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The Art of Bathing

The bathtub is a simple, wonderful invention that many of us take for granted. Since the beginning, bathing in water has been essential to one’s good health and peace of mind. It is not only for an occasional Saturday night indulgence, or exclusively for the kids and their toy boats; the bathtub is perfect for do-it-yourself-at-home stress reduction and natural healing. Many cultures of the past throughout the  world have adopted similar attitudes towards water, recognizing the health and spiritual benefits of bathing, using it to clean, to socialize and to heal. Sadly, like the many natural holistic discoveries buried by the sands of time and superseded by modern science, medicine and technology, it is a lost tradition that our modern fast-paced lives has sacrificed.

Though modern day spas with their saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, birthing pools, hot springs and mineral or sulphur baths are once again increasing in popularity, it is not too difficult to celebrate this nurturing, healthful, rejuvenating practice at home. Thirty minutes or more, one to three times a week is all one needs to make a profound difference in well-being. Simply locking the bathroom door and enjoying the solitude while immersed in soothing warmth can calm the mind and balance the emotions. A nice hot bath before retiring can put insomnia to sleep.  Ritual bathing, not just the old-fashioned bubble bath, but healing baths infused with healthful products such as Epsom salt, Dead Sea Salt, aromatic Bath Oils and healthful algae, can lower blood pressure, soothe the mind, detoxify and de-stress the body, reduce fluid retention and provide significant nutritional support.

The skin is the largest organ of the human body; it is also the most vulnerable. Continued exposure to the elements, chemicals and aging all take their toll on the skin. Hence, it is necessary to support and nurture the skin in order to restore its health and enhance its function.

In general, one needs to stay in the bathtub for twenty minutes or more for a bath to be effective. The temperature of the bathwater plays an important role in the healing effects of the bath. If the water temperature is above body temperature (101-104° F) it will relax muscle spasms, open the pores and encourage a detoxifying sweat causing the body to purge toxins by stimulating the lymph system. When the water is below body temperature, the body will absorb the nutrients in the water. Cool baths (90-95° F) are recommended during pregnancy, and make excellent recovery baths for convalescents and nervous system upsets. Cold baths (below 90°) can relieve itchy skin, mild depression, asthma, and, contrary to popular belief, rev up a waning libido. There is also sufficient research to indicate cold treatments may improve a low-sperm count.

Ideally, a health-rejuvenating bath will last about an hour to ninety minutes. When drawing a bath, if the water has not been filtered, it is wise to let the bath sit for at least a half hour to allow the chlorine to dissipate. Get in to the bath when the water is just above body temperature (hot) and get out when it is just below body temperature (luke warm or cool). Always follow it with a cool shower to restore the natural body temperature and close the pores. Regular bathing safely and effectively eliminates toxins, facilitates restful, restorative sleep every night, boosts metabolism and improves digestion, banishing bloating and constipation for good without medication. One will enjoy radiant health from the inside out; have crystal-clear skin and a healthy complexion.

Bathing in water enriched with essential oils awakens and strengthens all aspects of wellbeing – emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical. Soak away stress, inspire creativity, alter moods, restore vital energy and maintain healthy, glowing skin.

  • For normal skin use sandalwood, neroli, patchouli or frankincense.
  • For dry skin use chamomile, geranium, lavender or rose.
  • For oily skin use neroli, cypress, clary-sage or orange.
  • For blemished skin use carrot, chamomile, thyme or eucalyptus.
  • For stress relief use lavender, chamomile, hops or bergamot.
  • To detox use dandelion, grapefruit, burdock root, green tea extract.
  • For muscle aches use sage, eucalyptus, peppermint, ginger.
  • For increased energy use basil, rosemary, juniper or peppermint.

Add them just before stepping into the tub; otherwise, their volatile oils may be lost to escaping heat. Another way to use essential oils is to blend them with jojoba, grape seed or sweet almond oil and apply a small amount to your skin before getting in the tub. The oils will disperse in the water and their scent will be released, while your skin is nourished at the same time.

A bath that was often used for Royalty included the following:

30 drops orange essential oil
10 drops cinnamon essential oil
5 drops clove essential oil
10 drops lemon essential oil
4 pints whole cow’s milk (raw)
2 oz. liquid honey
2 oz. Tincture of Benzoin

Use essential oils carefully in baths. Mix them into an emulsifier such as a tablespoon of honey or whole milk, or they could burn your skin by floating on the top of bathwater as you enter the tub. This bath recipe counters the drying effects of a bath with its oils and milk. In general always apply a generous layer of moisturizer after every bath; I recommend jojoba oil, which will balance the pH of the skin, moisturizing and astringing according to what the body and skin needs.

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