Stress: it gives you breakouts, can make you feel totally drained, and has a slew of other negative effects on your general health and well-being. And yet, it doesn't seem like the world is going to stop producing stress-inducing challenges, not the least of which are work, relationships, and financial obligations. That said, there are a few things that can help manage — or ease — the inevitable, and a simple (albeit temporary) solution that's also totally accessible includes concocting a luxurious, stress-relieving bath.
Along with other self-care methods like creating small daily rituals and making time for exercise, a nice long soak has long been a go-to for unwinding and relaxing. That said, there are plenty of ways to improve upon the classic bubble bath with the addition of key ingredients that soothe both your body and mind. Holistic esthetician and energetic healer Julie Civiello Polier — who specializes in intuitive facials and Reiki treatments — can attest to the fact that there are many things you can toss in your tub to take it from ordinary to downright blissful, and they're easier to find than you might think.
Civiello Polier has been well acquainted with the healing properties of plants since she was a child. Her mom worked as a macrobiotic chef for women battling stage 4 cancer, so she saw firsthand the magic that could be found in nature — from foods to flower remedies. Since the LA-based healer also regularly uses items like herbs and crystals to boost her treatments, she's an ideal source to share what you can do to upgrade your bath situation to a stress-relieving, anxiety-reducing haven. So, light some candles, get the hot water running, and follow Julie's tips to take your bath game up a notch.
The first bath-boosting ingredient is probably something you've already got in your pantry. As Civiello Polier says, "[Chamomile] is an old reliable. [It contains] compounds that bond to the same brain receptors that valium is able to, calming the whole body and mind in a natural way." Additionally, this powerful flower "soothes an upset stomach and invites deep relaxation as well as induces restful sleep." Add to your bath by placing tea bags directly into your tub, or steep separately and just pour it in.
Magnesium Epsom Salt
Every super-relaxing bath should start with this classic ingredient that even your great grandma probably swears by. Civiello Polier shares, "this is my absolute favorite and I use it every night in my bath. Magnesium is a mineral we are all deficient in, and it is so calming. Not only is it wonderful for digestion and assisting to maintain a healthy release in the colon, it also soothes the nervous system, allowing us to maintain a calming, ease-filled presence. The epsom salt also reduces aches and pains in the muscles, which can be caused by stress and tension." When you've had a particularly taxing day — or after an exceptionally brutal workout — dissolve a cup of this stuff under running water and let it work its magic.
Although probably a lesser known ingredient, skullcap packs a punch. "This herb can be very much like a sedative, known for being a tonic to the nerves," Julie explains. To use, simply steep in hot water and add to the bath, or if you don't mind the loose leaves floating around (which actually look rather pretty), just toss them right in.
You likely have heard of the benefits of ginseng when used internally, but according to Civiello Polier, this ancient herb can also work wonders in your bath. "American ginseng supports the overall immune system and constitution, relieving fatigue and debilitating indecision," she explains. Peel and toss the root right into your tub to let it do its thing.
Blue Lace Agate
Crystals are a big part of Civiello Polier's energetic facial treatments, and they're just as useful for a truly magical bath. In particular, blue lace agate is "an exceptional stone for melting anxiety because the stone has healing properties that emit a frequency that is calming and soothing, allowing the nervous system to relax," she says. Get the effects by either holding the stone in your hand while bathing or placing right in the tub to infuse the water around you.
Red Chestnut Flower Remedy
While this flower essence is something you'll actually take orally before getting into your bath, it will still aid in the overall soothing experience once you're soaking. As Civiello Polier explains, it "invites harmony and a release of excessive worry on behalf of others. This remedy brings us back to ourselves, to the peace that is available in this moment."