A bath ritual is a beautiful way to elevate an ordinary bath, calm your body and soothe your soul.
But a relaxing bath routine and spiritual bathing aren’t new ideas. For centuries, cultures worldwide have enjoyed their own version of a bath for their natural healing properties and therapeutic benefits—the Turkish Hammam, the Nordic hot springs, and the Japanese sentos.
Creating a sacred time and space for yourself and immersing your body in water can be deeply relaxing and transformative.
I missed out on the joys of baths for years but have recently discovered how blissful they can be. I try and have a soak twice a week (usually Sundays & Wednesdays) as part of my evening ritual. It helps me wash away the day, relax, reflect and get ready for a peaceful slumber. I feel nourished, taken care of, and pampered.
Even though I’m only in my own bathroom, it feels like I’m transported into a fancy spa & hotel. And the beauty is everyone can recreate this divine experience at home.
Some women swear by taking a bath every night as part of their self-care ritual. But if you don’t have that much time (and you need to watch your water consumption!), taking a relaxing bath once a week is a great place to start.
And bathing doesn’t have to be limited to the evening. A few weeks ago, I randomly took a bath on a Wednesday morning, and it was pure bliss. I think it was the combination of unexpectedness and indulgence that made it feel so delicious!
Other times to take a calming bath:
- You feel stressed or anxious.
- When you’ve had a long day.
- You need a quick wake-up and reset.
- Before going out in the evening.
- To celebrate the new or full moon.
- Whenever you want some you time.
What is a bath ritual?
What’s the difference between a regular bath and a bath ritual?
The key difference is the word “ritual.” When you make a ritual out of something, you make it a sacred and spiritual experience for yourself. FYI that’s nothing to do with religion.
Keep reading to find out more about transforming bath time into a spiritual bathing experience (it’s really simple).
1. Make your bath ritual sacred.
The first step in making something sacred is to declare it sacred to yourself. When you do this, you connect with your soul (your higher self) because you’re starting to trust something outside your mind. You’re opening yourself up to the universe.
Another way to make something sacred is to light a candle, burn some sage or palo santo, or set up a small altar for yourself in the corner of the tub or on a tray.
2. Choose an intention.
The next step is to choose an intention for your bath.
Is there something you want to release or let go of?
How do you want to feel after you come out of the bath?
Is there a specific part of your life you’d like to focus your energy on?
Give yourself a few minutes to close your eyes and meditate on it if you’re not sure. Trust whatever arises.
Once you’ve decided on your intention, you can then use that to inspire the elements you add to your bath ritual. For example, there might be certain crystals or oils or herbs you want to add to help you feel calmer or more energized or release negative energy.
3. Consider lunar phases.
I love living in flow with the moon instead of the sun (there are 13 moons in each year vs. 12 man-made calendar months). Her cycle mirrors our menstrual cycle and is a powerful way for us to live and lead as women.
Creating a new moon bath ritual is the perfect way to wash away the past moon cycle, welcome in the new, and plant new seeds of intention for the coming cycle. A full moon bath ritual is the perfect way to reflect and celebrate.
Regardless of where the moon currently is in her cycle, you can harness her energy by creating a bath ritual that supports this flow. You can find out more about the moon phases here.
Benefits of making time for a hot bath ritual.
Gets you out of work mode.
I’m a serial achiever who loves working and crossing things off my to-do list. On top of that, I run my own business, which means it becomes challenging for me to switch off and relax at the end of the day.
Running a bath might seem like a huge waste of time and an unnecessary luxury when you’ve already stretched for time. But when you’re tired and stressed, you will struggle to focus and get things done. So creating space to relax and recharge is actually beneficial. We are no good to anyone when we’re exhausted.
Plus, how often do you end up scrolling social media or watching shit TV at the end of the night before bed? A bath gives your eyes a break from screen time, helps you unwind, and is a much better way to spend your time in the evening.
Helps you feel loved.
When you’re in the bath and warm, soothing water washes over your skin, your body releases endorphins—the same way it does when the sun is kissing your skin. And that’s not all that happens.
