Soaking in a tub filled with warm water for 20 minutes can cut stress for up to 12 hours. Here’s the science that explains why slipping into a warm tub makes you feel so blissful. Hot water boosts your brain’s production of the calming hormone oxytocin by 24 percent in two minutes, according to Brown University researchers. A hot bath balances blood sugar better than spending the same amount of time bicycling. U.K. scientists say the body releases proteins that increase insulin sensitivity when your temperature climbs.
A warm bath helps lower blood pressure and opens pores so healing ingredients can penetrate the skin. Whether you compose your own DIY nourishing soak or find the perfect bath bomb, get ready to relieve the stress of the exciting holiday season with these relaxing prescriptions.
Customize a bath soak just for you.
Choose your own ingredients to customize a healing bath just for you. Fill a small sachet with these ingredients or measure them into your bath.
Start with a half cup of one of these skin healers:
Oatmeal to hydrate skin and thwart itchiness.
Rose petals to soothe irritation and fight inflammation with anti-inflammatory oils.
Powdered charcoal to fight blemishes with compounds that pull out acne-causing bacteria.
Add 1 Tbs of one of these ailment soothers:
Ginger powder to induce sweating to help the body get rid of toxins and fight a cold.
Epsom salts to reduce muscle aches, pain and swelling.
Seaweed to improve circulation and lymph flow to reduce bloat.
Finish with 3 to 5 drops of oil.
Orange oil to elevate your mood with the study-proven scent of citrus.
Peppermint oil to enhance alertness and mental clarity.
Ylang-ylang oil to reduce stress triggers in the brain with a sedative-like scent.
Or shop for a luxuriating bath bomb
Try one of these to soak away your troubles and target whatever problems ails your mood, muscles or skin.
Cocoa butter’s vitamin E heals rashes and blemishes by forming a protective barrier over skin while locking in moisture.
Goddess, $8.95, Lush USA
Drift away and let the sensual jasmine, rose and Oudh oil fragrance envelop you while creamy cocoa butter waters make you feel like an ethereal being from head to toe. The divine sensation lingers long after the fizz is gone.
Clear sinuses with the aroma of peppermint and evergreen.
Twisted Peppermint Bath Fizzy, $9.95, BathAndBodyWorks
Christmas smells like a winter-fresh blend of cool peppermint, sugared snow, and fresh balsam
Epsom salts help relieve sore, achy muscles while the scent of lavender promotes pain-reducing tranquility.
Ulta’s Detoxifying Epsom Salt Lavender Bath Bomb, $7.50, Ulta.com
Lavender oil helps calm and soothe both body and mind, while Epsom salts helps draw out toxins and impurities from the body. Coconut oil Helps nourish and hydrate overworked skin.
Algae extract and seaweed help get rid of the body’s water retention, so you lose bloat and feel slimmer.
Seaweed Giant Bombshell, $12.95, Lush USA
You’ll float off on a gentle wave of serenity as softening strands of seaweed and an effervescent sea mist fill your bath. Five types of seaweed—kombu, sea lettuce, kelp, dulse, and bladderwrack—along with sodium alginate soften skin and reduce bloat, while a delicate blend of citrusy mandarin and orange flower combines with comforting vanilla brighten skin.