Self-care is a concept that’s thousands of years old, although it began less as treating yourself to a nice spa day, and more as a way of finding enlightenment through self-examination. The modern self-care movement isn’t quite so philosophical, but the end goal is largely the same: improve and love yourself so you can improve and love the world.
Millions are taking that edict dead serious. The global self-care industry is a £350 billion space that branches out into several niches, from yoga retreats to aromatherapy. With its relaxing and calming properties, it was only a matter of time before CBD made its entrance. And once it did, many self-care enthusiasts took to it like a duck to water. Wellness is now the primary driver of the cannabinoid’s growth.
But just how are people consuming CBD for self-care? While a lot of users may have started with oral consumption through oils, there are now more creative ways to sit back and relax with CBD, with many a cannabidiol-ification of other wellness trends and products.
Soak Away the Stress
A long, hot bath has become synonymous with rest and relaxation. That’s why there’s no dearth of self-care products made for letting you luxuriate in the bath for hours.
Bath salts and bombs improve the experience, and more than just through the sensory delight of lilting fragrances, pleasant colours, and the gentle fizz against your skin. Many athletes include Epsom bath salts in their recovery regimen, using it to address muscle pain and fatigue, and bath bombs can be good for your skin. “Bath bombs can add oils to a bath, and the oils are moisturizing,” says Dr. Amy Wechsler, a dermatologist.
An infusion of CBD may enhance the benefits of bath bombs and Epsom salts. Our skin is home to numerous types of endocannabinoid receptors that CBD has been found to interact with. However, it should be noted that CBD struggles to penetrate deeply when applied through topical means. Our skin is designed to keep things out, limiting absorption. For CBD-infused products to have a significant effect, the formulation has to be potent.
Inhale the Good Vibes
Of the senses available to us, smell rarely gets the recognition it’s due. Odours, which we largely perceive on a subconscious level, seem weaker compared to the more perceptible input from our eyes, mouth, and ears. There are too many sights to see, too much food to taste, so much sound that demands attention.
However, smell is a powerhouse of a sense. It’s the strongest link to our memories – a single whiff can surface a long-buried memory or emotion. We can distinguish more than 1 trillion scents, magnitudes greater than the 10,000 previously thought.
So it comes as no surprise that the body can react physiologically to certain smells. The popularity of scented candles for self-care attests to the potency of the right fragrance. And it’s not all in the mind. One study found that scented candles may significantly decrease blood pressure and heart rate. Another suggested that they can help improve sleep quality and ease anxiety.
With its trove of similar benefits for wellness, CBD oil has already found itself mixing into the world of scented candles. But is inhalation actually an effective way of introducing CBD into your body? While there is no conclusive evidence yet due to the lack of research, the few studies that exist do suggest that inhalation does affect our system to an extent.
Steep Away the Bad Vibes
Tea is intrinsically linked to our health and wellness. For centuries it was used as a medicinal drink, after its purported discovery by Shennong, the father of Chinese medicine.
Over the years, it has evolved to represent different things for different cultures. In Japan, tea drinking is treated with ceremonial veneration. Tea is central to life in Turkey, where days are filled with several tea breaks and refusal when offered a cup can be seen as a slight. Here in the UK, which is Europe's largest tea market, the beverage is literally comfort and happiness in a cup.
Coupled with CBD, tea’s soothing properties may gain a boost. One drinker reported feeling more calm and composed after regular intake which can be a common effect of CBD consumption (so it might not be the biggest motivator if you’re up against any pressing deadlines). Many also find the pungent taste of CBD oil disagreeable. Tea can help mask the flavour, especially when mixed with cream or otherCBD-infused sweeteners.
Further study needs to be made before we can pin down exactly how the CBD-infused beverage affects our mood. How the tea is prepared also affects the quality and concentration of CBD in the drink, so taking it with your regular cup of tea isn’t as simple as adding a few drops of oil. Temperature and how long the tea is steeped can either degrade or increase the amount of compounds released. If you’re looking to brew CBD tea for your next self-care session, it’s best to pay attention to prepping instructions and start with a smaller cup.
Unwind and Unravel Tension
Getting a massage is at the top of many self-care checklists, for good reason. Under the deft hands of a qualified massage therapist, tension and stress just seems to melt away. Even pain can be rubbed away when done right, making massages an important part of many rehabilitation programmes.
While massages can feel like magic, there’s a reason our body responds to kneading this way, and it’s not because of the long-standing belief that you can rub out toxins from your muscles. Massages appear to activate our body’s repair mechanisms and restrain inflammatory responses. Perhaps that’s why they feel fantastic after a hard day – you’re literally triggering your body’s own self-care mechanisms.
CBD comes in as a complement to what already works. “It’s really just the same as a normal massage, tailored to the client. Using the product is what makes it different. Clients report that it amplifies the therapeutic qualities of a beneficial massage,” says massage therapist Jennifer Adams. Its anti-inflammatory properties may also further support the soothing effect of a massage when infused into massage oils. We also know that topical application can ease pain, although researchers are still working out the science of just how much is safe and effective.
Whether you’re looking to relax and unwind with a soothing massage, a hot cup of tea, or a long soak with a CBD bath bomb, there are a whole host of products and potions out there for you to get your hands on. Treat yourself to a self-care experience your body and mind will thank you for and discover wellness in the CBD world.Disclaimer: This article is not meant to be prescriptive – please check in with your healthcare provider before consuming any kind of CBD product.