“Immersion in warm water releases the bonding hormone oxytocin which can counteract feelings of loneliness. Our brain experiences the same feelings as if we were getting physical affection or attention from a loved one.”
—Dr Tara Swart, neurologist.
Baths are good for your mind, body, and soul, offering self-care and nourishment to all levels of your being.
Soothes sore muscles and joints.
Are you someone who runs, hits the gym hard, sits for long periods of time, or suffers from muscular aches and pains in your body?
A bath might be exactly what you need to alleviate any soreness and soothe your muscles in a different way than a massage might. You’ll find the stiffness and creaks lessen over the week after your bath and continue to improve the more regularly you have one.
Quiets the mind.
Immersion bathing (i.e., baths) has been proven to improve both the physical and emotional qualities of life. That includes boosting your mental health, reducing stress and anxiety, and even anger and depression.
This is largely because the act of a bath ritual offers an oasis of calm away from everyday life. It pulls you out of your routine and distractions and gives you permission to slow down and hit pause.
To soak up the full effects of this, I encourage you to leave your phone and laptop outside the bathroom door (unless you’re using them to play music or an audiobook).
Relieves cold symptoms and makes breathing easier.
When you’re congested or suffering from allergies or asthma, the combination of the hot water plus some essential oils can open up your passageways, help you breathe deeper, and induce relaxation.
If you feel a cold coming on, a bath can be a great way to nip it in the bud before it takes over. Warm baths have also been shown to improve the immune system by helping certain types of cells function better.
You might think that sitting in hot water for a long time dries out your skin. But as long as you follow these bathing best practices, a bath can actually improve skin condition.
You can add specific ingredients to your bath to alleviate skin conditions like dryness and eczema (more on that below). Try and get out of the bath before you start getting wrinkly, or as soon as you notice you are. As soon as you’re out, gently towel dry your skin and moisturize.
A bath ritual facilitates soulful transformation.
The benefits of a bath ritual transcend the physical and mental, allowing soulful transformation to take place.
There are no limits to what a bath can help you do and feel. Channel your creativity, release pain and trauma, and begin healing, receive intuition and divine wisdom, establish and strengthen personal boundaries, and so much more.
And it helps you sleep.
A calming bath is a beautiful step to add to any evening ritual and help you relax ahead of bedtime.
If sleep is something you struggle with (falling asleep or waking up through the night), a bath may help your drift off and improve the quality of your sleep.
Set yourself up for success by completing everything you need to before you step into the bath. When you step out, all you need to do is moisturize, slip into bed and enjoy a peaceful slumber.
How to create your own relaxing bath ritual tonight:
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Setting up for your bath ritual:
Make it sacred time for you.
The best way to make sure you have a bath is to carve out this time in your day and intentionally create space for it. Don’t allow other things to get in the way unless it’s an absolute emergency!
Choose a time when you know you don’t have to be somewhere else or won’t be worrying about something you need to do.
If you have a family or housemates, kindly ask them to give you privacy and not disturb you.
Rinse off first.
The best way to begin creating a spiritual bathing experience is to have a quick rinse in the shower first. This way, you wash away the day, and you’ll be cleansed as you step into the bath. This helps it feel much more luxurious and indulgent.
Before you step in, loosely tie your hair up on top of your head, so it doesn’t get in the way.
Create a relaxing ambiance.
If needed, give your bathroom a quick tidy and clean ahead of bath time. Our space has a huge subconscious impact on how we feel, and clutter and junk will only make you feel cluttered! So get rid of anything that doesn’t need to be there, or pop it in a draw or cupboard just for now.
The next step, switch the lights off and light some candles. I love having candles all around the edge of the bath, but one is all you need to get started. As I mentioned earlier, this will help make your bath more of a spiritual and soulful experience. Plus, it’s better to avoid artificial light as much as possible in the evening because it interferes with our sleep rhythm.
Choose an unscented candle if you prefer or an aromatherapy one that diffuses a calming scent in the room.
You can also choose different colored candles depending on the energy you want to embody and match your intentions. For example, white is perfect for tranquility and peace, while pink is great for self-love.
