After a hard workout, you want to help your muscles recover so they can grow big and strong, but also so that you don't have to suffer the soreness that often goes with a tough exercise session. Of course, a warm bath sounds wonderful, but there are some great things you can add to your bath that will enhance the benefits. So go ahead a run that tub full of deliciously warm water, but make sure to add one of these things when you do. Each of them is approved by the experts at dailyburn.com so you know they've got to be good. Happy soaking!
Hop into a tub of hops? According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic & clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, soaking in beer byproducts can help relieve stress and anxiety. Hops — the flowers used to infuse flavor into beer — have antioxidant properties that help calm inflammation, Dr. Zeichner says. He adds, “Brewer’s yeast, which is also used to make beer, contains B-complex vitamins that soothe and brighten the skin.” Beer baths are starting to pop up in spas, like at Hop in the Spa in Sisters, Oregon. To create this experience at home, Dr. Zeichner suggests adding 1-2 cups of beer to a half-filled tub.
This breakfast favorite can help you not only glow from the inside out but through your nightly soak. The grainy texture of oatmeal can help exfoliate dry skin and help ease symptoms for conditions, like eczema, which causes skin to lose hydration and become inflamed, Zeicher says. “Skin-calming ingredients like colloidal oatmeal can help soothe the skin, improve hydration and repair the skin barrier, ” Zeicher notes. He recommends Aveeno Oatmeal Soothing Bath Treatment or you can DIY with this homemade oatmeal and brown sugar facial scrub.
Studies have shown that aromatherapy can help lower blood pressure and stress levels. Stiles recommends eucalyptus oil to relieve stress, anxiety and tension; orange oil to get an energy boost; peppermint oil to help ease stomach issues; and sweet marjoram oil to help soothe body aches and pains. Her pro tip: Add a few drops of your essential oil blend to a suitable carrier (Epsom salt, sea salt, honey or cream) before adding it to your bath water. “Because oil and water don’t mix, your carrier will act as a dispersant for blending your essential oils into your bath water,” she says.
We know that milk can do your body good. Plus, it contains proteins that help soothe irritated skin, Zeichner says. Soaking in beauty products made with milk byproducts will take your bath from sudsy to creamy — and your skin will thank you. “It is commonly used to treat sunburns, but it may be useful in rosacea as well,” Zeichner adds. But don’t just grab your milk jug and start pouring. Milk-based powders, liquid soaps or bars are the way to go.
A fan favorite among athletes, Epsom salt baths can help ease post-workout aches, pains and muscle tightness. “Epsom salt is rich in magnesium salts which provide soothing and exfoliating properties to the skin,” says Zeichner. “It can also help reduce the inflammation in a variety of skin conditions, such as psoriasis,” he adds. Zeichner recommends it for soothing bunions, plantar fasciitis and inflammation to the joints.
If you’re looking to capture some of the peaceful scents and sights from the outdoors, grab some flowers and shower the petals on top of your bath. Studies have shown that being around nature can help you de-stress and boost your mood. Colors like blue, lavender and green are also soothing to the eyes.
No frills kind of bather? Try bath bombs instead. This all-in-one product includes essential oils, powdered minerals, baking soda, body butters and dried flowers. You can make your own bath bomb at home, or buy them at stores, like LUSH.
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