People the world over have been using water to heal muscle pain, reduce fevers, and stimulate the circulatory and immune systems since ancient times. Hot springs and spas offering therapeutic soaking pools are still popular destinations for people with muscle aches and pains as well as for recreation and relaxation. Some Seattle soaking spots around town are Ladywell’s in Greenwood, the Hot House on Capitol Hill, the Olympus Spa in Lynwood or Tacoma, or for co-ed bathing (swimsuits required) try Banya 5 on South Lake Union.
But you don’t have to leave home to get the healing benefits of hydrotherapy. You can relax and relieve muscle tension by putting a cup or two of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) in a hot bath and soaking for about twenty minutes, or even just doing a foot bath with epsom salts to relieve tired, achy feet. Epsom salts are thought to ease muscle pain and tension through osmosis, pulling toxins and substances out of muscle tissue. Though there is little research to show this, I always feel more relaxed and flexible after an epsom salt bath. I often take them after an intensive workout or hike to prevent muscle soreness. You can find epsom salts in any drug store or grocery store.
By alternating hot and cold water (or warm and cool) in your shower and ending with cold water is great way to stimulate your circulatory and immune systems, as well as leaving you feel refreshed and more awake.
By adding drops of essential oil to your epsom salt bath, you can increase the relaxation benefits. I enjoy using lavender, chamomile, and marjoram oils to soothe muscle, aches and cramps. You can also place freshly grated ginger in a cheesecloth sachet and let it soak with you in the bath to soothe an upset stomach or to help decrease nausea.
You can also read about my Bath Bombs for Inner Peace (all-natural aromatherapeutic fizzy bath bombs) by clicking on my “Natural Skincare” page, and you can purchase them from my “Paypal” page. Many of my clients have fallen in love with using these yummy bath goodies and I hope you will too!
One of my favorite essential oils is peppermint, which is often used to soothe headache pain. Make a compress by soaking a washcloth in cold water that you’ve added about four drops of peppermint essential oil to, wring it out, and apply it to your forehead and temples.
Sinus congestion responds well to aromatherapy and hydrotherapy as well. Simply boil water and place in a large bowl. Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil and lean over the bowl and breathe in the vapors. You’ll soon be breathing clearly through your nose again. Add a couple of drops of peppermint or rosemary essential oil to feel more awake and alert. By draping a thin towel over your head while doing this ensures that the heat and vapors do their job more effectively.
Aromatherapy not only smells amazing, but has positive re-balancing effects on your health, making it the perfect complement to your self-care routine!