Relieve Stress With A Musical Bath Meditation

Music + bath + meditation. Each of these and all together can help relieve stress. I take a musical bath meditation every other week or more - sometimes as a self indulgence, sometimes to feel more deserving or attractive, sometimes for stress relief. When stress is high, it's an excellent time to take a power-packed bath with music, meditation, and other accoutrements added.

The Peace of Meditation

The opposite of stress is utter peace. Relax into the part of yourself that Knows.
The opposite of stress is utter peace. Relax into the part of yourself that Knows. | Source

Effects of Stress & Anxiety

Sustained, high stress is one of the health killers of Western culture. We breed it, to the point that a person is somehow seen as "lacking" when they don't exhibit stress under circumstances measured by society as conducive (like losing a job). This attitude has the odd result of making life stressful for everyone, working or not, because the expectation of stress is so high.

When stress has become something to admire, where does that leave us as a society? Sick, always sick - with headaches, body aches, colds, allergies, asthma, indigestion, heartburn . . . did I say headaches? This odd result is, of course, exploited by industry, which offers record numbers of medications (both prescription and non), tests and thorough examinations, psychiatric services - all to relieve stress that doesn't need to be there in the first place.

Musical Bath Meditations Relieve Stress

All this brouhaha and the medical and insurance costs that go with it can be avoided. Why lose time sick in bed, when you could use it for special self-care time, like massage or hatha yoga or musical bath meditations? You could use each of the components of this practice to relax, in fact, since each of them has a different effect:

  • Music - Helps the senses focus on pleasant things, thereby soothing the emotions.
  • Bath - Warms and cleanses the body. Helps you relax physically.
  • Meditation - Opens up the breath, calming the heart and stilling the monkey mind.

I can verify from experience that each of the three techniques work individually to reduce stress and I use them at different times regularly. But when you need a power shot, putting all of them together triples the stress relieving effect, especially with the additional components that go naturally with a bath (like wine and candles).

Stress, Music, and the Brain

For this kind of bath, It's important to choose the right kind of music. Music that enhances anger won't work. Music that reminds you of good times might, but if it's too lively, it would be better to play it while you're doing housework or another activity that will let you dance. The best music for a meditation bath is soothing, so if you don't know your CD collection well, take the time to play through it with eyes closed to assess the effect of each CD on your psyche.

A Cochrane Systematic Review found that listening to music could decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of anxiety in heart patients." - Science Daily, 04/16/09.

The researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center found that the people who had the most musical training in their lives had the best mental sharpness, and scored the highest on brain functioning tests." - Neuropsychology Journal, 2011.

Stress Relief, Bathing, and Relaxation

Warm water relaxes the muscles and soothes the nerves. Lying down in warm water feels womb-like and safe, separate from the outside world. Adding candles and a fragrance for intimacy further separates and insulates. Adding bath salts and some kind of oil can relieve the worry of chlorine absorption, make the water feel silkier, and help you relax even more. It also makes you feel special to treat yourself in this special way.

Meditating to Center

Meditation is when you separate your mind from everyday world cares and take it into a higher and broader state of peace and/or observation. It's purpose is to get you "centered," i.e. operating from the very best place in you - the most objective and loving place that is both "deep" and "high," encompassing all perspectives of life and all that you are - your Spirit. This is the place from whence the best ideas come. Answers and even the "real" questions are there, accessible once you've relaxed and centered enough.

Meditation Music

Soothing music can help get you there. Meditative classical or chamber music works, as do light jazz, Native American flutes, Irish Indy pop, certain Hawaiian music, nature sounds, and chanting. Here are some of my favorites - only a few of the many great recordings available. Note that Amazon lets you play snippets of CDs they sell, so you can get a feeling for the style:

  • The 10-set Meditation Classical Relaxation series (pictured on the right)

  • Andreas Vollenweider's New Age "free music"

  • David Young's recorder music

  • Inya or Clannad (same family) Indy Pop

  • Martin Pahinui's traditional Hawaiian music

  • Dancing Cat Records' Hawaiian slack key guitar recordings

  • Some of Kenny G's saxophone CD's

  • Nearly anything by Roberta Flack

  • Much of Carlos Nakai's Native American type music

  • Ottmar Liebert's rumba collection

  • Dan Gibson's "Solitudes" and other nature music

  • Tribal Winds and other music from Native American flutes (Wayra, Carlos Reynosa)

  • Nature music from Nature's Creations, Nature Recordings (Jungle is nice), and Sounds of Nature. Some of Lifescapes CDs are good too.

