When you’ve had a hard day, it’s simply blissful to come home and be able to take a hot bath that is as good for your overall well-being as it is for cleanliness! In a previous article we went through the ins and outs of a perfectly serene bathroom, in this article we’ll have a closer look at how you can have yourself a relaxing and replenishing bath by mostly focusing on bathtubs.
Soothing warm water is the first step to a healing bath
Did you know that, in Japanese bathing culture, bathing becomes a therapeutic ritual? Bathing becomes about a lot more than simply washing away physical dirt.
While we all can’t soak away our physical and spiritual grime in natural hot springs, we can do a similar ritual at home for ourselves as part of our care routine.
What happens physically when you take a hot bath?
Physically, your body releases endorphins when covered by warm water, which is part of why soaking in a lovely tub of warm water both soothes and reinvigorates us.
Blood flow to the skin is also increased when we take a hot bath. The temperature of the water — and the pressure on your chest when you’re lying down — also increases your oxygen intake, making this the perfect time for doing some breathing exercises and clearing your mind of all that troubles you.
And, in case you thought you were “only” lazing about, a recent study found that soaking in a hour-long hot bath burnt around 140 calories! This is because, amongst other things, your heart starts to beat faster in the warmer temperature.
The same study found that the hot bath had anti-inflammatory responses, going some way to explain why soaking in a hot bath can do wonders for aches and pains.
According to research done by Cindy Lamothe for Healthline, a hour-long hot bath, may:
- Reduce your risk of having a heart attack
- Improve your blood sugar control
- Lower your blood pressure
- Burn about 140 calories
- Protect you from illness and infection
- Ease stress in your muscles; reducing pain and depression associated with chronic pain.
Now that we know what happens to us physically when we take a hot bath, we can start to form a bath ritual around that which we specifically want to emphasize. For example, you can decide to increase the physical healing effects of the water by adding specific herbs, essential oils (like lavender, lemon balm, eucalyptus, and chamomile), and Epsom salts to the water before taking a leisurely soak.
Now, before you can take that long bath and replenish your body and soul, you first need to find the bathtub that will suit you and the space you have available the best.
What type of bath will give you the most restorative and meditative bath time?
Although the layout and size of your bathroom play an important part in deciding the type of bath that you can have, there may be many different style options that you did not even know about.
The main types of bathtubs that are available on the market, are:
Probably the most commonly used bathtubs are alcove baths. They are installed against three walls, with the fourth side of the bath exposed.
Alcove baths are not only space-efficient, but are also an affordable style and family-friendly as it’s not as deep as soaking baths and suitable for kids and adults alike. They are also usually used for general bathing — although, with some candles, the right mix of bath salts and soaks, and some white noise or soft meditative music, you can have a delightful meditative and restorative experience.
Different than alcove bathtubs, drop-in baths are “dropped” into a pre-existing structure. Usually at least three of the four sides of the bath is covered by the structure. The structure is also tiled or otherwise decorated to suit the rest of the bathroom’s decor. Because of the way in which they are installed, drop-in baths are easier to clean than alcove baths.
You also have more sizes and shapes to choose from if you have a drop-in bath.
Drop-in baths are also great for families and, depending on the bathroom’s layout, can be turned into even more of a bath-time sanctuary!
Corner baths are great for creating a cozy nook in your bathroom and using underutilized space at the same time. Either drop-in or free-standing, corner baths can be the perfect spot to turn into a home spa and relaxation corner. Just make sure that you take your time to get the right type and shape of corner bathtub for your needs; it’s no use getting one that is too small and uncomfortable and then trying to meditate.
When you think about freestanding baths, you probably picture a Victorian-style bathtub with claw feet, but there are many different styles of freestanding tubs to suit all kinds of decor and needs. In fact, freestanding baths offer a lot more flexibility when it comes to the location that it can be in in your bathroom. It can even be placed in the middle of the room!
Freestanding bathtubs also offer the chance to design the rest of the bathroom around the bath instead of having to fit it in against one of the walls, which means that it’s perfect for creating that perfect personalized bathing ritual experience.
Now we come to the crème de la crème of home bathing experiences! Soaking bathtubs are much deeper than your usual bathtub, leaving you the option of filling it with water deep enough to cover your whole body (without flooding the rest of the bathroom as soon as you move!).
These soaking baths are very large and very heavy, so you have to make sure that your floor is able to carry the weight before buying and installing one.
Need we say more? You’ll barely have to try to create the perfect meditative space when you have one of these luxurious tubs to soak in!
Other things to keep in mind when you are deciding which bathtub to get, is:
- What size bathtub do you honestly have space for?
- From what material do you want the bath to be made and will your floor be able to support the chosen material’s weight?
- Do you need a family-friendly bath that children can easily get in-and-out of, or will this bath be purely for you or you and your partner?
By keeping all of this in mind when doing your homework and shopping around for the best bathtub, it will spare you a lot of headaches when it comes to fitting your new bath.
And, once your new bath is fitted, all you need to do is to fill it with warm water and your favorite bath salts and soap, and then to take a long and relaxing bath and feel all your worries melt away while you meditate and clear away all the physical and mental grime.