Beauty

Aromatherapy to Strengthen Your Immune System

Turn your shower into a spa. Energize your day with this simple, step-by-step aromatherapy ritual.

Aromatherapy to Strengthen Your Immune System
Pin it Nick Horne

With one bottle of essential oil, a body brush, and 15 minutes to spare, you can transform your shower into an all-over aromatherapy treatment that will keep you feeling energized all day.

By using aromatherapy in the shower, you'll strengthen your immune system, aid stress relief, prevent dry skin, invigorate your lymph and circulatory systems, and increase overall vitality, says Valerie Cooksley, R.N., author of Healing Home Spa, and founder of Flora Medica Integrative Aromatherapy (floramedica.com). Try her at-home regimen three or four times a week:

1. Start by selecting a skin-friendly essential oil such as mandarin, grapefruit, lavender, ylang-ylang, or bergamot. These are the most stress-fighting and uplifting oils, Cooksley says.

2. Add several drops of oil to a dry skin brush, then exfoliate head-to-toe to stimulate circulation.

3. Close the drain, pour a few drops of oil onto the shower floor, and run the water as hot as you can tolerate for a minute or two. This will create a steamlike experience and foot soak, Cooksley explains. Focus on taking slow, long, deep breaths.

4. Stay in the hot water for at least two minutes, then turn down the water temperature to get a blast of cold. Ending a shower with cold water can strengthen circulation and close the skin pores, says Cooksley. Alternate between hot and cold water several times if you like the greater the difference between the two temperatures, the greater the health benefits.

"When you begin your morning with intention, pleasure, and natural body care, you can reap health-giving benefits for body and mind," says Cooksley. What a way to start the day!