by Camilla Ridley
Self-care is the new buzzword and having a bath is back in fashion. Spa, beauty and wellness expert Suzanne Duckett shares her expertise and explains how the simple ritual of bathing brings amazing benefits, from alleviating depression and loneliness to enhancing your creativity.
Spa, beauty and wellness guru Suzanne Duckett relaxes in one of our new luxurious Ridley London printed floral Grania silk midi dresses while promoting her new book Bathe at The Bingham Hotel in Richmond, London
At Ridley we passionately believe in the power of personalisation. So much so that our interest for all things tailored stretches well beyond our immediate fashion bubble. So wherever we can, we’re keen to keen to bring you unique insights and suggestions and to introduce you to new personalised thinking and concepts from across the wider lifestyle spectrum. And this month we’ve got a treat in store for you.
You may have picked up in the press recently that bathing is going through a bit of a resurgence. In fact, the simple bath has been hi-jacked by the wellbeing movement and is having a bit of a moment. If you’re anything like me you’ve probably long believed in the amazing restorative powers of a long, leisurely soak…and not only in a good glass of red! But bath time has recently seen an influx of nifty new and tailored treatments all with a host of plausible claims and benefits. So which one's right? And most importantly which one is right for you?
We got together with our fabulous friend, Tatler Spa Guide editor (dream job!), Wellness expert for The Times and Telegraph and all-round bathing guru Suzanne to give you the low down on the latest trends and treatments. As well as her expert inside knowledge on how to transform your bath from a quick splash into a personalised ritual that’s positively soaking in bathing benefits. Plus, we’re offering you an exclusive promotion on her brilliant new book ‘Bathe' and our special Mother’s day bathing box collaboration.
Suzanne, please can you explain where this bathing revival has come from and why you're so passionate about baths that you wrote a book?
Bathing has always been popular but perhaps not quite as widely understood in terms of the tangible benefits it brings until recently. A bath really is the ultimate antidote to many modern ills, providing a natural boost to mind, body and soul. Not only does a bath provide sanctuary and a well needed chance for us to switch off… there’s also a host of scientifically proven health-boosting benefits that cannot be underestimated. A simple bath can stimulate the immune system, improve sleep, help skin conditions, boost circulation and heart health, benefit muscles and joints and balance hormone levels…just to mention a few. With an exhaustive list of positives and a growing interest in self-care, it’s no wonder bathing is back in vogue.
How do you think the concept of the bath is changing?
While the wellness world whirs at a hundred miles an hour with the latest treatments and practices, the humble bath has consistently stood the test of time. Historically, bathing has always been known for its healing and revitalising properties. Today it is a proven shortcut to finding peace and calm and one of the most effective ways to de-stress and be mindful. Above all, a plethora of new research, studies we’re really starting to understand how the simple bath is the most accessible and universal form of self-care for both men and women. And just how effective this can be
With this in mind, what was the biggest revelation you discovered during the research for your new book?
It’s got to be the way a bath can transform the way we feel so quickly. One study at Yale University in the US has even proven that having a bath can make you feel less lonely. Scientists concluded that there’s a positive human association between warmth and comfort hardwired in our brains from infancy. Being warm is central to our early lives; babies are cuddled and kissed, held, washed and attended to, and this facilitates bonding and connectedness. And certain areas in the brain that register physical temperature are also sensitive to emotions around rejection and loneliness. Explaining why we seek comfort in hot drinks and soup. So, next time you feel companionless, hop in the tub!
Are there benefits to bathing that specifically benefit women?
Yes lots. For me probably the most important and underestimated benefit is how emotional and physical immersions connect mind, body and soul to the seasons. Essentially helping you to harness the power of each season in more ways than you can imagine... not just by changing what you put into the bath, but also the time of day, the duration and temperature of your bath. So as we look to spring, we feel a sense of new growth, renewed, increased energy and a fresh sense of purpose. It’s time to see your bath as a chance to stimulate, energise and enliven, with pure essential oils such as sweet orange, peppermint, bergamot and jasmine. A spring bath can shake off the sleepiness of winter and embrace the renewed vitality of the season. To gain maximum benefit, If possible, open curtains and blinds to maximise light or even open a window to let in a little fresh spring air – if you can hear birdsong, so much the better as it is another proven, natural relaxant. Place fresh spring flowers or scented bulbs around the bathroom for seasonal colour.
Suzanne absolutely loves her luxurious new Ridley London Ellie regent's floral silk jumpsuit which is tailored to fit
Can you tailor bathing and specific treatments to individuals?
