Ahh! Sinking into a hot bath after a long hike or a tough workout can feel heavenly. Warm water helps relax tired, knotted joints and achy or sore muscles. But you can amp up your water therapy even more. Try these tips to build a better bath.
- Skip the scalding water. Water that’s too hot can strip skin of protective oils and be hard on the heart. Instead, soak in warm water—about 92 to 96 degrees—to relieve soreness from overworked muscles, fibromyalgia or arthritis.
- Get salty—with Epsom salts, that is. Soaking in a bath with a couple of cups of Epsom salts, or magnesium sulfate crystals, may help reduce inflammation in sore joints. Though this popular folk remedy doesn’t have a lot of research behind it, there’s no apparent downside.
- Stretch it out. Warm muscles stretch better than cold muscles, making warm water an ideal place to stretch and massage stiff muscles and joints. To work out the knots in your back, try placing a tennis ball between your back and the tub and rolling against it.
- Set the mood. A warm bath isn’t just good for muscle relief—it’s a great place to relax at the end of a busy day. Create a calming environment with dim lights and soothing music, or grab a favorite paperback and a cup of herbal tea and settle in for a relaxing soak.