about bathing comes clean: washing wasn’t always popular. The ancient Babylonians invented soap about 5,000 years ago, but it didn’t catch on as a body wash right away. The Egyptians bathed in a combination of animal fats, vegetable oils, and salts. Even the Romans, with their famous heated baths, cleaned themselves by wiping dirt off with scrapers. The first real soap—made from wood ash and animal fat—appeared in the Middle East around the year 800.
Soaking in a warm bath or taking a warm shower can be a delightful and therapeutic way to relax your body and mind. Hot water dilates blood vessels and opens pores so you can remove impurities with a scrub or some suds. Hot water also eases joint pain.
If you have ever jumped into a cold pool, you know how cold water can shock the system. Cold water has the opposite effect of warm—it closes pores and locks in moisture. It’s good to close your pores after you cleanse to prevent them from being easily clogged by dirt and oil. Another benefit is that cold water makes your blood vessels constrict, which reduces swelling. End a warm bath or shower with a blast of cool water. Turning the tap to cold may also help boost your spirits. The shock of cold water can release endorphins.
To make bath and shower time even more luxurious, use natural bath salts, scrubs, shower gels, and body lotions. Toss some soothing bath salts in the tub to unwind, and keep a body scrub close at hand to exfoliate in the shower.
When you exfoliate, you not only improve skin texture, you stimulate circulation and encourage toxins to escape through unclogged pores. All you need to do is scrub—gently. Grainy-textured scrubs give you dramatic results in just one application. Exfoliating with a scrub once or twice a week reveals the smoother, softer new skin beneath the dead cells. Be sure to seal in moisture with a body lotion.
Baths and showers become indulgent experiences when the products you use contain aromatic essential oils. Choose scents to match your mood, such as soothing and relaxing (lavender, geranium, or sweet orange essential oil) or energizing and invigorating (spearmint, ginger, or grapefruit essential oils).
Product Examples (below, left to right)
Turn an ordinary tub into the perfect antidote to a long day at the office, with Hugo Naturals Effervescent Bath Salts. Therapeutic Dead Sea salt and mineral-rich Himalayan pink salt reduce tension, ease muscle pain, stimulate circulation, and leave your skin soft. Choose from French Lavender, Geranium, Mango & Guava, and Vanilla & Sweet Orange.
Pamper your skin every day with Depth Hand Soap with hydrating wild marine botanicals from the sea. Extracts of giant kelp, sea lettuce, seaweed, and red marine algae, plus aloe vera leave your skin soft and silky. Choose from Ocean Blossom, Bay Coconut, Sea Berry, and Mangrove Citrus.
Scrub your cares away with One With Nature Dead Sea Mud Soap. This fragrance-free soap combines therapeutic Dead Sea salts with moisturizing shea butter to help relax muscles, stimulate circulation, and restore the skin’s natural pH.
Get your glow on with Aura Cacia Pure Aromatherapy Nourishing Body Polish. Organic sugar cane granules lift away dull skin as creamy shea butter, coconut oil, and vitamin E moisturize. Five scents from 100 percent pure essential oils evoke particular moods: Cinnamon/Ylang Ylang (sensual and warming), Ginger/Mint (warming and replenishing), Lavender (calming and relaxing), Patchouli/Sweet Orange (love, peace, and happiness), and Tangerine/Grapefruit (refreshing and awakening).