Invest in a bath pillow & bath tray.
When I first started taking baths, it was so uncomfortable on the back of my head and neck. This disrupts the overall experience, so it’s definitely worth investing in a bath pillow. Most of them have suction pads that easily attach to the top of the tub and can just as easily be removed. I’d recommend opting for a waterproof one that you can wipe down with a damp cloth after each use.
And if you don’t want to invest in a pillow, you can also roll a spare hand towel up and use that as a support, but you may find it slips out of place.
To make your bath ritual even more beautiful, you can get yourself a bath tray or caddy. This sits on either side of the tub and is a great place to stand candles, a book or journal, a drink, and anything else you might want. A small coffee table or stool would also work well, placed right next to the tub within reach.
Pamper yourself for an indulgent bath ritual experience:
If you’re looking to save time on your beauty regime, you can combine many things with your bath ritual and turn it into a bath-spa evening. Tick off plenty of things on your self-care list, feel pampered, and relax at the same time!
Here are some ideas:
Buff your body.
When your skin is dry, it’s much easier to buff. If you suffer from dry skin, spend a few minutes dry buffing with a soft body brush before you get in the bath. Pay extra attention to your feet and heels as this area of our body works so hard for us all day long and is always in need of some TLC.
Apply a face mask.
You might want to apply an exfoliator to your mask or a deeper cleansing mask, depending on what your skin needs right now.
There’s no shortage of face masks to choose from, but if you’re looking for a quick DIY home-fix, head to your kitchen. A simple mix of sugar and honey or coconut oil makes the perfect scrub. For more ideas, check out this post on natural remedies for glowing skin.
Keep your face mask on for ten minutes while in the tub. Keep a warm washcloth nearby to gently wash it off.
Rub in your favorite hair treatment.
If your hair needs some love, this is the perfect time to apply a deep treatment. Keep it in for the whole bath, then wash your hair in the shower when you step out.
Pour yourself a drink.
There are no rules when it comes to having a bath. Do what feels right for you. Trust your intuition and allow it to guide you when making your choices and creating this experience for yourself.
If you’re taking a bath before bedtime and you’re hoping to unwind and sleep better, then avoid caffeine and alcohol. These will only disrupt your sleep rhythm and leave you feeling groggy in the morning.
A glass of infused water or a hot cup of herbal tea is both soothing, supportive choices. But whatever you choose, make sure it’s in a glass or cup that feels beautiful and special to you. These little details all matter.
There are different herbal teas you can choose from depending on your intention for this bath ritual. For example, lavender tea will promote calm. There are also special blends of moon teas to drink during different moon phases—the perfect accompaniment to any new or full moon bath ritual.
You might even want to bring a small snack for yourself in a bowl on your bath tray. Fresh fruit or nuts or some good quality dark chocolate are great options.
Set the temperature.
What should the water temperature be for the perfect bath?
Close to your body temperature—around 37 degrees. Not too hot, because a warm bath is much more calming. But warm enough that there is still steam, which layers your skin with moisture and heat. This helps soften it and get rid of toxins. You probably won’t be able to see the steam, but you’ll feel it.
When the water is too hot, it will dry out the skin and can leave it inflamed and red, aggravating skin problems like eczema.
If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the water with your wrist to check it’s okay before getting in.
Bath salts are my favorite addition to any bath, and I always add a handful of salts depending on what I need most.
Epsom salts are great for soothing sore and aching muscles (post-workout etc.).
Himalayan salt is packed with natural minerals and has such a pretty blush color too!
Magnesium flakes are great for aiding sleep and rest—perfect if you have trouble sleeping and want some extra help tonight.
Dead sea salt soothes any irritation or itchiness on your skin and is also incredibly relaxing.
Seaweed powder is packed full of vitamin C, potassium, and iron. This helps boost collagen production, hydration, and circulation throughout the body.
Just a handful of relaxing bath salts is enough for one bath for any adult. So if you want to include a mix of different types, go for it, but don’t go over more than a handful when added together.
Make a DIY bath tea for your ritual.
I discovered bath teas last year, and I am in love with the idea of them and the actual making of them!
