May, a month to narrow in on mental health
Bathing and mental health
Self-care is a particularly important aspect when it comes to our mental well-being. In focusing our efforts inwards and tending to self, we’re able to show up for ourselves in a loving and nurturing way that can have transformative effects.
Unfortunately, it is the very thing to be neglected when one feels down or struggles with mental illness.
It leads to a vicious circle which is exceedingly difficult to break, that is why it’s essential to create an enjoyable and fun habit that can keep a tired and disconnected mind engaged.
The Bath Project, with our creative approach to bathing is our mission to encourage you to embrace the selfcare.
We have a whole spectrum of suggestions when it comes to creating your own bath. Adding stimulating aromas and colours can invigorate an apathetic mind, or with the choice of calming aromatherapy oils and soothing colours you can help your mind to rest and relax. The same can be achieved with different temperatures. A cooler bath taken in the morning can work as an energising ritual, increasing mental alertness when fatigue swamps your thoughts. The cool bath can shock and works like a dose of antidepressant as noradrenaline is released in the brain, the very neurotransmitter responsible for apathetic part of depression.
A warmer evening bath is relaxing and calming. Warm water reminds us of being in the womb or being in contact with another human being, decreasing levels of loneliness and bringing comfort and safety.
Having time for yourself away from a stressful day or interaction with family is another great reason to take time out in the form of a bath.
Bathing in warm water, especially with the additions of magnesium relaxes muscles, opens capillaries and reduces blood pressure and will influence a state of homeostasis within the body, allowing for the reduction of tension; feedback from the body reaches our mind and our nervous system automatically calms down. It switches from sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system. This means that the secretion of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol decreases, allowing rest for the body to enter into a state of rest and ease.
As I have mentioned above the automatic response to the physical experience is the first to reduce stress reaction and anxiety. It switches from sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic system in our brain uses the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine – this is responsible for a supporting feelings of relaxation. It is the same neurotransmitter that is triggered by alcohol, which explains why small amounts of it can give a sense of ease and letting go.
Warm water will relax your body and elevate body temperature. After coming out of the water the drop in body temperature will trigger a brain response as a natural hibernation. When we fall asleep our body temperature naturally reduces, if that happens without being asleep it triggers an automatic response of sleepiness. In this way it’s easier to fall asleep after having a bath and sleep will be deeper. This can help with the mental issue of insomnia.
In our book The Bath Project – The Art and Science of Bathing, you can find in depth information about a host of ingredients such as Bach remedies that help with emotional rebalancing and herbal infusions in the context of mental struggles like St John’s Wort.
When it comes to bathing, and bathing well it’s also advisable that you create the correct conditions for yourself.
The most important is to set at least 30 min aside for your bath. Take your time, run the bath and add elements such as salts, aromatherapy oils and herbal infusions or even better follow one of our recipes.
The bath itself should last about 20 min at a temperature of 38-41 degrees. Use a low light in the bathroom and if you can scented candles to stimulate your senses further. Listen to relaxing music, shut the door, switch off your phone and focus on all the information that comes through your senses – smell, touch, visual.
If you use our recipes you will see that bathing is most beneficial especially if your bath has a bit of colour. After the bath take 5-10 min to relax or get ready for good night sleep.
Here is one DIY universal mixture which is easy to follow – relaxing.
The purpose of this bathing recipe is to reduce tension in the body and mind.
- Camomile tea – calms skin and whole body
- Mint tea – calms skin and helps defend skin from inflammation, provides a refreshing sensation
- Lavender is a relaxing aroma which helps to reduce stress to the nervous system and reduces insomnia
- Orange aroma is uplifting
- Rescue remedy helps to let go of negative emotions
- Camomile tea 2 tea bags
- Mint tea 2 tea bags
- 100g Epsom/sea salt
- 1 orange sliced
- 3- 5 drops of lavender aromatherapy oil
- ½ tsp Orange natural extract ( for baking)
- 3 drops of Bach Rescue remedy
- Mint leaves
- 20 min
- 41 degrees
- Relaxing music or meditation
- Scented candles
The information provided is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. Any information provided is not meant to be used, nor should it be used, to diagnose or treat any medical condition. For diagnosis or treatment of any medical problem, consult your own physician. The publisher/author are not responsible for any specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision and are not liable for any damages or negative consequences from any treatment, action, application or preparation, to any person reading, watching, or following the information provided.
The Bath Project
For more great ideas and individual bath recipes to make at home, Dr Kubicka’s book The Bath Project is an authority on the subject and a comprehensive guide to the art and science of bathing.
To purchase the book – https://www.thebathproject.com/product/the-bath-project-book/.