Soothe away stress with a bath

You’re home. It’s been a long and hectic week, or just a stressful, never-ending day. The last thing you feel like doing is heading outside your sanctuary again to get a treatment. Why not treat yourself to a luxurious bath in the comfort of your own home to help you unwind?

Chrissie Davis, spa manager at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, suggests lighting an aromatherapy burner while you’re running your bath. "Then the whole room will be filled with a beautiful fragrance when you come in to get undressed," she says. If you don’t have a burner, simply place a few drops of an essential oil onto a burning candle – and add that same oil, or blend of oils, to your bath.

"My recommendation is chamomile blended with lavender and geranium," says Chrissie. "This is a calming, soothing mix. Geranium is grounding and promotes healing; it’s very relaxing. German chamomile is calming and sedating. It can sooth hayfever and be good for dermatitis. And lavender – well that should be in everyone’s first aid kit."

Add around eight to ten drops to a normal sized bath and don’t forget to agitate it. "Remember, oil and water don’t mix," she says.

The oil of choice for Narisa Akaracharanya, operations manager for Mandara Spas, is lavender. "It’s the most relaxing oil, and it’s known as being an evening oil. When absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream, it affects the nervous system and helps to unwind and relax the body and mind. Lavender is also suitable for most people – I don’t think many people would be allergic to it. Ylang ylang can be another choice, but it’s quite strong. Chamomile is another good choice too."

Pregnant women should be careful of which oils they use, particularly during the first trimester, cautions Davis.

Both women emphasise that the overall setting in which you take your bath is very important. Chrissie recommends turning the lights out and relying on candles to create a calming ambience, and Narisa strongly suggests avoiding all fluorescent lights. "Dim the lights, or light some candles if you only have neon," she says.

Soft music can also help create the right mood. "Don’t play ‘every day’ music, or even love songs," Chrissie warns. "You need to play something that will take you right away from the every day. Something like Ken Davis is very good and totally relaxing."

And if you want to go all out, sprinkle some flower petals onto the surface of the bath. "Rose petals are beautiful," says Chrissie.

As for the water’s temperature, it needs to be warm, but not too hot. "If the water is too hot, it will leave the skin dry," explains Narisa.

Narisa also recommends wearing an eye mask. "You can wear a mask if you don’t like to see any light – there are some made of natural materials that contain scented seeds. Or try using cotton pads placed over eye gel applied around the eyes- that can be relaxing. I like to use Biotherm eye gel after it’s been in the fridge. Sometimes I use tea bags – I prefer Earl Grey – but I read that jasmine is good too. Simply squeeze out the water, cool the bags, and place them over your eyes."

Then sink down and surrender yourself to the environment you’ve created. What’s the ideal length of time to soak your worries away? "It depends on the person," says Chrissie. "Some people can spend hours on end in there, topping up the water. Ten to twenty minutes can be ideal. Ten to fifteen minutes is good enough for me, but I tend to prefer jacuzzis to baths because I can sit in them for longer, and I find the bubbles relaxing."

It’s a very personal thing. With a few tries you should discover the environment that perfectly recharges your batteries – without needing to leave home.