I used to think people who took baths were weird. Ranked right up there with dudes who wear fanny packs and people who work at the circus.
A little over a year ago, after I had had this miscarriage, I was at visiting my mom’s (probably moping, and worrying, and whining…some combination of the three), and she practically forced me in the bathtub. She started running the water, put on music, dumped some salt in the tub, and shut the door. Thirty minutes later, and I had no choice but to join the ranks of “weirdos who love to take baths.”
I’m hooked. Since then I take a calming detox bath about once a week, sometimes more. I have learned that it’s more complex than just dumping some random ingredients in the tub, though, for two reasons.
- It takes a little work to make it the maximum level of relaxing.
- Epsom salts are powerful, and they go through your skin, the body’s largest organ, so you want to make sure you are doing the bath correctly and safely.
Here are the top five essential ingredients for a relaxing and safe Epsom salt bath.
- Baking Soda – Weird, I know. But unless you are bathing in water you’ve warmed from the purified water from your Berkey filter (the love of my life), you need to add baking soda to clean and neutralize the toxins in the water, especially the chlorine. Otherwise they will be absorbed in the skin! Add 1/2 – 1 cup of baking soda to the running water BEFORE adding the Epsom salts and getting in. I’ve read to give it 2-5 minutes to neutralize the chlorine, but I can never wait that long. 🙂
- Hydration, but no food – You should drink a huge glass of water before and after the bath. This is really important because you need the water to flush out the toxins that the salts are releasing. I have read many places that you’re not supposed to eat for an hour or two before and after. This is hard for me, because, um…I eat every two hours. 🙂 I believe the concern is that you can make yourself sick to your stomach by eating too close to the bath. So if you need a snack (ahem) then make it light on the stomach.
- No Agenda. You know all the “shower chores” we need to do? Wash face, shave, shampoo, exfoliate, etc. etc. These Epsom salt baths are not for getting these chores done. These are for relaxing. Save these for the shower!
- Safe products – This is what I was referring to earlier in the post when I said you can’t just add the Epsom salts in willy-nilly. The salts are opening up your skin so it’s important to be careful what you’re exposing your body to during this time. There are products that I typically view as “safe” in the shower that I wouldn’t apply during a bath. Like the Trader Joe’s Tea Tree shampoo that I love, for example…even though it’s more natural than most shampoos, it still has a few ingredients that I don’t want directly absorbed during a bath. If you use a soap, use a very safe one such as this Naked Pure Olive Oil Bar Soap. Afterwards, I need lotion, obviously, so I always apply this three-ingredient organic Evie and Jo lotion bar. This Lotion Bar is my new obsession. (Seriously – order this puppy today. Tell her Jessica sent you!)
- Essential oil – Lavender is my favorite. This brand of Epson salts has lavender added, but you can also add the oil directly to the bath. I’ve actually heard you should mix 5-10 drops of the essential oil with 1T of a carrier oil, like olive oil or coconut, and THEN add this to the bath. I’m not really sure why that’s necessary, but that is what I have read. You can also do Eucalyptus if you’re sick, or grapefruit for a refreshing bath earlier in the day. (ps – I know people get all fired up about Essential Oil brands. I have been pleased with This reasonably-priced brand from Amazon. I am not an expert on oils, but I am just passing along one that I have been happy with.)
Obviously, you will also need the Epsom Salts! Use 1-2 cups under the running water.
I loved the book Ultraprevention and Dr. Mark Hyman recommends a daily Epsom bath to significantly lower your risk of cancer! I can’t verify that, but I can tell you…it’s very, very relaxing. 🙂
ps – If you have specific questions about detox baths, I found this post very informative. Also, I’m intrigued by the idea of detox baths for KIDS, when they’re sick or just for cleansing. I’m going to try that, I think.
So speak up. Any other bath-lovers out there? Ever done a detox bath?
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