H is for Hot Bath: living well, despite everything

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 12.57.03 PM

This series is an alphabetical exploration of 26 options for living well, despite everything. It answers the question–How can a we live with problems? 

A hot bath is good remedy for practically everything that might go wrong.

Allow me to not get all medical-statistical about why it is good to frequently draw a pleasantly hot bath (not lukewarm, not scalding) for sanity and comfort. We could talk respiration rates, pulse numbers, pain scales, control groups and percentage of study participants reporting relief, but all that jazz doesn’t matter when you know this:

A hot bath is luxuriously relaxing.

The ancient Romans already had this figured out. Way back then people were hopping into hot pools to ease pain and stress. Resort towns all over the world have been built on the lucrative business of hot baths–Bath, England; Weisbaden (means meadow baths) in Germany; Hot Springs, Arkansas

A hot bath is relatively inexpensive and generally harmless.

Unless, of course, you fly to Weisbaden, or invest in a deluxe jacuzzi or load up your water with toxic chemicals and dyes. You don’t have to do that.
Just fill the ordinary tub with steamy water. Add a handful of epsom salts or baking soda if that’s your pleasure and perhaps some organic rose petals or a few sprigs of mint or rosemary. Maybe light a candle, play some spa music or read a mood-elevating story or meditation.
Sink in, ah!
I can hear someone complaining, I don’t have time for baths.
Balderdash. Consider this: we each are a allotted the same, ample twenty-four hours every day to spend or squander as we choose. The truth is, each of us spends time on whatever we believe matters most. And if we don’t spend time on that which we value (reposing in luxurious tranquility, for instance), then we’re wasting our lives.
To say I don’t have time for a bath is to say that it is not my priority to regularly treat my body to twenty or thirty minutes of unhurried cleansing and purposeful relaxation.

And if I don’t highly esteem the miraculous body in which I live, perhaps it’s time to reassess my values.

Next time everything seems dire and hopeless (or merely annoyingly futile), try a hot bath.
Note: it’s not a great idea to take an unattended hot bath if you’re suffering from a virus or serious illness; you could faint. If you’re craving a bath when you’re majorly under-the-weather, make sure there is someone to assist you getting in and out.

Next time life is stressing you out, will you just take a hot bath?

MUMBO JUMBO: This blog is not medical or therapeutic advice, and is not intended as advice. This blog and its posts are intended only to provide a general, nonspecific illustration of how I, a person with fibromyalgia, have pursued my dreams to become a writer and become more physically active. This web site and these articles are not intended to provide comprehensive or full coverage of all the issues related to becoming a writer, to fibromyalgia, chronic pain, any condition of  health or wellness, therapies or treatments. Your specific health and situation may make outcomes different than what you anticipate. You should consult with a medical professional who is familiar with your health and your situation, to determine which treatments are appropriate for you. You should only pursue any course of help or treatment after a qualified professional has determined it is safe for you to do so.

42 thoughts on “H is for Hot Bath: living well, despite everything”

  1. I haven’t taken a hot bath in ages! Your post has motivated me to do exactly that Tracy. It’s so true that each person makes time to do what is important to them in a day. This alphabet series is such a treat, I’m so glad you took in this project!

    1. You’re welcome, Heather.
      It’s so easy, in the rush to fulfill our duties, to browbeat ourselves into neglecting important recuperation time. The ancient wisdom of “sabbath,” having 1 day out of 7 set aside for the leisure of body and soul, is important to our overall health, I’m sure. I’m not a legalist or follower of tyrannic rules, but I do try to keep in mind that 1/7 of my waking time ought to be devoted to activities like “hot baths.” I’m glad to hear you’re going to pamper yourself soon! 🙂

  2. A year ago, when I was experiencing a lot of health issues, I lived in the tub. The warm water along with epsom salts and a good book, was just what the doctor ordered.
    Have a wonderful holiday weekend, Tracy!

    1. There are times when I live in the tub, too! It’s a good place.
      (Glad to hear you’re not having to live in there right now… You have a wonderful holiday weekend, too. 🙂 )

  3. Oh dear, I can’t remember the last time I had a bath – I just don’t like them! I don’t like that feeling of wrinkled skin when you’ve soaked for ages; don’t like lying in water that goes tepid quickly; don’t think I ever felt clean after lying in my own dirty water and have never, ever read a book in a bath.
    You can probably tell that we are a family of shower users. Having said all of that, I did visit the Spa in Bath and had a wonderful experience – but that was in a swimming bath with scented, pulsating showers afterwards, fluffy robes and a pool side juice bar and a sauna thrown in for good measure.
    However …. each to their own, I say 🙂

