is caused by venous and lymphatic insufficiency, associated with connective tissue alterations. Normally, the best way to treat it is to stimulate blood circulation through specific medical therapies, accompanied by specific treatments. However, Mother Nature can help too.
Horse chestnut is widely used in anti-cellulite preparations because it contains a particular substance, escin, which has a protective action on the capillaries and reduces oedema (fluid accumulations).
It is also rich in substances that strengthen the vessel walls (flavonoids and anthocyanins) and in vitamin C.
The horse chestnut bath, therefore, in addition to beauty treatments, is very useful in all cases of defective circulation in the legs.
All you need is 100g of horse chestnut bark to be boiled in a saucepan containing a litre of water for about 15 minutes. Then, just filter the liquid obtained and add it to the bath water for a rewarding experience.
By doing this regularly, your legs will feel much lighter thanks to the circulatory activation.
3. Oatmeal bath for sensitive skin
Oatmeal is not only good for breakfast. Thanks to its starch content, it has moisturizing and soothing properties that make it often one of the most popular ingredients in the composition of numerous cosmetics, such as cleansers and body creams.
An oatmeal bath is particularly suitable for those midlife women with sensitive and itchy skin, but even for those ladies dealing with impurities behind the back due to hormonal changes, stressed gen Xers, or sun seekers who want to reduce redness after a day spent in the sun.
Making such a soothing bath is very easy. Just place 172 kg of oat flakes in a canvas bag and immerse it in the bathtub filled with water.
Leave it to infuse until the water takes on a milky appearance (that simply indicates that the starch has dissolved in the water), then immerse yourself in such an elixir for about 20 minutes to get fresher, silky and hydrated skin.
4. Milk and honey softening bath
Did you know that milk and honey baths have cleansing, exfoliating, softening and moisturizing effects on the skin?
Suitable for very dry and devitalized skin, this wellness bath delicately cleanses it, keeping it soft and velvety, thanks to the emollient properties of honey and the moisturizing properties of the fats and proteins contained in whole milk.
The lactic acid in milk exfoliates the skin, helping remove old skin cells by dissolving the bonds that hold them together and increasing cell turnover and renewal. This results in smoother, softer skin with improved skin tone and reduced fine lines and wrinkles.
To enjoy this bath, pour 1 litre of whole milk and 2 tablespoons of liquid honey into an empty bathtub, let them dissolve under the jet of the shower until you get foam, and then fill the tub. Immerse yourself for 15 to 20 minutes then rinse off with warm water. Your skin will feel soft and well-hydrated.
5. Anti-fatigue mint bath
At the end of a busy day, or after exercising in the gym, you might feel your muscles are contracted and tired. In that case, a warm mint bath is recommended.
The relaxing and anti-inflammatory effect of menthol, the essential oil that gives this plant its characteristic scent, is well known. The plant has been used since ancient times to relieve headaches and fight colds, reduce body odours, too.
To enjoy the beneficial effect of mint, add 250gr of mint leaves in a gauze bag. Hanging it from the bath tap, put it right under the water jet; then run the hot water until the tub is full. Now, squeeze the bag with the mint leaves in the water to diffuse the essential oil and immerse yourself for 15 minutes.
You will soon feel the muscles of your whole body easing naturally and begin to experience a very pleasant relaxing sensation.