February 2015
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The Art of The Bath

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Nothing induces a state of relaxation quite like a soothing bath. (Anyone remember the Calgon commercials of yesteryear that made us all want to be “taken away” in a mountain of soapy suds?) A soak in a tub of warm water can restore aching muscles, refresh tired feet and encourage restful slumber. Many busy modern parents, however, consider regular soaks a timeconsuming luxury – or just a step in the kids’ bedtime process. But a consistent bathing ritual isn’t just for the little ones; it can help stressed-out, overextended parents wind down after a long day and restore a sense of calm.

Around the world and across various cultures, baths have long been considered essential to physical and mental wellness. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress-management techniques are crucial not only to improving mood and energy level, but also to helping stave off stress-related health problems and lowering levels of frustration and irritability – making parents less likely to snap at each other, their kids or coworkers.

Of course, nothing rivals the authentic experience, but if you can’t make it to the spa, you can enjoy a blissful soak at home by creating a spa-like setting in your own bathroom. What elements set the perfect mood? Set aside an uninterrupted block of time (not easy for parents, but give it a try). Soft music and dim lighting can create a comforting environment. Also important to the ritual bath experience is scent. The National The Art the Bath of Create a Spa-Like Retreat Right at Home Association for Holistic Aromatherapy says using essential oils, such as clary sage and lavender, can help promote health and balance.

Bath time is also a great time for skincare. Bath oils infuse the water with moisture, especially important during colder months when the air is drier and skin is prone to itchiness and cracking. (Just put down a bath mat to prevent slipping if you’re using oils.) Never have the time to use those scrubs and beauty treatments overcrowding your medicine cabinet? Now you do. Many face and body products, such as mud or clay masks and exfoliating scrubs, often need several minutes to take effect and some even work more effectively with the steam from a hot bath.

Ready for your Calgon moment? I feel relaxed already.

Expert Advice

Lillian Raic, the spa, retail and special events director at Oasis Day Spa in New York City and Westchester, offers the following advice to help you perfect your home bath retreat and make the most of your private oasis.

  • The bath benefits: “Taking a restorative bath at home is the perfect body treatment to detoxify, exfoliate and tone. To activate your [bath] salts, make sure your water is warm/hot for the best therapeutic effect.”
  • The right temperature: “The perfect temperature for a therapeutic effect would be warm water, occasionally with a switch between a hot/and extremely cold bath which can jumpstart the immune system.”
  • The most needy body part: “Since our feet are the most neglected parts of our body, they always need a little extra TLC. Foot soaks and whole body soaks help to ease stress, improve sleep, reduce inflammation and muscle pain.”
  • The all-star oil: “The most therapeutic scented oil would be lavender. Decades ago, French chemists discovered lavender is healing, calming and balancing. Not only is lavender healing to the mind, body and spirit, it is a natural antibacterial as well.”
  • The dry-skin saver: “Our bestselling bath oil is Evening Primrose Body Oil from the Kneipp Collection. It is intensely moisturizing and calming. This product is my savior and highly recommended to anyone with dry, cracked or irritated skin.”
  • The mantra: “‘Breathe in ... soak in ... the benefits ‘ is one of my favorite rituals to say to our guests!”

Terri Prettyman Bowles is a Westchester-based writer, editor and content producer.

Updated 4:26 pm, July 9, 2018
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