There is nothing like getting in a warm aromatherapy bath to relax and restore your mind, body, and soul. While many may not relate baths to health, it is one of the best things that you can do!
The Origin of Aromatherapy Bath
Not only are the baths beneficial for your mental health, but also your physical health. Numerous cultures all around the world have used baths for centuries for their restorative power. The healing aspects of bathing spread around the world, and bathing became a worldwide phenomenon.
Bath culture was a source of cleanliness, disease prevention and rejuvenation. Our ancestors intuitively knew all of the health benefits of bathing. In addition, they also had knowledge of certain plant and herb oils that improve health even further!
The fact that fragrance essences have a specific effect was apparent to even the most ancient cultures. These fragrance oils are what we today call “essential oils.” Bathing with the addition of essential oils can help combine the powerful pros of a hot bath.
Aromatherapy Bath Benefits
Every essential oil has different benefits and purposes. For example, lemon essential oil is amazing for easing digestive problems whereas patchouli is excellent for various skin conditions. Thus, depending on your circumstances or preferences adding specific essential oils to your bath will reap different benefits. With so many different essential oils, you’re assured of finding one or a blend of to help support your body. Below is a list of several reasons why essential oils can be an amazing and therapeutic addition to your bath:
Helps support sleep
Sleep deprivation may have various negative long term effects on health. Thus, a warm aromatherapy bath could be an amazing addition to your sleep routine to help support longer and better quality sleep. Taking a warm bath has been shown to induce sleep by lowering cortisol (our main stress hormone).
Additionally, adding an essential oil such as lavender, chamomile or valerian to your nightly bath are excellent choices for furthering helping induce sleep by lowering cortisol. Adding any of these oils to your nightly bath not only can improve the quality of your sleep, but also how fast you’ll fall asleep. All of the oils mentioned above have qualities that help calm the central nervous system and promote falling asleep fast.
Improves anxiety and mental clarity
Studies have shown that taking a warm bath can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of your body responsible for putting you in a state of relaxation. When the nervous system adjusts to the warming effect of the water, you may begin to experience lowered levels of stress. Thus, a warm bath may help in lowering cortisol.
If you're feeling anxious, a bath can help physically force your body to get out of “fight or flight” mode. For further relaxation, adding a citrus essential oil can accentuate your bathing experience. Lemon and bergamot oil have been shown to be particularly effective in lifting an anxious or sad mood!
Helps support digestion
Taking an aromatherapy bath can help support your body’s digestion. As discussed above, soaking in warm water helps put our body in a parasympathetic state. Our gastrointestinal health is closely linked with our nervous system. When we are relaxed our digestive tract functions more effectively due to our bodys being in “rest and digest” rather than “fight or flight” mode.
Additionally, baths will improve your blood circulation, which also aids in the digestive process. Adding some essential oils can also further help with digestion or digestive issues. The next time your stomach is upset try adding lemon and ginger essential oil to your bath. Just inhaling these two oils can help relieve digestive upset.
Aromatherapy baths are excellent for skin
While scalding hot baths may irritate the skin, a warm bath—in combination with certain essential oils, like patchouli, olive, or lavender, can better hydrate and heal dry or irritated skin. In addition, many essential oils are antimicrobial and anti-fungal which make the bathing experience feel even cleaner! Patchouli oil in particular is cicatrizing. Meaning, it helps with scar formation by promoting cell growth.
Helps reduce fluid retention
Soaking in a warm bath has been shown to help support the body in ridding itself of excess fluids and swelling. Bathing with epsom salts and essential oils can further help in reducing bloating or excess fluid. Toxins encourage water retention. Warm water mixed with epsom salts and/or essential oils such as lemon or rosemary can be very effective in helping draw out these toxins.
Boosts immune health
Taking a warm aromatherapy bath can boost the production of white blood cells in the body. When taking a warm bath, our body temperature rises and this signals to our body that it needs extra support in the immune department. Thus, if we are trying to fight off an infection, taking a warm bath is a great way to give your body an extra immune boost.
In addition to taking a bath, adding essential oils to a warm bath further supports your body when fighting a cold or infection. If you are suffering from congestion or low immunity, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil are especially effective! Steam from a warm bath acts as an aid to help breathe in these oils which may help support the lungs in bringing up mucus.
Warm baths encourage blood flow around your body. The increased circulation of blood provides your muscles with more oxygen and nutrients. This may help improve the elasticity of the connective tissues, releasing muscle tightness, and relieving pain.
Adding a few drops of peppermint, or rosemary essential oil can further help support muscle pain relief. For example, rosemary oil is known to have elevated pain-relieving properties and can work wonders for all sorts of aches, pains, and even arthritis! Pair this oil along with a warm bath and you have an amazing combination to combat sore muscles.
The Bottom Line
Overall, health wisdom from the past can still be relevant to this day. Our ancestors knew that an inviting warm bath with some essential oils can help support your physical, mental and emotional health in a myriad of ways.
The science behind a warm bath is pretty straight-forward. When we soak in warm water and essential oils, it triggers the dilation of blood vessels, which in turn helps us to relax on various levels. Next time you are starting to feel sick, are stressed about work or sore from a workout, try to relax in a warm bath with some of your favorite organic essential oils and let healing begin.
Kaylee Noland See all the author’s articles