  • The Gyoto Monks' freedom chants

Supplies To Relieve Stress

There are many other supplemental supplies that can make your musical bath meditation soothing and pleasing. Here are some of them:

Bathing Supplies

Sea salt and dish soap are great additives to the bathwater. Tealight candles are fun to place around the bath en masse.
Sea salt and dish soap are great additives to the bathwater. Tealight candles are fun to place around the bath en masse. | Source
Big candle, paper to write on, and snacks. Delicious treat-type snacks.
Big candle, paper to write on, and snacks. Delicious treat-type snacks. | Source
  • Bath salts (or just sea salt) to counteract chlorine in the water and provide trace minerals for skin absorption.

  • Bubble bath (or dish soap) - just a little - to evoke that childhood bubble bath security.

  • Coconut, olive, or some kind of bath oil to rehydrate your skin. You will have to wash your hair and the tub afterward, but this works great for the skin and makes the water feel great too.

  • A few drops of scented oil like mint, eucalyptus, patchouli, or whatever scent you want to linger in your hair and on your skin afterward.

  • Candles - the best good mood producers I know. Use beeswax, so they last longer. Surround yourself. Use unscented ones that won't interfere with the scent of the bath.

  • Snacks - wine and chocolate (or crackers and a good cheese). Last night I had cranberry juice with chocolate mint drops, an incredible combination of flavors.

  • Tablet and pen, in case a good idea or some sort of revelation pops out.

  • Loofa sponge, mitt, or gloves

Setting Up A Stress-Free Bath

Now that you have all of your supplies on hand, choose a time when you know you can be left alone. Put your overflow protector in place, if you have one, so you can fill the tub up high. Plug the tub and turn the hot water on. Add bath salt/s and a bit of bubble bath. Let the hot water run, as you fix your snacks, set up the candles, and choose your oils.

When the tub is 2/3 full, turn off the hot water and turn on the cold. Choose your music and set it to playing. Choose whatever clothing you'll put on afterward. Light your candles, if you haven't already. Check to make sure the water is just right and turn the cold off. Swirl to dissolve salts. Add oils. Turn off your cell phone. Now you're ready to climb in.

Meditating In The Bath

Check one last time to make sure you can bathe undisturbed, then undress and slide into the bathwater. Savor the feel of the silky warm water swirling around you. Absorb its heat. Move your leg a little to enhance the swirl. Let your body relax and your mind begin to drift.

After a time, ease yourself into watching your breath for awhile. Take some deep, easy breaths and feel what happens. Stretch and let your mind drift again. Ease yourself into the music - feel it in your body. Let yourself drift again. Rouse yourself to take a sip of wine and nibble a chocolate. Relax again. Write a little snippet if something occurs to you. Relax and drift. LIsten to the music. Drift until the water gets cool and you're done.

When you're ready, put on the loofa gloves or use the sponge to carefully scrub your body. This takes off any loose skin. Wash the gloves with soap, if you used oil in the bath. Pull the plug to let the water go. Lie back and feel the water slowly sinking down your body.

When it's nearly gone, turn the shower on and wash your hair, if you used oil. Rather than rubbing, dab your skin dry to prevent the oil from coming off. Be careful climbing out of the bath.

Cleaning Up As A Meditation

If you used oil, you'll need to wash the bathtub as well (I use baking soda to wash the tub). Let it all be part of the meditation. Treat all with gratitude. Thank the candles as you blow them out and put them away. Thank the performers as the music ends. Leave the bathroom clean and be grateful for it.

To carry the good feelings back into your regular world, write in your journal or make your next activity a fun one. Pay extra attention to your children and/or partner, so they learn to like it that you took special time for yourself.

This will set you up for many more hours of special music meditation bath time in the future, with the blessings of everyone around you. It will set a great example for how to deal with stress for the rest of your family too. From then on, when someone snaps at others you could warn them, "Do you want to take a meditation bath?" and smile with them as their eyes light up or they sigh in acknowledgement. Happy bathing!

Caverna Magica [Enhanced CD]
Caverna Magica [Enhanced CD]

This is one of my favorite "weird" bath recordings. It relaxes and takes you "out there." I have other CD's by this musician too, and like them all.

 

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Comments 17 comments

Emma Harvey profile image

Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

Wow, I'm feeling relaxed already! Stress is a big thing with me, especially at work and juggling childcare. I suffer a lot with headaches and I know it's because I need to relax. This is just what I need - I've never thought about a musical bath to relieve stress but I will give it a go.

