Soaking in warm water fights mid-winter blues

by Ruth Griffiths

Along with a group of friends, I’m planning our annual trip to the Watrous Mineral Spa at Lake Manitou. Soaking in the warm mineral-rich pool is a great way to fight the mid-winter blues. 

At Lake Manitou, high concentrations of salts increase the specific gravity of the water and increase buoyancy, so the body feels lighter in the pool. You can float standing up!

Besides being a relaxing social time, many people find that the warm salty water relieves the pain of arthritis and eases skin irritations.

If you can’t get to a mineral spa, you can enjoy similar benefits by adding bath salts to a warm bath. I wondered why bath salts are so popular. Here is what I found:

Bath salts, when used in their natural, pure form, contain many beneficial minerals and nutrients that keep your skin smooth, soft and supple. Some of the minerals found in bath salts include magnesium, potassium, calcium, bromide, and of course, sodium.

Soaking or scrubbing with bath salts releases dead skin cells to make skin soft and supple. This encourages skin to renew itself.

Soaking in a tub sprinkled with bath salt releases muscle tension and promotes restfulness. It relaxes tense, aching muscles and joints. It might help to relieve arthritis and rheumatism.

One source says natural bath salt, such as salt from the Dead Sea, soothes common irritations such as insect bites, minor rashes, calluses on feet, while working on serious skin conditions like athlete’s foot, eczema, and psoriasis.

You can make your own bath salts by adding essential oils to Epsom salts or sea salt. Do not use table salt, as it does not contain all of the beneficial minerals that sea salts have. But which essential oil to choose? I found three suggestions: 

Orange: It has a fresh, sweet, citrus smell, and helps soothe dry, irritated skin as well as acne-prone skin. Excellent for rubbing on calluses on the feet.

Lavender: Eases nervous tension, relieves pain, disinfects scalp and skin, enhances blood circulation and treats respiratory problems. The benefits of lavender can be attributed to its antiseptic and antifungal properties, hence the best scent to treat skin disorders including wounds and sunburns.

Lemongrass: Bathing in water infused with lemongrass bath salts revitalizes the body and relieves symptoms of jetlag, clears headache, and busts stress.

As with any skin-care product, test your it out before you immerse your body in a bath containing bath salts.