If you’re doing it properly, you’ll need some unbleached tea bags or small muslin bags to pack all your ingredients into. After that, it’s completely up to you what you choose.
Here are some ideas:
- Oats—a great remedy for soothing itchy skin and will turn the water gloriously milky! Grind them in a blender first for maximum effect.
- Grated cocoa butter
- Dried flowers or petals
- Dried herbs
- Essential oils
Just have fun with it and get experimenting with different ingredients and aromas. If you can forage the herbs and flowers from your garden or the local area, even better!
I sometimes like to add a spoonful of coconut oil or honey into the bath too.
Use your intentions for your bath or the current moon phase to guide you on this.
The best essential oils to create a calming bath are lavender, chamomile, neroli, and vetiver.
Not only will these help you relax and feel blissed-out, but they are also a great moisturizer for your skin.
Different oils are known to have different properties and vibrations. Choose whichever one matches the frequency you wish to embody and create for yourself.
If you’re taking a morning or midday bath and looking to be energized, you might want to add some orange or peppermint oil.
Once your bath is half-full, add a couple of drops of your chosen oil. You can also blend a couple of oils together if you want.
The final ingredient for any bath ritual is crystals. Like oils, each stone has its own vibration and will help you attract and feel different things. Spiritual bathing is all about creating a whole experience for your mind, body, and soul.
Choose one crystal that matches your intention, and it will help amplify it.
Rose quartz is perfect for promoting self-love as well as love in relationships. Goldstone will help you visualize your goals and achieve them. Amethyst will help you access, connect with and remember your dreams.
If you’re new to crystals, I recommend not getting too caught up in all the different meanings (there’s a lot!). Instead, go for crystals you naturally feel drawn to when you set eyes on them. This is your intuition guiding you and giving you what you need most—even if you don’t know it yet.
Need some more relaxing bath ideas?
There are some beautiful books full of inspiring rituals and recipes to explore and re-create at home.
Here are three of my favorites:
- Bathe by Suzanne Duckett
- Ritual Baths by Deborah Hanekamp
- Moon Bath by Dakota Hills & Sierra Brashear
What to do while you’re in the bath:
Now that you’ve set up a spiritual bathing experience for yourself, you’re ready to dip in and immerse yourself in this beautiful sanctuary you’ve created!
Here are some ideas for what to do while you’re in the bath.
The first thing to do is relax and just breathe.
How often do we go through an entire day without paying any attention to our breath?
Most of us are taking shallow breaths and not filling ourselves up properly with fresh oxygen.
Did you know the reason people get addicted to smoking and find it a much-needed stress-reliever isn’t to do with the actual cigarette? It’s because the act of smoking forces you to take conscious, deep breaths. This is what calms you down and relieves anxiety and stress; not all those nasty chemicals inside the cigarette!
So take some deep breaths while you’re in the bath. Focus on your breathing. Try counting to help you draw out your breaths and make the equal on the inhale and exhale.
This will help your body soften and begin the journey of deep relaxation.
Listen to relaxing music.
Spotify is brilliant for finding ready-made playlists for just about anything. There are some bath time playlists I love, and if there’s nothing that feels right to you, give yourself some time ahead of your bath to make your own playlist.
To keep things relaxing, I recommend listening to music with a slow tempo below your heart rate. Higher tempo music will speed up your heart rate and prevent you from slipping into a peaceful state.
Try a sound bath meditation.
I’ve been a member of Alo Moves since 2019. Although they focus mainly on yoga, they also have some wonderful meditation classes on offer, including sound bath meditations.
I love these meditations because your only job is to lie back, relax, and listen to the healing sounds. Don’t worry if you fall asleep—it happens!
Alo also has some specific sound bath meditations to listen to on the new and full moon, perfect for adding to your bath ritual. Click here for your free 30-day trial.
Read a book.
If you have enough candles lit in your bathroom, then reading is definitely an option and a great one if you prefer to be doing something instead of just “sitting there.” However, if you do struggle to sit in stillness and do nothing, this might be an invitation to explore that further. See what happens.