Nice hub - up and interesting.


Joy56 profile image

Joy56 4 years ago

This is first hub i read this morning..... thankyou it is so beautiful, i am going to have a bath very soon, using some of your good advice. Will be looking for more of your feel good hubs.


shivanchirakkal10 profile image

shivanchirakkal10 4 years ago

Music-Bath-Meditation , a wonderful, nice combination. All three have connection with nature. Man created music from the different sound produced by trees, wind,animals and birds. Bath it is nothing but water, the great gift of nature. Meditation is the mingling of silent, the peaceful heart of nature. As you said, musical bath meditation is highly helpful to relief from stress. It also helps to relief consent head ache. Thanks for the hub.


mmsu profile image

mmsu 4 years ago from Pakistan

Great hub. Interesting read throughout!


watergeek profile image

watergeek 4 years ago Author

Your comments put me right back in the bath and relieve my own early stress of the day. (Having gotten a couple of minor, but key tasks out of the way helps too.) Thanks for reminding us of the connection with nature, shivanchirakkal10. You're right, of course, and nature is the biggest destressor of all. Oh, for a good hike to a gorgeous waterfall or lake somewhere!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

What an awesome idea! Music, meditation and a warm bath sound like a perfect combination for relaxation. I just hope I won't feel so relaxed that I fall asleep in the tub. lol


shivanchirakkal10 profile image

shivanchirakkal10 4 years ago

dear Om Paramapoonya

You are correct. In my youth, I used lay in a hilly water fall near to my village. Some times I sleep there. I got extreme relaxation. Sit under a shower and get warm water spry also very enjoyable. The hub given me such a feeling.


watergeek profile image

watergeek 4 years ago Author

I do fall asleep . . . but then I wake up. It's not a place where you can really stretch out, so your body will always wake you up after a time. And you wake up feeling good.


Satinna profile image

Satinna 2 years ago

It is very important to take care of our inner self. I meditate each morning. It helps get the fog out of my brain!-) Also, food plays a part in our stress level. I have noticed that when I eat red meat I feel bad, but when I eat more vegetables and get my protein from beans, etc, I have a lot more energy.


watergeek profile image

watergeek 2 years ago Author

I've recently discovered a love for fava beans. Don't know why, but no matter how I make them, they taste great. Maybe it's because of the additional protein. And I agree about meditation. If I had to give up all of my health practices but one, meditation is what I would keep (although hatha yoga is pretty key too).


Brooke Bowen 2 years ago

I had no idea that high stress is one of the health killers of Western cultures. I am one of those people who gets stressed really easily and has high anxiety. I am always looking for ways to relax and relieve stress. These were great tips and I'll be sure to take them into consideration. Thanks for the help! http://www.pinchmedough.com


Lareene profile image

Lareene 20 months ago from Atlanta, GA

Meditation and music go together like a hand to a glove. It's calming and very very relaxing. It's my favorite combination. It sets a good tone for the day. I look forward to trying the bath and the sea salt to the mix.


watergeek profile image

watergeek 20 months ago Author

LOL. I just took one today, Lareene. I have a bad cold and decided that a hot beauty bath would be just the thing to feel better. It was very easy to go to sleep afterward to make up for not sleeping last night. And yes, Brooke, the cold came at the end of a conference I'd been organizing for several months. Colds are a result of stress too. Here's to the health of both of you.


Alison 13 months ago

Thanks so much for this information, it´s really helpful.

I´m a bit fussy with music, so I went off and searched the Internet for accurate meditation music. I found this one channel on youtube, which sounded really convincing. here´s a link, if you´re interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tft6XQyPhMA

They also have videos with nature sounds, such as water, rivers and crackling fire, which I personally also find very relaxing.


watergeek profile image

watergeek 13 months ago Author

@ Alison - Wow. It's really long. Nice though. I used it to catch up on my journal this morning. Thanks for the link.


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 2 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

I love this article. I try to take a bath every night, to release the stress from the day.

What I especially liked about your article was the point you make about allowing the cleaning of the tub to be a meditation. I usually hurry through that, but I can see how slowing down and expressing gratitude will enhance the experience immeasurably.

Thanks for writing

Namaste


watergeek profile image

watergeek 2 months ago Author

Thanks for your comment, Deborah. It's always motivating to writers to know that readers appreciate what they read. :D

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