Looking for a way to relax without dropping serious coins on a massage? Consider taking a relaxing bath. When done right, your muscles will relax. Your skin will hydrate. Knots will dissipate. Stress will evaporate. And it won’t cost you much. They key is to know how to take a relaxing bath. Here are the five things you need to know in order to take the most relaxing bath you’ve ever had.

How to Have a Relaxing Bath

1. Prep. A relaxing bath starts with making sure that you have finished your to-do list so you won’t have anything waiting for you after (or lingering on your mind). Grab two towels (one for your hair and one for you body) and bring a bottle of water in to the bathroom so you won’t get parched. Set the mood: some like candles, others prefer the dark or dim lights.

2. Draw your bath. Every person likes their own temperature, but the rule of thumb is to run the water a bit hotter than you can sit in for the first half of the bath, then turn the water cooler for the second half.  Only fill the tub about 1/2 full, so you have room to add more hot water while you are in the bath.

3. Add bath salts or essential oils. Bath oil, like this one from Aveeno for $8, are wonderful additions because they will start to soothe and calm your skin (and smell great too). Bath salts or epsom salts for $4  work more deeply in your skin and muscles and are known to alleviate sore muscles and bruises. Follow directions for amount per bath.

4. Try Oatmeal. Simply add a cup of oatmeal in to an old nylon footie (or cut off the end of a pair of old nylons/tights) and tie it at the top. Make sure it’s not quick oats. Bring it with you in the bath, and occasionally squeeze the oat-water out. Oatmeal has soothing, calming, and even anti-aging properties.

5. Rinse, dry, and lotion. I usually end a good bath with a rinse. Use the shower wand, and as you stand simply give yourself a good hose-down so there isn’t any residue on your skin. Step in to your towel, wrap your hair if you wet it, and dry off. Now, don’t forget to put on lotion after your bath – your skin is porous and open to moisture after being in hot water. Use your favorite moisturizer.