Mindful bathing rituals encourage you to cultivate self-care practices that use holistic and intuitive remedies to calm the mind and soothe the body. Reclaim your bathtub – a dedicated Zen space – and soak your way back to simplicity through the art of slow living.
Clear your space:
Declutter your room or clean up your messy bathroom to put your mind at ease. The restorative effects of your soak will fade when re-emerging to find disarray.
Choose 100% beeswax candles when setting the mood:
As much as we love scented candles with their soothing perfume and beautiful design, many available for purchase today are made from a toxic petroleum byproduct, paraffin, which releases soot into the air when burned. Scented candles also release formaldehyde, a carcinogen that can be irritating to the eyes, nose and throat when inhaled.
If you’re craving the soft, warm glow of candlelight, consider 100% beeswax candles. Beeswax is a natural and renewable resource and offers a faint honey scent when burned. If you prefer soy candles, choose companies that use organic non-GMO soy to ensure their product is not being commercially formed with pesticides like hexane (a volatile gasoline byproduct).
In general, limiting your smoke inhalation is essential. When burning candles, make sure your room is well ventilated and extinguish the flame with a snuffer (as opposed to blowing out the candle) to limit excess smoke.
Pre-bath dry-brush and shower:
Baths are typically about calming the mind rather than cleaning the body. Therefore, take a quick shower prior to your bath to avoid soaking in dirty water. Before showering, spend a few minutes brushing your skin. Dry brushing is an Ayurvedic practice intended to stimulate the lymphatic system (an organ system that plays a role in the immune response) and reduce fat deposits (cellulite). While little modern scientific research has documented these claims, Ayurvedic practices have existed for thousands of years.
This much we know: 1) Dry brushes (typically made of wood and stiff bristles) can be used as a full-body exfoliator, helping to sweep away dead skin cells and promote blood flow when properly used. 2) Ideal technique involves upward brushing movements, beginning at the feet and working your way up to your heart. While redness is normal, you aren’t trying to scratch the skin, so be sure to treat yourself with care. 3) Like any beauty treatment, applying mindful techniques can enhance your overall experience by encouraging relaxation. Tune into the experience of gentle exfoliation in the morning before you bathe. Become more aware of your body. Listen to the sounds the brush makes in contact with your skin. Embrace the invigorating idea of sweeping off yesterday and starting fresh today.
Enhance your olfactory experience:
- 1 cup Epsom salts
- 2 teaspoons jojoba oil
- 3 drops therapeutic grade essential oil.
Choose essential oils that match your needs. Rose can be used for sensitive skin. Lavender is quintessentially calm, and jasmine is exotic and uplifting.
Add this concoction to your bath as it is being drawn. Never add essential oils directly to bath water – their lack of dispersion can irritate the skin.
The ultimate mindful bathing rituals:
Turn off your phone and focus on your sensory experience. Tune into your sight by noticing the ripples of water and their expansion. Listen for any sounds: perhaps the faint noise of the drain gurgling or the soft movement of bubbles expanding. Next, take a deep, cleansing breath. Connect with a scent you might have chosen to enhance your experience. Feel the water as it glides over your skin, experiencing its temperature and salinity. Notice which parts of your body are tense and which are in need of deeper relaxation. Visualize your body healing, your body and mind being restored, your muscles relaxing.
Use eco-friendly bath products:
As with any product you introduce into your home, consider its exposure impact on yourself and on the environment. Avoid synthetic fragrances and harsh detergents that can strip protective oil layers from your skin and alter its pH. Refer to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin-Deep database which scores products by hazard assessment rankings.
Develop your own skincare products:
Our skin is our largest organ, and the products we use directly affect our microbiome. Consider feeding your skin just as you nourish your body. Use simple, homemade recipes, including my almond salt scrub which uses nut pulp from homemade nut milk.
Continue self-care post mindful bathing rituals:
Water evaporates off of the skin quickly when emerging from a shower or bath. This can leave the skin dry and vulnerable. Moisturize immediately to keep your skin soft, referring again to EWG for recommended brands. This practice complements your dry-brushing routine as well.
Take your float to the next level:
If you love warm water and salt baths, consider booking a session at your local float spa. This involves floating in an isolation tank (sensory deprivation chamber) filled with a shallow layer of water, saturated with one thousand pounds of Epsom salts. This creates a zero-gravity sensation for the participant. Without the continuous barrage of external stimuli, one hour of floating yields an efficient state of deep, mindful relaxation. The weightless achieved by the salinity of the water also takes pressure off the spine, shoulders, and hips, allowing the body’s muscles to relax completely.