{ MIND & BODY }

START THE TUB

7 reasons to take a long hot soak

When was the last time you closed the bathtub drain and turned on the hot and cold-water spigots full blast—just for you? In our fast-paced culture, many adults forgo the time-honored art of bathing because we think it is more efficient in terms of time and water usage to take a shower. However, in recent years, many studies have been done that point to several benefits that luxuriating in the bath can bring. Concerned that your bath will use too much water? Simply plug the bathtub drain and take a seven-minute shower. Note the tub’s fill level when you shut off the water and don’t exceed this height when you draw your bath. Here’s what a hot bath can do for you.

1. ELEVATE YOUR MOOD
The quiet warmth of a bath provides a comforting, womb-like environment where you can let go of stress and truly relax. 

2. SLEEP BETTER
When you step out of a warm bath and dry off, your body’s core temperature begins to drop, signaling your brain to produce melatonin, which makes you sleepy.

3. IMPROVE BLOOD FLOW AND CIRCULATION
The steam and bathwater (ideally around 108 degrees Fahrenheit) dilates your blood vessels, allowing your blood to circulate freely. 

4. EASE MUSCLE PAIN
As your blood moves more freely, it helps sore spots and tight muscles to relax. Dissolved Epsom salts help reduce inflammation in the joints.

5. BURN CALORIES
Although bathing is no substitute for aerobic exercise, studies have indicated that a one-hour long hot bath can burn as many calories as taking a 30–minute walk.

6. HELP RELIEVE COLD AND FLU SYMPTOMS
Congestion, stuffy noses, and bad coughs are loosened by the steam from a hot bath. 

7. SOOTHE IRRITATED SKIN
Soaking in a warm, oil-infused bath helps hydrate the skin and heal irritations.

YOUR BATHING SANCTUARY
As you fill the tub, create your own oasis. Put the children’s bath toys out of view and light scented candles in safe spots around your tub. Set your sound system to a relaxing soundtrack and be sure you have a fluffy towel ready. Turn your phone to “do not disturb” and put the world on hold for as long as you can. You deserve this.

ROSS HELEN / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
ROSS HELEN / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

BATH GOODIES

BATH BOMB
A single-use spherical blend of sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, and other skin-soothing ingredients. The high alkaline content help remove toxins from the skin.

BATH SOAK
A combination of ingredients designed to relieve stress and moisturize the skin. Some soaks also offer therapeutic benefits. 

EPSOM SALT
Magnesium sulfate named after Epsom, a town in England. Dissolved in your bath, the minerals are said to absorb into the skin for various health benefits.

LONG HANDLE BRUSH
Also used for dry brushing, a long handle brush targets the hard-to-reach spots and cleans and exfoliates the skin.

SEA SPONGE
Natural sponges have been used for thousands of years for cleaning and exfoliating the skin. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures.

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ABOVE: Bath bombs: honey + lavender, $7; vanilla sandalwood, $7; eucalyptus, $6; Bath soaks, milk & honey, lavender chamomile, each $10 Lavender Home & Garden, Del Mar