If your focus is relaxation, then I recommend reading a fiction book. I always find non-fiction kicks my brain into gear, gives me lots of ideas, and reminds me of things I need or want to do—not helpful when you’re trying to find stillness!
Listen to a podcast.
Tread with caution when it comes to podcasts because I find they’re now packed with ads and promos. It’s essentially like listening to the radio or watching TV.
But if there’s a podcast you love that nourishes you, then go for it! Rest your phone on your bath tray or somewhere safe where there’s no danger of it falling into the tub!
Now it’s time for a body scrub.
Let yourself soak for around 15-20 minutes. Add in some more hot water as the tub cools if needed.
Now your skin will have softened, and it’s the perfect time to give yourself an all-over body scrub if desired.
You can use exfoliating gloves if you like, but your hand will work perfectly too.
Choose your favorite body scrub, or whip up a simple one in minutes by combining coconut oil with brown sugar. Move your hand in a firm, circular motion, paying close attention to those drier areas like your heels, legs, and elbows.
Your skin will feel so soft and supple when you’re done!
Enjoy your blissful bath ritual.
There’s a lot of information and ideas in this article, which can easily lead to you feeling overwhelmed and losing the original intention of your bathing experience.
So please remember to enjoy every part of this ritual, from beginning to end. If any part of it feels stressful, just let it go. There’s no right or wrong way to take a bath!
The most important part of this is nourishing your mind, body, and soul. So ask yourself along the way, does this nourish me? If the answer is no, don’t do it. If it’s a yes, do more of that.
Forget about what you need to do today or tomorrow. Release anything that’s weighing heavily on your heart. Give yourself permission to be here in the moment and to enjoy every minute of this sacred experience.
You deserve this.
How long should I stay in the bath?
The recommended time for staying in the bath is anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes. This gives your muscles and mind adequate time to relax and will ensure you soak up all the juicy benefits from the salts and natural ingredients you’ve added.
If your fingers and toes start to wrinkle, that’s a sign it’s time to get out because your skin is starting to dry out. But until then, stay as long as you feel called to.
Dry off with a fluffy towel and spa-like robe.
Last year I invested in a soft, snuggly white robe from The White Company, and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made! I wear it virtually every morning and evening in the autumn and winter months. It’s warm and cozy and makes me feel like I’m in a fancy hotel or spa all the time!
I recommend investing in a gorgeous soft robe and a set of soft towels for a spa-like bath experience. You’ll use them every day, they’ll last a long time, and you’ll feel so pampered when you step out of the bath!
Top tip for those extra cold days: place your towel on a radiator while you’re in the bath, so it’s nice and warm when you get out!
After your bath ritual:
Baths can leave your body dehydrated, especially if you’ve added in some bath salts. This is why it’s important to have a big glass of water when you step out and keep sipping on water until you go to sleep.
Ideally, you want to make sure you moisturize your body within 5 minutes of stepping out of the bath. This will help you lock in the moisture and replenish your skin while you sleep. Use your favorite body lotion or body oil.
Looking after your body this way is a much-needed act of self-care.
Create space after your bath to relax more and enjoy some you-time. Do whatever you feel like doing. Make a cup of tea for yourself, read a book, meditate, or complete your skincare routine.
The window after your bath ritual is the perfect time to reflect on anything that came up for you.
Even if you can only spare five minutes, make time to gather your thoughts and write them down.
Think about what your original intention was for this bath ritual and how you feel now.
Has anything moved for you? Did anything surprise you? What did you receive during your bath (any intuitions, feelings, or divine wisdom)?
You don’t have to make sense of it now, but it’s great to empty your mind and have this to look back on in the coming days and weeks.
Are you ready to create your own soulful bath ritual?
You’re now ready to create a beautiful bath ritual that promises to nourish you inside and out. Take what you want from these ideas, weave in your own, and most importantly—have fun!
A calming bath is a perfect step to include in any evening ritual to help you unwind, relax, and enjoy a peaceful sleep. If you want to know more about creating a blissful evening ritual, click here.
I’d love to hear about your bath rituals! Tell me all in the comments below.