Photo Courtesy of Rosalie O’Connor

We Sent goop’s Phys. Ed. Bath Soak
to a Principal Dancer at ABT

We love a bath after a muscle-taxing workout. The hot water alone works magic on our body and psyche; the Phys. Ed. bath—with apple cider vinegar, salts, turmeric, and arnica—takes the ritual to the next level.

Life as a principal ballerina at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) involves more workouts in one week than most of us manage in several months. Unsurprisingly, baths are incredibly popular with dancers, who use them to soothe sore muscles and to limber up. Isabella Boylston was a teenager when she first moved to New York from Idaho to dance with ABT, and she started off with a bathtub deficit. “Initially, I lived with five other dancers in an apartment with no tub,” says Boylston, now a principal ballerina at ABT. “None of us could deal. I remember later, when my husband and I were looking for an apartment, the tub was key in the decision-making process. We decided on one with this big tub—I can really stretch out in it.”

Boylston loves a bath after a hard day but often also enjoys waking up to one. “It’s a weird thing, but I like start my day in the bath,” she says. “And I drink hot coffee while I sit in a hot bath, believe it or not. It’s a soothing way to start the day, and it gets my muscles and joints warm and awake.”

Dancers often alternate hot and cold to deal with soreness. “Sometimes we take ice baths, full-body, which are as torturous as they sound,” says Boylston. “My compromise is often to do an ice bath just for my feet or ankles. It’s a great complement to a hot bath.”

And having had a bath in the morning in no way precludes an evening one. “There are definitely days when I take a bath twice,” she says. “And there are definitely nighttime baths where I have a glass of wine.” Her current schedule, which she describes as “like playoff season, but for ballet,” has her performing eight separate ballets, one per week, over eight weeks. “Two of them are world premieres,” she says. “It’s a crazy time.”

Playoff season but for ballet seemed like the perfect stress test for our Phys. Ed. bath, so we sent a package over. “I tried it last night when I got home, and as soon as I poured it into the water, I loved the smell. This scent is just so good,” says Boylston. “I really noticed a difference, even after the first bath. My muscles felt more relaxed, and it was easier to stretch afterward. I also like that it isn’t drying, so you can really soak and zone out. I love it—I did it again in the morning to warm up for rehearsal.”

pattys essentials

Photo Courtesy of Ioulex

Boylston also loves that the bath soak is totally clean and nontoxic: “I use natural skin care. My parents were kind of hippies, so they were an influence, but then a couple of years ago, my skin became much more sensitive. I got this crazy rash that lasted for the whole Met season, and after that, I switched over, and I’ve been fine since. Usually for baths, I’ll just use Epsom salts and some essential oils, so this takes me to another level.”

Baths are one great coping strategy for a sore, tired, body; Boylston says she also gets a massage once a week, drinks lots of water, and tries to get nine hours of sleep. Doing precisely what she loves, though, is what really keeps her going. “I’ve been with ABT since I moved to New York as a teenager, and I just love it,” she says. “I was eighteen when I joined, and I’ve been there ever since.”