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Make bath time your time

An evening bath is a good way to relieve the stresses of the day

12 OCTOBER 2011

In the summer we tend to hop in and out of the shower to cool down and freshen up, but as the evenings get darker, there's nothing quite like a relaxing bath to soak away the stress. Slipping into the bubbles may be just what you need to restore your energy – and attitude! – after a tiring workday.



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A restorative ritual
If you want to make the most of your bath, it helps to gather together everything you need before you start: whether you prefer a sponge, flannel or bath mitt, oil, bubbles or salts, your favourite soap or bath gel, a soft towel or two, and creams and moisturisers to apply to your freshly cleansed skin...

There are plenty of products on the market that will cleanse, tone, relax, hydrate and revitalize your skin and transform an ordinary bath time into a luxury pampering session without breaking the bank. It's important to create the right atmosphere, too, so you may want to add soothing music and scented candles to complete the ritual.



A time just for you

The key is to immerse yourself in this world of bubbles, letting the foam caress your body and your favourite scents pervade your skin. A bath doesn't take long, but by making it your own time it will have a truly restorative effect. It can also be a good ally for your skin, and bathing is one of the secrets for a silken complexion.

Time and temperature

The ideal duration of a bath is between ten and 15 minutes, depending on whether you want it to relax or invigorate; if it's the latter, you shouldn't stay in the water for more than five minutes. Water temperature is vital, and, particularly for a relaxing effect, the bath should be deep enough for the body to be well submerged.

To some extent, temperature depends on what your body is willing to tolerate, but it should never be above 37-38 ° (slightly higher than body temperature). For rheumatism, muscle and joint pain, heat will have a beneficial effect, but for fighting the flab and cellulite, cooler is  better. If you bathe just before bed, you are almost guaranteed to sleep well, and it's worth rounding off the session with a slightly cooler shower to stimulate circulation.

If you want the bath to relax you – perhaps the most likely scenario after a tiring day - the water should be warm enough to relax the muscles that are suffering from the most tension, such as back and neck. You can use a bath pillow or a folded towel to support your neck, and it's not a good idea to stay in the water for more than 15 minutes.



A bonus for your skin

To complete the beauty treatment, you can take advantage of the time in the water to apply a face mask – cleansing, moisturising or relaxing. Then switch off the outside world for a short while: close your eyes, listen to the music and breath in the fragrance of the bath oil or the candles. When you rejoin the world, everything should be back in proportion and easier to deal with.

Remember:

  • Take the time to rest not just your body, but your mind: focus on pleasant thoughts.
  • Keep the bathroom warm and comfortable, not excessively hot.

  • Why not try a relaxing herbal tea – in a unbreakable cup, of course, to avoid accidents!

  • Never get out of the bath suddenly – particularly if you find you're getting dozy – as you may become dizzy or slip.

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