Come on In, the Water’s Fine
We all know about dog people and cat people.
However, I also think there are shower people and bath people.
I’m an unabashed Bathtub Girl.
Don’t get me wrong: I love a good shower.
In fact, along with that single large mug of coffee every morning, I require strong water pressure directly above my scalp to help me wake up. And, there’s certainly something nice about going out the door with shiny scrubbed skin and just shampooed hair.
But spending time in a bathtub is a completely different event, one that goes way beyond getting clean, or even calming achy muscles.
At least for me, drawing a bath has become a kind of after-dark meditation.
First, I make sure the tub is clean. Then I run the water, being careful to bring it up to the right heat. Both too cold and too hot are unbearable, so, to steal a line from Goldilocks, the temperature must be just right.
And since I always sink in the tub at night, I add a little something to help me sleep — usually with lavender as the main ingredient. Lately, I’ve been putting in a few squirts of Johnson’s Baby Soothing Vapor Bath, which is designed to calm fussy babies. Yes, the ingredient list reads like the inside of a chemistry lab, but the main point is that, at least for now, it’s doing the job.
As it turns out, taking baths to bring on a night of restful zzz’s is only one benefit of a good soak.
It’s not surprising that regular visits to the bathtub clean and moisturize skin, hair and eyes. But getting into a tub can also lower blood pressure and improve cardiac function, and according to the National Health Institute, improve lung capacity and oxygen intake. In addition — and this is something I know for sure — baths reduce stress and anxiety levels. The happy consequence to this is mood elevation.
Here’s one last happy fact that may surprise you: daily baths keep our bodies as well hydrated as drinking a ton of water every day (since we’re mostly made of water, this makes perfect sense).
For those wondering what else may be added to a bath, there appears to be a nearly infinite amount of choices.
Supermarkets, drug stores and natural food venues all sell bath salts, bubble mixtures and scrubs, as do many larger farmers’ markets. If you’re into more exotic fare, try a Google search; here, with more than one million results popping up, there’s a pineapple infused oil; a crème brulee concoction, and a bubble bath bomb emblazoned with one’s favorite sports teams. For those who can’t make up their mind, there are bath of the month clubs, including Lavish Bath Box, Bath Time Box and Bathmatical.
Sadly, I didn’t discover the many benefits of bathing until well into adulthood.
While my mother put my older brother and me in the tub together as very small children, it was simply a quick and efficient way to get us both clean; soaking was never involved. As a teenager, I loved taking showers in my parents’ newly added on master bathroom; it didn’t have a tub. There were no large ceramic ovals in my college dorm, and when I lived in Brooklyn, my apartment only had a shower. (In fact, like so many old jerry-rigged places, the bathroom itself was literally outside my front door and down the hall.)
But once returning to California, I discovered my own little slice of bathtub heaven. And best of all, I never have to leave home to partake of this always wonderful experience.
One more thing.
In a world that seems to be rapidly spinning off its axis, this is one ritual I’m planning to keep around for a very long time.