Nothing is quite as stress-busting as a soak in a warm bath with uplifting or relaxing scents and a skin-softening blend of oils. When skin is very dry, an oil bath is helpful because skin softened by water and warmth absorbs nutritious oils more effectively. Mineral salts help relieve aching muscles and joints and revive tired skin.

Get the temperature right:
Heat and cold can have as much effect on body and mind as the botanical and oils you choose to throw into a bath. Take a warm bath to soothe, relax, and relieve aching muscles. Cool water baths are more invigorating, refreshing, and revitalizing, while cold water jets tone the skin. Avoid very hot baths: they can be exhausting, dehydrate the body, and dry out skin.

Mineral detox

Mineral salts have a detoxifying action, encouraging perspiration to carry away waste products.

9 tbsp Epsom salts
4 tbsp sea salt
3 drops each essential oils
of cypress and juniper
1 tsp olive oil

Blend the salts in a bowl, then stir into a very warm bath. Just before stepping in, mix the essential oils into the olive oil and swish in. Bathe for 12 minutes for best effects. Sip a glass of water. Shower off salt residue before retiring to bed. (Avoid if you are pregnant, have heart or kidney disease, or high blood pressure.)

Flower bath

Combine jasmine and rose oils to create a soothing, yet uplifting bathing experience.
6 drops essential oil of jasmine
2 drops essential oil of rose
1 tsp sweet almond oil
2 tbsp rosewater
rose petals or jasmine flowers

Drop the essential oils into the almond oil. Swish the rosewater and oil mixture into the bath and throw in the petals just before stepping in. Place a strainer over the drain when emptying the bathwater.

Vanilla milk revitalizer

For smooth, revitalized skin, cast two vanilla pods into the water as the bath fills. Place 12 tbsp milk powder in a bowl and dilute with double the amount of cool water, adding the liquid gradually until no lumps remain, then pour into the bath. After bathing, rinse the vanilla pods and reserve for another bath.

Coconut milk bath

This nourishing creamy mix rehydrates the skin and incorporates the benefits of antioxidant honey.
small can coconut milk
1 tbsp buckwheat honey
2 drops each essential oils of vetivert
and geranium

Blend the coconut milk, honey, and essential oils together. Stir into a running bath just before stepping in.

Summer herb soak

Gather two handfuls each of fresh lavender stalks and fresh leafy mint stems. Tie in a bouquet and throw into a hot bath as it fills. Scatter the leaves of 4-6 scented roses into the water before stepping in.

White tea bath

Make the most of the antioxidant properties of white tea.

4 white tea bags
2 tsp sweet almond oil

Boil a kettle of water, and leave to cool slightly. Place the tea bags in a teapot and pour over the hot water. Leave to steep as you run a bath, pouring in the oil. Before stepping in, pour in the tea infusion and swish to disperse. Close your eyes, placing the cooled, squeezed tea bags over them.

Seaweed boost

Restore vibrancy to the skin while detoxifying and boosting circulation.

2 large strips dried kelp or other
6 tbsp dried mint
12 tbsp seaweed-flecked sea salt

Crumble the seaweed into a large pan of water and add the mint. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the salt to a bodytemperature bath, then pour in the seaweed mixture. After bathing, place a strainer over the drain and shower off remaining salt. Drink a glass of water. (Avoid if you have heart or blood pressure problems or are pregnant.)

Sandalwood meditation

Combine these oils to produce a bath made for meditation.

5 drops essential oil of sandalwood
2 drops essential oil of patchouli
2 tsp sweet almond oil
sandalwood incense and soap tealight

Run a warm bath. Just before stepping in, mix the essential oils into the almond oil and pour into the bath, swishing to disperse. Light the incense and a tealight placed at the end of the bath. Wash with the sandalwood soap. Without blinking, focus on the tip of the tealight’s flame, trying to find the point where it disappears. When you can look no longer, close your eyes and see the image in your mind’s eye.

Soothing bath bag

Spoon 12 tbsp milk powder and 12 tbsp oatmeal into the center of a large square of muslin, then tie the corners in the center to secure. Place in a bath as you run the water, then use as a soap substitute to cleanse and relieve irritated skin.

Relaxing bath oil

Combine these essential oils for soothing effects on body and mind.

1 tsp sweet almond oil
4 drops essential oil of lavender
3 drops essential oil of camomile
2 drops essential oil of geranium

Mix the oils and swish into bathwater just before stepping in.

Detoxifying bath oil

When you need some “get up and go” try this zesty, woody aroma.

1 tsp grapeseed oil
4 drops essential oil of cypress
2 drops each essential oils of juniper and rosemary

Mix the oils and swish into bathwater just before stepping in. (Omit rosemary oil if you have epilepsy; juniper if you have kidney disease.)

Reviving bath oil

These essential oils are renowned for their purifying properties.

1 tsp sunflower oil
4 drops essential oil of rose
2 drops essential oil of orange
2 drops essential oil of rosemary

Mix the oils and swish into bathwater just before stepping in. (Omit rosemary oil if you have epilepsy.)

Hand bathing

Take half a bottle of red wine and bring to the boil with a handful each of nettles, rosemary, thyme, and mint. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, covered. When cool, strain and use to bathe the hands to boost circulation and prevent swelling.

Add moisture

Customize any dry skin bath oil mix by adding a teaspoon of avocado or wheatgerm oil or one vitamin E capsule (prick and squeeze in).

Natural soap

Search out best-quality sandalwood soap, which always comes from Mysore in India. Relish the texture and intense scent, thought to promote meditation and valued in India for its cooling effect.

Take a sauna

Japanese research suggests a 15- minute daily sauna can help prevent heart disease. As searing heat causes blood vessels to dilate, blood flow increases to the skin’s surface; and blood pressure drops. (Avoid if you have high blood pressure, heart or vascular disease, varicose veins, or if you are pregnant.)

Sea bathing

Whenever the opportunity arises bathe outdoors—in the ocean, in mountain springs, in naturally heated spring water, in mud baths, beneath waterfalls—to benefit the mind and increase well-being.