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There's nothing quite so therapeutic as a hot bath, fragrant with heavenly fruit and flower scents. This is indulgent and luxurious aromatherapy in your own bathroom. This article explains how to create your own attractive and aromatic bath crystals to indulge yourself, or give to friends and family. Some people sell them, too.

All you need, really, are the essential oils, but in this article we'll be shaking them up with coarse sea salt, which has the added benefit of detoxifying your body and strengthening your immune system.

For visual impact, you can add a little food coloring if you like; or you can choose to make your bath crystals strictly pure. (By the way, if you do use the oils undiluted in your bath, add them at the last moment before you get in, and swish the water around well, as some oils can burn your skin.)

You can shake the salts up in a container with a lid, or you can shake them up direct in the packages in which they are to be stored. Environmentally unfriendly plastic sandwich bags show the salt up well, but hopefully you'll choose a more biodegradable option, such as a small brown paper bag. Bags can be shaken, sealed, ribboned and labelled. Of course, if they are purely for your own use, you can simply make one large bottle of bath crystals.

Use about three tablespoonfuls of salt, and up to ten drops of essential oils per bath. You'll see later that I've broken this rule, but generally, don't use more than three different oils per bath. Remember that perfumery is about combining "high notes", which are fresh and fruity smells like lemon, mint, and eucalyptus; with "middle notes", the more floral smells, like rose, lavender, neroli; and "base notes", heavier, more lingering smells like vetiver, nutmeg and sandalwood.

Be careful; some oils are very powerful. If you are pregnant or epileptic, be cautious and do not use rosemary or juniper oils.

Don't expectic anything dramatic to happen; these oils work in a subtle fashion, and results are seen only subsequently, but some oils have wonderful therapeutic qualities. Some oils, such as lavender and chamomile, are primarily calming, while rosemary has a more invigorating effect.

Here are some ideas for combinations of oils. Of course, you'll soon be making up your own recipes. Read up on the oils, but also rely on your own intuition. Have fun.

(Epileptic or pregnant people should not use this combination)
3 drops rosemary
2 drops juniper
2 drops bergamot
2 drops sandalwood

4 drops lavender
2 drops ylang-ylang
2 drops chamomile
1 drop nutmeg

CREATIVE INSPIRATION BATH (use with moderation)
3 drops clary sage
2 drops bergamot
2 drops sandalwood
1 drop nutmeg
1 drop rose

ZEUS (a more masculine bath)
2 drops cedarwood
2 drops sandalwood
2 drops grapefruit
2 drops vetiver