Soaking in a warm bath is therapeutic on many levels. Hot baths can relieve sore muscles and joints.
Adding essential oils to your bath can be the icing on the cake. They bring about even more benefits, including making your bath more of a luxurious experience.
Read on to learn more about ways you can use essential oils and a few oils that may be right for your bath.
Lavender’s popularity is due in part to its gentle scent and effect on people’s mood. Lavender is often used to promote relaxation and balance, which allows for more restful sleep.
Its stress-relieving properties make it an effective mood booster for some people. Lavender relieves pain and inflammation. It can also be used to treat headaches and migraines.
Lemon and other citrus essential oils have shown benefits for people when used in aromatherapy.
A 2008 study found that the aroma of lemon had consistently positive effects on people involved in the study.
A 2015 review reported that lemon essential oil has antiseptic, antifungal, antimicrobial, astringent, and detoxifying properties that contribute to immune system function.
Lemon and other citrus oils make your skin very sun-sensitive. Do not go out in the sun with these oils on your skin.
The crisp scent of eucalyptus is a bit stronger and sharper than other oils. You may wish to use less of it or blend it with another oil such as:
Many people find this oil refreshing and stimulating.
Inhaling the vapor can stimulate opening up your nasal passages similar to menthol or camphor (think Vicks Vaporub). And like those oils, a little goes a long way, and too much eucalyptus oil can be an irritant.
Eucalyptus oil has also been used to relieve aches and pains in the joints and muscles. It’s often used as aromatherapy during massage.
Be aware that many people are allergic to eucalyptus. Use cautiously and consider children, pregnant women, and pets in the area.
Other popular essential oil bath choices include:
- chamomile essential oil
- frankincense essential oil
- ylang ylang essential oil
- citrus oils, such as grapefruit, lemon, and bergamot
For a quick, no-fuss bath with essential oils, you can find ready-made products that are already infused with essential oils, like:
- bath bombs
- bath oils
- body washes
- soap bars
- liquid soap
- shampoos and conditioners
A good rule of thumb when making your own essential oil mix is to start with one type of essential oil and always mix it with a carrier oil before adding it to your bath.
Why? Since oils float in water and tend to stick to surfaces they touch, like your skin, concentrated essential oil is more likely to irritate skin if not diluted in a carrier oil.
Here’s what to do if you’d like to mix your own blend of essential oils for your baths.
The Tisserand Institute recommends a dilution rate of 1 percent to 4 percent for essential oils that you want to use in your bath. It recommends vegetable oils as a carrier oil.
- 10 milliliters (2 teaspoons) of carrier oil
- 1 drop essential oil = 0.5 percent
- 3 drops essential oil = 1 percent
- 6 drops essential oil = 2 percent
- 9 drops essential oil = 3 percent
- 12 drops essential oil = 4 percent
To use for a bath, blend 5 to 20 drops of essential oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil. Carrier oil options include:
- argan oil
Add your oil blend right before you get into the bath. Mixing it in at the end will help to ensure the oils don’t evaporate too quickly.
You can rub the droplets of oil onto your skin as you relax in the bath. Or, you can rub the oil blend onto your skin before getting into the bath. This allows the oils to penetrate your skin and be absorbed for maximum benefits.
Use castile soap or body gel if you want to have a bubble bath.
Dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil. Mix the diluted essential oil into a small amount of liquid in a small bottle. Shake it vigorously and then add it in as the water is running. Again, add this mix in right before you’re about to get in.
You can find a recipe for making your own bath bombs here.
You can also find essential oil blends to apply to your skin that can be done while you’re bathing. You can even use a few self-massage or acupressure techniques.
You don’t have to have a bathtub to use essential oils for aromatherapy. To use essential oils in the shower, add three to five drops of essential oil to the wall or outer edge of your shower. The hot water will diffuse the scent.
Find a reputable brand that provides genuine essential oils and not an artificial substitute or poor-quality oil. Many herbalists recommend brands of oil according to the manufacturer’s website.
Here are a few important tips to remember about essential oils:
- Avoid if you have scratches or broken skin. Do not use essential oils on broken, inflamed, or irritated skin.
- Be careful of sunlight when applying citrus oils on your skin. Sometimes citrus essential oils can cause photosensitivity. Avoid direct exposure to sunlight after using any citrus oil.
- Do a patch test before first use. Because they’re concentrated essential oils have the potential cause allergic reactions or skin irritation. If you’re using an essential oil for the first time, do a skin patch test before full use. Apply a small amount to the inside of your forearm and wait 24 hours to see if any reaction occurs.
- Always dilute essential oils. Essential oils are concentrated and need to be diluted in a carrier oil before using them.
Who should avoid essential oils?
Talk to your doctor or a certified aromatherapy practitioner if you have any health concerns or take medications that could be affected by hot baths or essential oils. Do not use essential oils with:
- people who are pregnant
- people who are breastfeeding
- infants under 1-year-old
For children under the age of 12 years old, use essential oils with caution. Consider children who are in the environment while the oils are being diffused.
Essential oils and pets
Keep in mind that essential oils can be irritants and even toxic to pets, especially cats. If essential oils are being diffused into the air, your pets are also being exposed.
Take the time to learn about and experiment with essential oils for the bath. Over time, you’ll be able to tailor your bathing oils to suit your mood and preferences.
If you have the time, make a day or evening out of your bath time. Enjoy a hot cup of chamomile, lavender, or peppermint tea with honey. Take your time — any amount of time.
Make up a blend of your favorite essential oils.
Create a spray or rollerball of these scents to carry with you throughout the day. Use your creation during the day when you need a reminder for relaxation. Take a deep breath, inhale, and remember.