The joy of bathing is something everyone remembers as a child. The memory of sitting in a tub full of bubbles and rubber duckies is enough to feel an instant calm. So why do we, as adults who are often stressed, take a morning shower instead of a nightly bath? I think we are often rushed; we stay up late with friends, and work ungodly hours, so that by the time we get home, we feel like going straight to bed. Yet this standard routine does not soothe, nourish, or benefit us in any way!
Here’ s an alternative routine: after getting home for the day, disrobe and get into that tub. Pour a glass of wine, add your oils, clays, and salts, and sink into a night of winding down bliss. Sound lovely? It really, really is.
But before looking at the many ways we can customize and luxuriate a bath, let’s first check out a few nurturing bathing practices that have been around for thousands of years, being used as an ancient art of healing…
Hydrotherapy: this term encompasses a broad range of approaches and therapeutic methods that take advantage of the physical properties of water, such as temperature and pressure, that stimulates blood circulation and treats various symptoms. The use of water alone can deeply heal and alleviate pain or stress in the body. Just the warmth and weightless feel of the water can help to diminish the pain and pressure from arthritis and joint pain. Common forms of therapeutic hydrotherapy include the use of water jets, underwater massage, and balneotherapy.
Balneotherapy: the treatment of symptoms or diseases through healing water methods, which typically invoke thought, relaxation, and detoxification. The ingredients in this practice are often rich in particular minerals, such as silica, sulfur, selenium, and radium.
Fangotherapy: the use of mineral clays and muds in a bath, is known for detoxifying the body, as the clays hold onto and pull out the toxins from your body. Bathing with clays is hugely beneficial, however, typical mineral clay will only hold onto your body toxins for a maximum of 20 minutes. If clays are left on for longer than 20 minutes, your body may try to reabsorb the toxins the clay just sought to remove. This is the art of bathing with clays; you must add your clays to the bath as you let the water draw out, and then mix well before beginning your soak. It’s best to enjoy the mud bath for no more than 20 minutes, then shower off the remaining clays from your skin, as they may be holding those toxins. Also- I add about 1/2 a cup of clay for a normal bath, but when I am feeling like I need a full detox- I add 1 cup of clay to a full bath.
The use of mineral salts and sea salts is also extremely beneficial when bathing. In a regular warm water bath, moisture is extracted from skin cells and doesn’t get replenished. In a sea salt bath, minerals are absorbed while toxins are released, activating energy flow! The minerals and nutrients in the salt are delivered to your cells in the form of ions, making it easy for the body to absorb and utilize them. A Himalayan or Dead Sea Salt bath can improve the overall texture and tone of your skin, combat water retention, ease muscle soreness, aid in restful sleep, and decrease overall stress. Usually, I add about 1 cup of salts to a full bath. Note: adding too little will minimize it’s effects, and too much can be irritating.
If you find that your bath cools too quickly and doesn’t seem worth the preparation, try adding hot stones to the bottom of your tub (taking care to keep them away from your skin). The beauty of this is that you can use whatever stones you wish. My favorites are Jade stones, to restore energy and regenerate cells, rose quartz to relieve stress, and I love to use amethyst at bedtime to calm my body, and aid in a restful sleep. I typically heat my stones to the same temperature I would use for a hot stone massage, so they are hot to touch- but not unbearable. I warm them in a crock pot with just enough water to cover the base of the stones – however, be careful when removing your stones- they can get very hot! To avoid burns, I lay my stones around the outskirts of the tub, so you can easily stay out of their way. It also depends on the size of the stones too- the heat in smaller stones tend to dissipate quicker, so I like to use 2-3 large stones (about the size of an orange). If you only have small stones– no worries; you can heat them, put them in a mesh water-safe bag or bath-safe tub, and keep them all together to retain heat and avoid skin contact.
The calendrical time in which we choose to bathe can also have a significant effect on our body and mind. Great healing can often take place during a full moon; the moon affects the tide, and with our bodies being made up of 80% water, it is safe to say that the moon’s position has an effect on our body. For example, did you know that mineral absorption is optimized during a full moon? Or that cleansing is best during a new moon? A new moon is a new beginning and a time to physically and emotionally cleanse our body from the negative aspects, and restore it with positive energies.
Do your body a favor and try to soak in a bath at least once every few days, or weekly if you can. Bathing with an intention not only cleanses your body of dirt and impurities but also reduces stress and reintegrates a sense of calmness into our souls.
Check out my favorite bath recipes:
Calming Bath Tea – soothing & hydrating
Winter Warming Bath – cozy & comforting
Detox Bath Recipe – purifying & relaxing