Once upon a time, I worked at a day spa. Late high school and early college, so I suppose it would be included in my formative years. It was an outdoor spa, so summers were very busy, but winter could be really slow. I worked there four years, half of which I spent as a receptionist for spa services - meaning I booked facials and massages and body treatments for people... and hung out with a lot of therapists.
Working there left me a touch spoiled. Training new therapists for body treatments required a guinea pig - often me or one of the other receptionists. Treatments often involved massages, and I can't tell you how lovely it is to have four people massaging you at once. On cooler, slow days, it was not uncommon for one of the therapists to offer me a free massage, and I often returned the favors by rubbing tired shoulders, arms and hands, and learned a lot from them about different techniques. Bobby is very appreciative of this now.
Some of the therapists were great believers in the more holistic benefits of massage, and all that went with that - whole foods, essential oils, a more natural lifestyle in general. Others, not so much. Between these therapists and the training sessions, I learned a lot about natural remedies and the benefits of aromatherapy.
Whether I believe in all of it, I know that having someone massage between my shoulderblades often made my headaches go away, and that I love many of the smells of many essential oils - much more than I do sprays from Bath & Body Works and the like. I've been back to the spa many times, at first to visit with old coworkers, later as a guest. I have some bath/massage oils that I purchased there, and when I smell them, they remind me of those days of frequent massages.
If you've been to my house, you know I have an amazing bathtub. It's not overly large, so as not to waste water - just a simple five feet or so (which is perfect for my 5'2" self), but with jacuzzi jets and a heater, and a tapered end perfect for laying back on. All of this makes for a nice, relaxing way to end a long day.
Today was such a day. Bobby is in Norco, visiting with Emma and his family, but I've been a little slow at work lately, due to my wrist, so I couldn't get away early enough. When I made it home, I had a little soup, some of my fine herb chevre with salami and garlic-herb crackers, and some pinot noir. Since I had some dough in the fridge, I baked myself up some chocolate chip cookies for desert - surprising how well they go with red wine - and drew myself up a bath.
I picked a few lavender flowers from the yard and threw them in the water (I am going to need more of those plants), lit some candles, and poured myself some more wine. I was hoping the lavender flowers in the water would share their scent with the room and me, but they only seemed to share with my fingers when I rubbed them. I can't use many bath salts or bubbles, my skin reacts. I thought of using my bath/massage oils, but I'm running low and the line has been discontinued, so I decided to save them; my fingers were telling me it was about time to get out anyway.
When I finally did pull myself out, I went in search of a lotion for my legs. I'm not a big consumer of lotion - I really only use it after shaving my legs or if I have a sunburn; my skin is rarely dry. What I wanted to use was a body butter, but the only body butter I have seems to be an artificially, powerfully scented tub I received as a gift awhile back. I like berries and chocolate, I just don't particularly care to smell of them. Lavender, Ylang ylang, bergamot, vanilla, eucalyptus, mint... these are more my style. I settled instead for using some of the coveted massage oil I'd just decided to save.
But then, as it is wont to do when I am alone, my mind wandered. I began wondering where I would go to find a new bath/massage oil for when I run out, and that spiraled into wanting pure essential oils so I could add it to unscented lotions... which led to thinking about the mint and lavender I have in the yard, and could I make my own essential oils? I had to stop myself, when I learned making my own would require purchasing a still (used to distill oils from plants). I have enough projects right now - I'll just have to search for oils for now.