Detox with Essential Oils

As women, I find that most of us women are great at being there for everyone else in our lives, but sometimes not so great at taking care of ourselves!! I, personally, am one of those people. I take great care of my family, my horses and dogs, and our guests that stay in the properties we rent here in Costa Rica, but often forget to treat myself to the same pampering that I give to everyone else. Lately, my great indulgence has been detox baths using essential oils. There is nothing more enjoyable to me that preparing a soothing bath full of my favorite essential oils, a glass of wine and a good book! It is a great way to unwind and wash our cares away!  

Although, I always put essential oils in my baths, which I take every night, I like to do a detox bath at least once a month. Sweating is our body’s natural way of detoxifying and soaking in a hot bath will help, as it pulls the harmful toxins from your skin. These baths can also ease sore muscles. In ancient times, these detox baths were used to eliminate toxins as well as to help absorb minerals and nutrients. They are great if you have skin issues or if you just want to boost your overall health! 

There are lots of great recipes on the internet, but I thought that I might share this particular method of detox bath that I used myself, and really enjoyed! You can follow this step by step guide and be relaxing in a hot bath tonight! It is easy to do, so there is no excuse not to! Please note that if you choose to do a detox bath, you must skip the wine!!

Prepare your body. The minerals in a detox bath will help pull toxins from your skin in a process that can be quite dehydrating, so be sure you are well hydrated going into your detox bath.  It is recommended that you drink one full glass of water at room temperature before your detox bath. 

Gather your ingredients:

Everything you will need for this detox can be purchased at a grocery store. You will need: 

  • Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate)
  • Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate/bicarbonate of soda)
  • Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt
  • Unfiltered and unprocessed Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Favorite essential oil if desired (my favorite is Lavender)
  • Ground ginger (this is optional)
  • Skin brush

Dry brush your skin.

Your skin is your largest organ and the first line of defense from chemicals and bacteria. By helping your body shed dead layers of skin, you are also removing these harmful agents. Dry brushing also speeds up your lymphatic system's ability to eliminate waste.

Use a dry brush with a long handle so you can reach all areas of your body.

  • When choosing a brush, pick one that feels nice on your skin. Dry brushing should not be painful.
  • Start with your skin dry and begin brushing your skin at your feet and work up your legs one at a time.
  • Move in sweeping motions toward your heart and make your way up your mid-section (front and back) and across your chest.
  • Finish by moving the brush up your arms toward your armpits.
  • Your skin should feel smoother after just one session.

Give yourself a lymphatic massage.

The lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and organs make up the lymphatic system, which is a part of your body's defense system. Your lymph nodes are responsible for removing microorganisms and filtering bacteria from the bloodstream. With just five minutes, you can stimulate your lymphatic system to help your body detox more effectively.

  • Place your fingers under your ears on either side of your neck.
  • With relaxed hands, gently pull your skin downward toward the back of your neck.
  • Repeat 10 times by gradually starting your movement lower down from your ear, eventually ending with fingers placed on top of your shoulders on either side of your neck.
  • Gently massage your skin toward your collarbone.
  • Repeat 5 times or as much as you like.

Know what to expect. Any detox process can subject your body to flu-like symptoms like headache and nausea. These symptoms may result from the toxins leaving your body. Bring a liter of water to the bath with you and drink it slowly during your bath.  You can add lemon to your water to help settle nausea.

Now for the fun part! 

Pick the right time for your bath. Prepare your bath on a day when you have at least 40 minutes available. Pick a time when you can relax and focus on your detox bath without feeling rushed.

Create a relaxing atmosphere. Dim the lights and light candles if you desire. You can also play some music you enjoy. Take smooth deep breaths to help your mind enter a relaxed state.

Fill your bath. Use a chlorine filter if possible to fill your tub with comfortably hot water. Add Epsom Salt. Soaking in Epsom Salt helps replenish your body's magnesium level, combating hypertension. The sulfate flushes toxins and helps form proteins in brain tissue and joints.

  • For children under 60 lbs, add 1/2 cup to a standard bath.
  • For children 60 lbs to 100 lbs, add 1 cup to a standard bath.
  • For people 100 lbs and up, add 2 cups or more to a standard bath.

Add 1 to 2 cups baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Baking soda is known for its cleansing ability and anti-fungal properties.  It also leaves skin very soft.

Add 1/4 cup Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt. Composed of magnesium, potassium, calcium chloride, and bromides, Sea Salt helps to replenish minerals critical to our skin's metabolism.

  • Magnesium is important for combating stress, fluid retention, slowing skin aging, and calming the nervous system.
  • Calcium is effective at preventing water retention, increasing circulation, and strengthening bones and nails.
  • Potassium energizes the body and helps to balance skin moisture.
  • Bromides act to ease muscle stiffness and relax muscles.
  • Sodium is important for the lymphatic fluid balance (this in turn is important for immune system function).

Add 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar. Packed full of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the best ways to cleanse your body of bacteria and boost your immune system.

Add essential oils. Some oils, like Lavender and Ylang Ylang, have therapeutic properties. Tea tree and eucalyptus oils can assist in the detoxification process. Around 20 drops is sufficient for a standard bath. 

  • If you prefer, you can use fresh herbs. Add mint leaves, lavender flowers, chamomile, or anything else that suits your mood.
  • Adding ginger can help you to sweat out the toxins. Ginger is heating, so be careful with the amount you add. Depending on your sensitivity, anywhere from 1 tablespoon to 1/3 cup can be added.

Swish all of the ingredients around. You can use your foot to swirl the water in the tub. When the baking soda and vinegar mix, a bubbling reaction will occur. 

  • You don't need to mix until all the salt crystals dissolve before beginning your bath.

Soak for 20 to 40 minutes. Hydrate during your soak and take care not to overheat. 

  • Drink water during the first 20 minutes of your soak.
  • You will notice yourself start sweating after just a few minutes in your detox bath. This is your body expelling toxins.
  • If you start to feel too hot during your soak, add cool water to the tub until you are comfortable.

Relax. Meditation is a great way to calm your body during a detox bath. Breathing through the nose, loosen your neck, face, hands, and stomach area. Relax and soften each part of your body. Consciously releasing body tension will help you relax in your detox bath.

  • Once you close the bathroom door, leave all unwanted thoughts outside. Let go of worries and stress.
  • Visualize the toxins exiting your body and the vitamins and nutrients entering in their place.

Get out of the tub slowly. Your body has been working hard and you may get lightheaded or feel weak and drained. Oils and salts can also make your tub slippery, so stand with care. 

  • Wrap your body in a soft blanket or towel immediately after getting out of the tub, you can continue to detoxify through perspiration for another couple of hours.

Rehydrate. Any time your body detoxes you need to replace fluids. It is recommended that you drink an additional liter of water following your detox.

After the bath, brush your skin down again. You can use your hands, a loofah, or a vegetable bristle brush. This can further aid with the release of toxins.  Use long, gentle sweeping strokes aimed toward the heart. 

Relax for the rest of the day and allow your body to continue to detoxify.

I feel such an amazing difference after these baths and I hope that you will enjoy them too!