By Wendy Burnett
One of my absolute favorite activities is a nice long soak in a hot bath full of some wonderful smelling bath salts, but that can be expensive if you have to go out and buy the bath salts at the store. I’ve found out I can make my own; quickly, easily, AND cheaply; with just a few simple ingredients.
Not only are they just as luxurious as the store bought ones, but I can select essential oils that help to relax me and ease my pain, or ones that will wake me up and reduce depression. I decide what effect I want, and with a little research and experimentation, I can get it.
CAUTION: Do not use pure essential oils directly on your skin. They are very strong, and can cause burns and scarring if used undiluted. If you accidentally get some on you, use olive oil or coconut oil on it immediately to dilute it, and see a doctor if there is any pain or reddening of the skin. Also, you should never use an essential oil derived from any plant you are allergic to. (If you’re allergic to ragweed, be extremely careful of chamomile oil. They are members of the same family, and an allergy to ragweed means you may also react to chamomile.) See Using Essential Oils Safely for more information.
- epsom salt
- a glass container with an airtight seal (you can’t use plastic or metal with essential oils, the oils will interact with the container, and could introduce toxins to your salts.)
- essential oils of your choice
- optional: unscented sea salt to mix with the epsom salt
Note: The magnesium in the epsom salt is absorbed through your skin, and helps to relieve pain and relax your muscles. If you’re using the bath to help ease the symptoms of your chronic illness, I recommend that you use no more than half sea salt if you mix it. Although sea salt also contains many trace minerals, it doesn’t work as well to ease pain; and it increases the price of your blend because it is much more expensive.
The basic recipe is simple. For each cup of salt, add 10 drops of essential oil. I like to layer it, with a cup of salt, add 10 drops of oil, another cup of salt, another 10 drops of oil until my container is about 3/4 of the way full, then seal it and shake it up really well. It just seems to mix better and infuse the scents more evenly, especially if I’m using several different oils. For the most even infusion and blending of scents, leave the jar sealed for at least 24 hours before using, shaking it several times to remix and blend.
One of my favorite essential oil blends is half lavender and half rosemary. They are both excellent for skin irritations like psoriasis, eczema or insect bites; stimulate the circulatory system; reduce stress and fatigue; help with migraines and tension headaches; open the the bronchial tubes and help with asthma and bronchitis; repel insects; and reduce pain. Lavender also helps to reduce depression and anxiety, eases the pain of sciatica, and is helpful with vertigo; and rosemary is helpful with neuralgia and “fibrog” (it’s a mental stimulant.)
Using your bath salt:
Fill the tub with water as warm as you can handle (if that’s only tepid, that’s just fine.) Add two to five cups of your bath salt under the running water, swishing it around to make sure it all dissolves, climb in and relax for at least 20 minutes (I normally end up staying at least an hour, adding warm water as needed to keep the temperature comfortable.)
For an even more relaxing, stress-relieving experience; turn off the lights, light a couple of unscented candles, and play some soothing music or a guided meditation.
This bath salt blend is also very helpful in a foot bath at the end of a long, tiring day. It will help relieve the pain of being on your feet, as well as helping to ease the fatigue. Add one cup of the bath salt to a warm foot bath, and soak for at least 20 minutes, adding warm water if needed to keep it at a comfortable temperature.
I’ve found that taking a long, hot bath with my homemade bath salts helps me manage the symptoms of my fibromyalgia, as well as being helpful with various other chronic illness issues. Stress makes my symptoms worse, and a bath not only relieves pain and reduces muscle tension, it also helps me relax and reduces my stress levels.
With the addition of a label and a pretty ribbon, homemade bath salts also make an excellent, inexpensive gift for almost any occasion. You’ll save money, and the recipient will enjoy a soothing experience that will make them feel wonderful.
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