Absolutely, this is where the real benefits lie. As with clothing, it's really important to have a wardrobe of wellness antidotes that suit you perfectly. I work with a number of private clients to assess their physiology and lifestyles and prescribe tailored bathing treatments with specific natural supplements. There’s lots of information and pointers in my new book on how you can discover which treatments are right for you and how you can enhance your bathing. I’m going to be covering a lot of this during my talk at your store next week so I’m keen to keep my powder slightly dry here.
How important is the quality of the raw ingredients?
Never skimp on quality: the purer the oil, the greater the benefits. I’d definitely recommend buying organic oils that are distilled or cold-pressed, which smell incredible. Treat your beauty products, especially those that you leave on or immerse in, like you do your food. As with fashion I love my seasonal tweaks, but I’d always go for classics with a modern twist rather than the latest gimmicks. Lavender oil is a classic bath time relaxer and there are some beautiful modern brands; high-altitude French lavender oil has a certain je ne sais quoi, with higher natural linalyl acetate (ester) levels, for enhanced slumber. Again there’s lots of information in my book and also on my website relating to ingredients and suppliers.
Are there other ways to enhance your bathing experiences?
Again I’m planning to cover a lot of this at my talk and there’s a lot of information in my book. But here are a few tips that take bathing to the next level, giving it a ritualistic quality unique to you.
Pick your magic time
Schedule baths like you would an important meeting. You may choose to bathe in the morning before your family are awake, or in the evening to unwind from the stresses of the day. Invest in a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign so that other halves and children refrain from asking you questions through the door or playing loud music.
Get the temperature right
Water should be 36 to 38 ̊C and room temperature 25 to 30 ̊C. If necessary, heat the room up beforehand so there isn’t an excessive temperature difference when you get out.
Don't overdo it
Bathe for just 15-20 minutes. Staying in the bath too long can dry out your skin and put a strain on the circulatory system. If you are a fan of cold baths, take a quick dip before heating yourself up.
What are your favourite bathing essentials?
White company bath bridge, Tisserand bath oils, Aromatherapy Associates deep relax oil and Verdant Alchemy bath salts – great for travel. I buy my Epsom salts for bathing at home in 25kg sacks!
Suzanne Duckett shows off the full length of our luxurious new Ridley London printed floral Grania silk maxi dress
Tell us about your favourite places in the worlds to bathe?
I have braved the Baltic after an extended sauna session near Copenhagen, been whipped with birch branches in Russia, lolled until I was prune-like in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland, wild-swum wherever I could, from the choppy Mediterranean in winter in a wetsuit to naked in still, natural Austrian lakes. All of these have their own unique charms and characteristics. And all of them share this unquestionable sense of getting away from it all. And requiring the least effort for the most incredible benefits.
Do you think there is a correlation between fashion and wellbeing? How does fashion impact this?
Absolutely! Buying a garment or beauty / wellness product is all about choosing items that make you feel good as well as look good. It’s deeply personal and you have to find what is right for you rather than jumping on the latest trend. You have to buy with your heart as well as your eye.
Do you have a favourite item of clothing right now and how does this make you feel?
At the moment for me it has to be a jumpsuit. I switch between a more utilitarian soft, well-tailored denim boilersuit by Spry to my luxurious Ridley floral print jumpsuit which I save for work and special occasions. The fabrics are so light, natural and luxurious, feel amazing against the skin and the beautiful tailoring weaves in glamour as well as comfort and practicality. To me, these things are key in equal measure!
Pamper yourself this mother's day...Ridley London have collaborated with Suzanne Duckett on these limited edition bespoke bathing boxes which make unique gifts. Every box includes a beautiful new floral printed silk scarf as well as a host of treatments tailored to your particular needs.
We think Suzanne’s brilliant book Bathe, (available from all good bookstores), is a must-have for everyone who is busy and interested in looking after themselves and improving their physical and mental wellbeing. Designed to be read in the bath (as well as anywhere else of course!) Bathe features a host of practical take-away self-care tips to set you on a bathing journey to help heal both mind and body. Featuring the science, history and theories around bathing, it also includes inspirational quotes, poems, short meditations, creative exercises and practical tips so you can get the most from your baths. We particularly love the ‘how to create a sumptuous Japanese bathing experience at home’ and the section on ‘why people have their best creative brainwaves in the bath’. This book makes a fabulously original and thoughtful gift as the ultimate compendium of bathing.
For more bath brilliance and wellness information, follow Suzanne on Instagram : thisistheantidote or visit her website http://lovetobathe.co.uk/
Suzanne is also available for one-to-one wellness consultations (price on application; email her at firstname.lastname@example.org) where you can tap into her expertise and unbeatable little black book of contacts from top hormone specialists to the world’s best specialist retreats and spas or London’s best osteopaths, fitness experts and mindfulness gurus.