Bath oils that could boost your health
A soak in warm water can boost circulation and loosen tight muscles — and now there are bath products with specific health benefits, here reviewed by sultan Dajani, a pharmacist based in Eastleigh, Hampshire.
FOR SORE MUSCLES
Dr Teal’s Pure Epsom salt soaking solution for pre and post-workout, 1.36kg, £7.99, superdrug.co.uk EPSOM salt baths have long been used by athletes to ease muscle pain. These contain the mineral magnesium sulphate, and we know that low levels of magnesium are linked to increased muscle pain, so in theory this could help.
Some studies have shown magnesium can be absorbed via the skin into the bloodstream from bath salts.
This is a decent product if you’re feeling achy after exercise.
FOR DIFFICULTY SLEEPING
Westlab sleep Bathing salts, 1kg, £5.99, boots.com
HAVING a bath before bed can relax you by loosening tight muscles, and the subsequent one to two degree drop in core body temperature has been shown to encourage deeper sleep.
The addition of the herbs lavender and valerian — both traditionally used to aid sleep and relaxation — could help further.
A small study by Southampton University found that people who had lavender oil diffused into their bedroom reported sleeping 20 per cent better than those given a placebo.
FOR ACHING JOINTS
Avena Arthritis & Rheumatism Bath oil, 100ml, £7.99, avena.co.uk
THIS contains essential oils, including lavender and rosemary. There is good evidence that soaking in warm water can offer some pain relief and ease stiffness for arthritic joints — thought to be because a warm bath increases blood circulation to the joints, which in turn reduces the inflammation associated with arthritis. Heat also encourages the body to release natural pain-relieving endorphins.
Essential oils may enhance this as they have been traditionally used to help stimulate circulation and blood flow, but no studies have proved this.
FOR ECZEMA-PRONE SKIN
oilatum Plus Antiseptic Bath Emollient, 500ml, £13.46, amazon.co.uk
LONG, hot baths can worsen eczema by breaking down the skin’s natural oily protective layer which further dries out the skin, so baths should be cool and less than five minutes long.
But using a product such as this will maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier. This contains three active ingredients, liquid paraffin — an effective, non-irritating skin moisturiser — plus the antibacterials benzalkonium chloride and triclosan, which can help prevent inflamed eczema from becoming infected.