    1. I do understand it, Jenny. I was, for ages, a shower person. And if I feel a need to get “clean,” the shower is still it for me. The bath is for a muscle and stress relief.
      And I often scent my water…which might be a huge part of the pleasure?
      And oh, yes, to each their own. 🙂

  4. I love taking baths! I thought you might enjoy the following quote: “There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”
    — Sylvia Plath
    Diana xo

  5. I made a mistake. When we moved into our house six years ago we gutted our one and only bathroom and put in a nice sized walk-in shower in place of the small bath and made room for a better sink etc. I didn’t think I would miss a bath. Now, on the odd occasion when we go away for a night or a weekend (a real treat, that!) we get a room with a bath. Just reading your post makes me want one right now. I would take a bath all the time if I could. I suffer from sciatica and it helps a treat…
    Have a great weekend Tracy, and enjoy a nice, long soak… 🙂

    1. I’ve lived in a few houses without a tub. These days, that would be a hardship. But still, I think it would be much more difficult to live in a house without a shower!
      A tip: Since you have a nice big shower…. they make this comfy little shower stools, for when you need something to mimic a bath to ease your sciatica. You just sit there under the hot water for five minutes–very soothing. If you have someplace to store one when it’s not in use.
      (shower benches are also available in plastic, less expensive and lighter weight, although not as pretty).

      1. Yes, I agree, it would be worse to be without a shower!!! Thanks so much for this link Tracy, I’ve seen similar but not nearly as nice as these. Our problem though is lack of storage…small English houses!! You’d think I’d have the art of downsizing down to perfection but not easy when we’re still storing all the kids’ stuff as well as our own…but we’re working on it!!
        Have a great Memorial Day Weekend… 🙂

  6. Haven’t had one in a long time but years ago, when I worked in the design field with long hours on my feet, I had a Jacuzzi in my house. It was wonderful and it did get used.

  7. I take a bath nearly every day. I love to plan my day and express gratitude for me day. Our bathroom faces east and is bathed too — in early morning light. Such a blessing. Thanks for helping me be doubly thankful today.

    1. Wise you, Shirley. A bath can be such a meditative thing–and water is healing. Combine all that with early morning light, ah!
      (I snail mailed you a happy little note today!–I hope you have a wonderful weekend.)

  8. I’ve always been a hot shower person. To make it even better, though, on one of our getaways to Estes Park, Jim and I stopped in a little shop that created the most wonderful soaps. We bought our daughter a “cupcake” creation (the chocolate base, the fluffy strawberry icing, the bright red cherry on top) where every layer was soap.
    For us, we bought “shower steam fizzies,” ten half-orbs of lavender, ginger, rosemary, chocolate, Shalimar, champagne, sun lily, fresh lemon, sage and sandlewood. You peel them one of its wrapper, set it on the shower floor, and as the steam and water hit it, the aroma is amazing and it makes a frothy bubbly base around your feet.

    1. How very Awesome! Fizzy Aromatherapy!
      I was just reading an article in the Providence Journal about luxury spa style home showers, which could turn me into a shower person, if only they didn’t cost between $20,000 and $30,000. !!!! For the shower!!! Plus whatever you spend on the rest of the huge room called a bathroom to put it in. !!!!

  9. A hot bath? A dream not coming true! 🙁 The last time I had one was last December before we got Sofia. Since then, just very short showers hoping that, in the meantime, she didn’t chew another piece of furniture. I have been told that it’s going to last at least another year. Another year of short showers? How am I supposed to survive? 😉

    1. lock her in the bathroom with you and give her a chew toy! LOL
      it won’t be as restful as a totally solitary bath, but maybe it’s worth a try? I can’t imagine months and months without a hot bath.
      Or delegate puppy-sitting to someone else while you take a hot bath. If I was closer, I’d take her off your hands for 30 minutes….

    1. I have the best daydreams in the bath. I’ve started keeping a little notebook there, because by the time I get out and towel off, I’ve forgotten all the steam-scent inspired inspiration.

  10. Karin Van den Bergh

    Aaah I love my steamy bubblebaths. I like them hot! 😉 as in.. “cooked red lobster”

  11. Hey, just as I am catching up with your posts, I am running a hot bath! Yes I am tired and stressed however the unromantic reason for the bath is that I need to syringe my ears 🙁 Yes, not being able to hear is adding to my stress levels.

    1. Sorry to hear about your ears– 🙁 I have a family member who has that same ongoing problem. It’s something doctors never talk about preventing–but we’ve found it can be (at least in his case). After you get your ears nicely syringed, try this: once a week, while showering, turn your head to let them fill up with a gentle blast of good hot water (not scalding, of course), then let them drain. It might work to prevent future bouts of diminished hearing loss.
      It’s amazing how a little bit of hearing loss can increase stress.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *