A bath drawn just right and the mood set perfectly can be an enriching experience. The rigours of life leave even the strongest and the most stoic minds exhausted and in need of a sensuous retreat. Not all of us have the time or the resources to make visits to spas as a regular habit. If it's relaxation and rejuvenation on your mind, a well-drawn bath with accessories suiting your needs will do it every time.
The Past, The Present and The Future
The benefits are not limited to stress relief. There is a reason why the immersion of the body in water has been such an enduring practice over the annals of time. We all know of the Roman and the Greek bathhouses that existed solely for the purpose of bathing. It was then seen as a communal activity, where citizens could conduct business and socialize. Baths were seen as the key to maintaining good health.
Fast forward to the 21st century and recent studies have echoed those beliefs. One study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that diabetics who spent just half an hour in a hot tub could reduce their blood sugar levels by around 13 per cent - as the heat dilated their blood vessels, the blood-flow improved and the body made better with the use of its insulin, the hormone that converts blood sugar into energy. Another study in Japan claims that 10 minutes in a warm bath improved cardiovascular health in elderly men and women, helping them to cope better in exercise tests and reducing pain.
â€œThe temperature of the water is very important,â€ opined a housewife for whom taking baths during the precious bits of free time available to her is an invaluable source of rejuvenation. â€œIt should not be so hot that it takes an exercise of will just to get in. Remember, this is for stress relief, so you shouldn't be stressed out about getting in. The temperature should ideally be warm, just how much is up to the individual. You can also draw the curtains in order to trap the heat for the maximum possible time.â€
Relaxation is a state of mind and bathing is a process. The right accessories can get you into that frame of mind. A comfortable, pampering bath robe and soft towels will do the trick. And that's not all. To create a mood of meditative serenity, add scented candles to the mix.
Now that the peripherals are out of the way, it is time for the main ingredients. Whenever there is talk of baths, bath salts can't be too far behind. Universally accepted as beneficial to the skin, high quality natural bath salts can take years off your appearance by helping your body defend against climate, genetics and other elements that speed up the aging process. They cleanse the skin and soften the rougher parts of our bodies, like the knees, elbows and heels. Hold a spoonful under running water as you are drawing the bath, allowing the salts to release their fragrance and oils as they mix with the bath water. Almas Superstore carries a range of bath salts including strawberry, blueberry and orange, all containing vitamins C and E.
Bath oils do a world of good to dry or damaged skin. Oil is the perfect skin therapy to use in a bath because the warmth of the water helps the oil absorb into your skin. The right oil will enable you to leave the bath with your previously dry skin feeling healthy and nourished.
Bath soaps are another vital part of a refreshing soak in the tub. Natural soaps like those of The Body Shop, also found at Almas are usually handmade, created with pure and natural ingredients. They leave the skin feeling soft and supple. It must be noted that these should be acquired from reputable companies, as the wrong type could cause the skin to dry out.
Last but not the least, nothing says â€œpamperâ€ like a foam bath. For many, foam or bubble baths add the finishing touch to the experience of being transported away to another, more peaceful world. There are a lot of foaming creams around, each having different ingredients (Vaseline's version enriched with Chamomile is highly recommended by the lady behind the counter at Almas) to suit your needs.
You can't create a mood without music. To get into the relaxed frame of mind, it is best to stick to soothing instrumental music, such as the western classics or our own Sitar aficionados. You can also take a novel or magazine that you have been wanting to read but just not had the time, to the bath with you.
The most important thing to remember is that those 20 30 minutes are for you and you only. In the end, whether you emerge relaxed or not is up to you. You have to embrace this bit of relief from stress just as the warm water and all its ingredients embrace you when you settle in. You know best what tone to set to help you unwind. Choose the right ingredients and the right setting, and meet them halfway.