When Life Becomes a Bit Much, Try This!
What could be more luxurious at the end of a long day than soaking in a nice, warm mineral bath surrounded by heavenly aromas? Fancy European spas have known forever that this kind of pampering will revitalize you, body, mind and spirit. But you don’t have to jet off to Paris to discover this for yourself.
One of the key requirements for rejuvenating the physical body is relaxation. This is not a new concept, but could life be any more hectic or disconcerting than it is these days? And how long has it been since your last trip to the spa?
In my recent research, I’ve discovered that the degree to which we need to release the tension in our muscles and tissues to stay healthy is much greater than most of us realize. The internal body mechanisms that rebuild and replace worn-out cells do their job while we are at rest. Without deep relaxation on a daily basis, they are not able to do the job well. This leaves us heading for chronic disease rather than youthful vitality.
The more challenging life is, the more we need to relax, so here is one of the easiest, most pleasant things we can do to stay healthy:
Relax and Rejuvenate with Herbal Epsom Salts
Epsom salts start to release muscle tension and promote deep relaxation the moment you ease into the tub. Herbs can increase these benefits while they add their wonderful fragrance and rejuvenate your skin.
But which herbs to chose? Well, that depends on what you need at the moment, so keep reading to find out.
What To Do
Choose one or more of the herbs listed below. If you have some growing nearby, clip a few stems and gently rinse them in cool water. Then just tuck them into a small muslin bag and tie it up.
Dried herbs also work well. To get their full benefit, put the bag of dried herbs in a pan of hot water for about ten minutes before adding both the bag and the pan of water to the bath.
While running the bath water, put 2 cups of Epsom salt into the tub and swish it around to dissolve. Add the herb bag, and get in the tub while it’s still filling, to monitor and adjust the temperature. You want it to be as warm as possible but still comfortable.
When the tub is full, soak for fifteen to twenty minutes, adding hot water when needed to keep the bath warm. Mentally see your body relaxing. Notice your muscles letting go. If thoughts of your to-do list enter your mind, imagine them dissolving and floating away. This is your time!
NOTE: If you start to feel dizzy or your stomach feels upset, you’re a bit overheated and it’s time to get out!
Why you might want to go start filling the tub now:
- To relax muscles and relieve tension and anxiety.
Lavender is the traditional choice for both its relaxing effect and fragrance. It is antispasmodic and sedative, and relieves depression.
Skullcap, passionflower and valerian release muscle tension, but don’t provide much fragrance. If you use one of these, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Catnip, lemon balm, rose petal, and violet are milder, yet still calming.
Peppermint has an interesting mix of effects. It is calming to the visceral, deep core muscles, yet stimulating in ways that relieve migraine and tension headaches.
- To reduce inflammation.
If you have sore muscles from over-exertion, soak in an Epsom salt bath as described above, adding some anti-inflammatory herbs. You can also use these for inflammation following a mild injury, but do wait twenty-four hours. Don’t soak any open wounds or areas with stitches, and follow your health care provider’s instructions.
St. John’s Wort is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory herbs. If you have access to some growing fresh, that will give you the most benefit. But the dried herb maintains most of the medicinal properties, and you can also use a prepared extract.
Avena sativa is the Latin name for oats. Yes, it’s what’s for breakfast, but it also reduces inflammation, nourishes nerve cells, and relieves insomnia and anxiety. You can use dried stems or whole grains in the muslin bag for a calming effect. It also moisturizes the skin, and you can’t complain about that!
- To soothe irritated skin and insect bites.
Epsom salts baths can be used to relieve redness, itching, and irritation of the skin. It can help mosquito and other insect bites, and that après-garden itching from working outside.
Plantain leaf (the plant, not the fruit,) and marshmallow root, (not the kind used in s’mores,) are soothing herbs, excellent for quick relief of dry or itchy skin when added to the bath.
Jewel weed is the best herb for relieving poison ivy.
4. To get your daily magnesium.
I read recently that many of us are deficient in magnesium due to soil depletion and processed foods. This adversely affects heart health, and can cause fatigue, anxiety, high blood pressure, type-two diabetes, memory loss, and more. Foods with magnesium include kale, spinach, nuts, seeds, avocados, and fish.
If you don’t feel like cooking, just have a nice soak with Epsom salts, whose scientific name, after all, is magnesium sulfate.
Using Epsom salts with herbs is a quick and easy way to relax and rejuvenate! Have you ever used Epsom salts in the bath? If you added herbs, which ones and what were the results? Leave a comment in the contact section!