How to Create a Relaxing Bath

By Kerry Knight

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Taking time to relax to reduce your stress levels can make you feel good. Reducing stress is an important part of taking care of oneself, such as eating properly, getting adequate exercise and sleep.  A warm bath can help relax tense nerves and muscles and can also improve your overall health.   When you’re more relaxed, your blood pressure is lowered, and your body produces less cortisol, a hormone that can wreak havoc in your body over time. Let me offer some suggestions on how to make your bath a special occasion to relish.

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Have the Right Tub.  The ideal tub for relaxing tired muscles and frayed nerves is a deep-soaking tub.  The beautiful cast iron and porcelain tubs are ideal for this.  A traditional fiberglass drop-in tub is only a few inches deep when you measure to the overflow.  This is the type of tub you’ll find in most homes. It’s time to get rid of the old “tub bucket” and replace it with a gorgeous deep-soaking tub, such as our elegant Clawfoot Tubs.  The classic reproductions are very similar to the antique bathtubs of yesteryear.  These cast iron tubs, overlaid with rich classy porcelain, are back in vogue.  They come in many shapes and sizes such as Slipper Tubs, Double Slippers, Dual-Ended, Pedestals, and Traditional Roll Tops.  Most will come with elegant chrome, brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze legs, all of which accentuate the beauty of the tub.  These tubs allow you to lie back in a full body of water and totally relax.

Testimonial for Cast Iron Pedestal Tub

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Another great option is our Walk-in Tubs. They’re like having your own, private Jacuzzi in your own bathroom.  Some models have air jets, and others have both air jets and hydro jets with a built-in heater. The soothing jets relax tired, aching muscles and joints, and reduce the discomfort and disability associated with back pain, fibromyalgia, early arthritis and much more.  Did you know that the human body weighs 90% less in water?  That fact alone brings rest to a weary and tired body, and stressed out mind.

Get Clean Before You Soak. This first step is optional, but if you’ve been exercising or working in the yard or just feel grimy, rinsing off in the bath or shower first will help you feel like you’re not soaking in dirty water.

Make Sure Your Bathroom is Clean and Warm.  Nothing destroys the mood more than seeing trash or clutter on the floor while you’re trying to relax.  Set the temperature gauge so that when you get out of the tub there’s no sudden chill.  A small heater in the bathroom might be the perfect thing – as long as you place in area that’s going to remain dry.  Remove any items that can spoil your mood. For example, if you have a cat and keep the litter box in the bathroom, move it elsewhere when you’re taking this important time out for yourself. 

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Plan a Themed Bath.  How about a total lavender theme? Combine lavender oils, fragrances and d├ęcor.  But, keep the fragrances to a minimum so as to overpower your senses. You could even use some rich, soft purple towels to really set the mood right, along with purple candles.

Set the Water Temperature Right.  Make sure the water is warm but not scalding.  Incidentally, unlike regular fiberglass tubs, the cast iron will help keep the water’s warmth longer. Water temperature is very subjective so you may want vary it to see which suits you best. I know of some people who prefer cooler water temperatures in the summer time and warmer during the colder months. 

Speaking of temperature, if you’re one of the fortunate few to have a shower and bathtub in the same bathroom, you can always take a lesson in relaxation from the Finns, Danes, Swedes, Russians, etc. Sometimes called a “sauna cycle,” you alternate between soaking in a hot (again, not scalding) bath for about 10-15 minutes and then immediately take a cold shower.  Alternate between the two for about three to five times each. I guarantee when you’ve finished this ritual, your body/mind will thank you. 

Keep Nice, Fluffy Towels and Night Clothes within Arm’s Reach. When you step out of the tub, why not step into an oversized towel, which can you can wrap around yourself from shoulder to foot? Then, once you’ve dried yourself off, slip into some ultra-soft PJs or a comfortable nightie. Don’t forget slippers if it’s cold and if you have wooden floors. The idea is to make your transfer from the bathroom to the bedroom as pleasant as possible. After all, you don’t want to spoil the mood you so carefully created for yourself. 

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Use a Tub Caddy. This is the tray that reaches across the tub, which is ideal for holding some additional comforts. Pour a glass of wine, open your favorite book (I don’t recommend a thriller at this point; remember, you’re trying to relax), or light a scented candle.  Tub Caddies can be purchased as a special feature for your Clawfoot Tub.

Place Something Soft Behind Your Neck and Head. As you recline on the sloped side of the tub, use a neck pillow or a folded towel to rest your head and neck. 

Consider Adding Some Mood Music. Bring in a disc or MP3 player and put on your favorite relaxing music. There are thousands of CDs and artists to choose from. If you’re handy with the PC, you can use software such as Windows Media Player to custom-mix your very own “bath time music.” Another option is to visit sites such as iTunes or YouTube. There are some specific musical entries that are specifically designed for relaxing or meditating. Here’s one to get you started: “3 Hours of Relaxing Music | Relaxation Music” featured by the Relaxing New Age Music Channel.  If you bring a laptop into the bathroom, make sure it’s in a place that will remain dry. 

Relax Your Eyes. Place cotton pads soaked in ice water or slices of cold cucumber over your eyelids to reduce puffiness while you rest. You may want to do this after your bath, however. The temperature contrast between the cold eye presses and the warm bath water may prove to be a bit disconcerting for some. Try it out; if you like it, go for it. 

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Use 100% cotton flannel scrubs to wash yourself once you’ve exited the bath.  Blot yourself dry and    
then apply lotion or a moisturizer.

Finish it all off with a warm drink to keep you relaxed. The age-old standard is warm milk and honey. Or you could sip some herbal chamomile tea. Chamomile, by the way, has been scientifically shown to have mild sedative effects; it's treasured for its ability to relieve insomnia and encourage a good night's sleep.  

Come to think of it, all this talk about how to take a relaxing bath has definitely put me in the mood. I’m already starting to plan out my bathtub-induced “me time.” Let’s see, I have a nice bottle of Beaujolais, a compilation of relaxing smooth jazz that I recently made, a cinnamon-scented candle, my favorite PJs …  I can’t wait to get home!

In this article, I shared several great tips for how to take a relaxing, stress-reducing, long and luxuriating soak in the bath.  I talked about which bathtubs are best for these special moments, such as Clawfoot and Walk-In Tubs, and discussed other things you can do to create the ambiance that will help you best relax. If you found this article useful, please share it with your family, friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the Comment section of this blog.

If you’d like to receive a FREE Walk-In Tub Buyers’ Guide, click here.  Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I’ll personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

Thanks again for visiting with us.

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Alan and Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and  in Jacksonville, Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to

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