Relaxation Bath Salts
I love taking baths. I could literally just sit in a bath tub with a book and a glass of wine for an hour or two. They're so deeply relaxing and have the potential to be a wonderful way to retreat from the world and just chill out.
Now, more than ever, I really appreciate that aspect of a bath. I turn off my phone (so the CNN notifications don't give me a heart attack), close and lock the door (so my partner doesn't come in and tell me what just happened on CNN), and, if for only an hour, nothing else exists. Taking that time to unplug and turn off the stress and anxiety of the day is so healing, and honestly, so necessary for my sanity. I don't take a bath every day (I wish!), but a few times a month is enough to mellow me out.
The best part about taking a bath is that it's so easy and cheap to take it up a notch. Yeah, you can go to a mall store and spend a fortune on bath bombs, but why bother? You can make a delicious and effective bath salt right now, probably with stuff you already have! I love making my own bath salts. Not only are they best when they're fresh, but you can customize them exactly how you want them.
This recipe is one I came up with specifically for helping to reduce anxiety. I'll include notes at the end for substitutions and customization.
Mellow-Out Bath Salt
- 8 ounces coarse sea salt
- 1 tablespoon (or so) of oil. I used fractionated coconut
- 14 drops of Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) oil
- 24 drops of Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) oil
- 7 drops of Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) oil
- a jar with a lid to store your salts in
First dump your salt into a large mixing bowl. By the way, I measure my salt by weight on my kitchen scale.
Then, in a small bowl, combine the coconut oil and the essential oils. Stir well with a spoon.
Drizzle the oil mixture over the salt and stir really, really well. Make sure that the oil is distributed as evenly as possible.
Spoon your salts into a jar (plastic is best for use in the bathroom- it's won't shatter if you drop it!), close the lid, and shake vigorously to finish mixing the ingredients. Add a label to show what's in the jar, and an expiration date (it's best used within three weeks).
That's it! Easy as pie. To use the salts, I recommend that you take a bath 3-5 times each week, as time allows. Spend at least 20 minutes in the bat. Bathe approximately 30-60 minutes before bed. The water should be warm enough to be relaxing, but not so hot that you become uncomfortable or over-stimulated. For each bath, use approximately 1 ounce of salts (this recipe will give you about 8 baths! Yay!).
All three of these essential oils are sedatives. Ylang ylang may help with insomnia, and it has been shown to help reduce blood pressure. Cedar, thanks to the sesquiterpenol cederol, is calming and sedative. Hemlock has a very high concentration of bornyl acetate, which has been shown to be anti-inflammatory and, you guessed it, sedative. These three oils are such a perfect combination for a before-bed dip. Make some chamomile tea and let the worries of the day wash right down the drain. [btw- these are just some fun facts. I'm not a doctor or a chemist!]
Substitutions and Customization
This is a really basic recipe and there's a lot you can do with it. Let's go ingredient by ingredient.
- Salt: In the picture, I used pink Himalayan salt. However, you can use whatever you have! Coarse sea salt looks pretty, so it's the natural choice. It comes in a lot of colors, which can be fun, but the colors don't mean that they're better or have any health benefits. They're just pretty. If you're experiencing physical stress (tense muscles) or have had a muscle injury (a strain, perhaps), add some Epsom salt. I like to do 4 ounces of Epsom salt and 4 ounces of sea salt, but you can use 8 ounces of Epsom salt if you want!
- Oil: Using a little oil makes it easier for the essential oils to blend and disperse in the salt mixture. You can use pretty much any plant oil that you have on hand. I love fractionated (liquid) coconut oil, but you can use jojoba, grapeseed, vegetable, canola, olive, walnut, sunflower, etc. You can even use regular (solid) coconut oil- just heat it up until it's a liquid, mix in the oil, and dump it in the salt. The finished product might be a little chunky, but that's fine.
- Essential Oils: I really suggest using the oils I've picked. Cedar and ylang ylang are both really easy to find. Many grocery stores (Wegmans, here) carry Aura Cacia brand oils. All the stores near me always have cedar and ylang ylang in stock. Hemlock, however, can be trickier. I buy mine through Aromatics.com, but if you'd rather swap it out with something you can find, I'd suggest Balsam Fir Needle (Abies balsamea). That's another oil easily found at Wegmans! If you do want to use other oils, that's fine! Just stick to the recipe: 45 drops of oil for 8 ounces of salt. That ends up being 5-6 drops of oil per bath, which should be ample. If you choose to use very safe oils (like lavender only), you could try increasing the oil to a total of 50-55 drops per 8 ounces of salt. Increase the carrier oil (coconut, olive, etc) a little bit as well. If you have sensitive skin, stick to the 45 drop maximum. Even if you think you're hardcore, remember: oil and water don't mix. The essential oil will float on the top of the bath water, and, if you use too much, can irritate your skin. Also, the longer you stay in the bath, the more irritated your skin could become. Less is best!
- Before you pick an essential oil to use, do some research to find out if that oil is safe on skin. You want to stay away from "hot" oils (like cinnamon, peppermint, clove, basil, etc) and oils that are phototoxic (bergamot, lime, lemon, etc). Hot oils can burn you, and phototoxic oils can make it easy for you to get a sunburn.
That's all, folks! An easy and effective bath salt to help chill you out. I hope you try this recipe out! If you do, let me know how you liked it, or how you customized it!
[Editor's Note: This post was salvaged from a past Zu Foos website. The publication date is, therefore, approximate]