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13 Tips for Taking a Bath to Soothe Your Chronic Pain

Woman in robe sitting on edge of bath covered in rose petals


“I bathe a few times a week. Sometimes every day. In my old tub with my plastic-bag pillow. Telling my body that it’s okay to relax. To soothe. Letting it know that things will finally be okay.”

I used to underestimate the benefits of taking a bath. And for years I didn’t take one. But I’ve started again, and I’m hooked. For there is nothing like the magic of a bath to heal the body. And when your body has experienced somatic trauma or you suffer from chronic pain, your body needs healing often.   

My current bathtub is not ideal. Built when our house was built in 1961, it barely fits me. And I’m an average height and weight. It’s short. Narrow. Shallow. And old. Nothing that screams, relax. But, it’s what I have. And I’m thankful for it.

Because my tub is shallow, I wasn’t able to fill it up enough to cover my entire body—and considering two of the areas I experience pain the most are my neck and shoulders, I knew I needed to find a way to raise the water level. So I headed to Amazon where I found an overflow drain cover, and it has forever changed my bathing game. Sure, the water level is at the brim, but I can soak my neck and shoulders like I need to. Even if the floor gets a little wet.

I was also at a loss for a bath pillow. After trying a few and being disappointed with how quickly they fell apart or grew mildew, I put a hand towel in a plastic bag, which has worked well—and it remains mildew-free.

So now I bathe a few times a week. Sometimes every day. In my old tub with my plastic-bag pillow. Telling my body that it’s okay to relax. To soothe. Letting it know that things will finally be okay. 

What to Add:

  • Epsom salt (magnesium). It takes my body from the primitive knot it lives in and unravels it. Allowing it to rest. To create space. And to breathe. 
  • Essential oils. To me, they are essential. (Get it?). They help regulate my senses. Work with my tissues. My chakras. And give me a little aid. A boost. They rejuvenate me. Bonus tip: Essential Oils’ brand Dragon Time helps with PMS and PMDD. The time the dragon comes. 
  • Baking soda. For when my sinuses are filled or when I need to detoxify. Oh, and make sure you drink plenty of water after—especially if you add baking soda.

What to Do:

  • Listen to music. I try to listen to something relaxing, but really it’s whatever I’m in the mood for.
  • Light a candle. To set the mood and to bring in light. 
  • Apply a facial mask. I used one for the first time the other day, and it was hydrating bliss. 
  • Read, write or watch TV on your phone.
  • Daydream. I stop trying to think through everything and simply let my thoughts lead the way. Often teaching me what I need to know.
  • Sway with the water. Making ripples and feeling free.

What It Does:

  • Unclenches muscles.
  • Lightens mood.
  • Provides an energy boost.
  • Helps reset the mind, body and soul.

Happy soaking! 

Originally published on Psych Central. To view the original article, click here.

Also try this “Full Moon Ritual Bath.”

About the Author

Jenna Grace is a neurodivergent writer and educator with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD) diagnoses. She writes and speaks about topics including neurodiversity and SPD in order to help others and to explore new meaning. Visit her or Twitter, @jennagracewrite.

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