For many people, a relaxing bath at the end of the day is one of the things they look forward to most—being able to unwind and let sore muscles relax in a hot tub can provide a boost to physical and mental health. And, by adding in the right ingredients, like baking soda, you could tap into even more benefits.
Most are already aware of the numerous uses of baking soda around the house, from cleaning ovens to making toothpaste and keep a fridge smelling fresh amidst forgotten leftovers, but this small box can also be a versatile way to detox your entire body, too.
What is a baking soda bath?
It’s exactly what it sounds like—creating a warm bath by adding baking soda to the tub while the water is filling up. Then, you simply slip in and let the remedy do its job. Baking soda is properly known as the “bicarbonate of soda,” and one of its key characteristics is that it helps regulate pH levels by neutralizing both acids and alkaline. Neutralization is the fundamental principle that makes a baking soda bath so great, but it’s not the only reason that it deserves attention.
Health benefits of a baking soda bath
The primary benefit of a baking soda bath comes in the form of detoxification. It just so happens that the Western diet is filled with acidic foods, including the most common staples like red meat, sugar, cheese, and refined and packaged foods. While changing up your diet to add in healthier, natural foods can help reduce the ramification to some degree, the neutralization process that is created by baking soda can also detox your body from the outside in, diminishing more pronounced acid levels and leading to a more regulated, balanced pH level within the body.
In much the same manner, baking soda baths can also help to neutralize toxins and harmful chemicals lurking inside the body, leftover from ingesting alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and medications that can create internal byproducts.
But there are other unique ways this therapeutic soak can be beneficial to your skin, too:
- Relieves pain from uncomfortable conditions like hemorrhoids and yeast infections
- Soothes irritated skin by alleviating itching, burning, and rough, dry, or flaky patches
- Helps to clear up diaper rash, providing relief from the pain and irritation of the affected area
- Replenishes the elasticity of the skin, making it feel smooth, soft, and supple
- Exfoliates scaly areas; using a coarse scrub or exfoliating bar, gently massage some of the bath water over problem areas to help remove dead skin cells and any dirt and grime that may be embedded beneath the top layer of epidermis
- Improves circulation, particularly in the extremities of the body, leading to better muscle contraction and temperature regulation
How a baking soda bath can be a superior way to soak
Along with the numerous health benefits listed above, baking soda also provides some other key features that put it a step above commercial, synthetic bath soaps:
- Dissolves fully in water and leaves no slippery residue behind, preventing falls (which is especially important for the elderly)
- Contains no chemicals or fragrances that can irritate sensitive skin and potentially cause health problems with continued use
- Helps give bathwater a silky smooth feel that is both relaxing and soothing
- The neutral pH means that it’s safe for almost anyone to use, even children and those with allergies
- Even the highest quality baking soda is more affordable than most expensive couture bath soaps
How to draw the bath
For all the incredible rewards that come with a baking soda bath, they’re also incredibly simple to make. As long as you have good quality baking soda, the process is easy—just follow the steps below for a basic bath and then try the other unique combinations that add in even more therapeutic ingredients.
Basic baking soda bath
Sprinkle one to two cups of baking soda into the bath as water fills up in the tub, or add it in after the bath is full using a spoon or your hand to stir the soda into the water and speed up the dissolving process. You may need to adjust amounts if your tub is much larger or smaller than the average commercial size, but this is a good starting point to begin trying out a traditional baking soda bath.
Add in Epsom or Himalayan salts
Mix a half-cup of baking soda with a half-cup of either Epsom or Himalayan salts, and then add the combination to hot water as it fills up in the tub. Epsom salts are incredibly effective at soothing sore muscles and can also help ease the symptoms of arthritis, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, and sunburn. It’s also known to help insomnia and even ingrown toenails!
Add in apple cider vinegar
Combine a quarter-cup baking soda, a quarter-cup Himalayan or Epsom salts in a jar or bowl, then add a touch of hot or boiling water to the mixture to make it more liquid in consistently. Fill the tub with warm water and, as it fills, add in the above combination. Once you are almost ready to step in, add one-third cup of apple cider vinegar. The reaction of the compounds produces a soak that will sooth skin, detoxify the body, and refresh the mind.
Add in aromatherapy oils
Use the basic recipe to draw a baking soda bath, and then add in essential aromatherapy oils for even greater effect. While lavender essential oil provides a calming effect, frankincense provides a holistic spiritual experience, bergamot can help with any anxious feelings, peppermint can sharpen focus, and eucalyptus can nix any respiratory issues. Make your bath time even more luxurious with one of these DIY bath bombs.
The ultimate detox bath
This combination provides one of the best detox experiences imaginable, and also helps to relax the body and mind. To make, start by filling the tub, and as the water is running, pour some salts (about one to two cups) into the bath and let them dissolve. Next, add about two cups of baking soda and allow that to dissolve in the water. Then, add one tablespoon of ginger and a few drops of either lavender or eucalyptus aromatherapy oils. The ginger will increase your body temperature and draw out toxins, while the essential oils will soothe relief.
With all of these recipes, you’ll want to set aside about 20 to 30 minutes for proper soaking. For added results, wrap yourself in a warm towel after exiting the bath to keep sweating out the toxins. Follow these guidelines at least twice a week for maximum effect.
Other things to know
Before getting into the tub, there are a few key things you should know to keep yourself safe:
- Keep the temperature comfortable, but not too hot. This reduces the risk of burns, fainting, or lightheadedness during or right after the bath.
- Avoid using drugs or alcohol before taking a bath so you are alert when in the water and also won’t become dizzy.
- If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart conditions, always talk to your medical professional first before trying a detox bath.
Getting even more from your bath
Make those 20-30 minutes of me time in the tub even more relaxing with these soothing activities that also promote health and well-being.
Reward yourself with a massage. Using waterproof balls, roll them along your upper neck and shoulders, down your arms and legs, and then concentrate on your lower back. The pressure applied to the skin will work in tandem with the detoxifying bath to relieve stiff muscles and break up any knots. Doing this while in the bath will make it easier to control the amount of force you apply and the warmth of the water helps muscles to calm down as you massage them.
Drink some tea. Prepare a warm mug and bring it with you to sip on while you relax in the bath. Peppermint tea in particular can help further promote the release of toxins inside the body.
Meditate. In times of stress you may have noticed that deep breathing calmed you down; the same effect can be had in a more comfortable situation, too. By meditating while in the bath you can also encourage your body to relieve any underlying tension, enhance cognitive function, even support your metabolism and sleep cycle. Discover even more of the benefits and get started with the practice here.
Keeping these basic tips in mind, you should soon be able to start experiencing the numerous benefits of a baking soda bath. It’s a simple and calming experience, one that offers you the chance to significantly improve your physical and mental well-being.