Do you think of bathing only in terms of cleansing? If so, you may be missing out on the potential benefits of bathing? Did you know that bathing has been around since 2000 B.C.? The ancient Romans, for example, used bathing as an important part of their daily ritual. They understood the therapeutic advantages of water and they created elaborate bathing rituals including the use of scented oils. Unfortunately, when the Roman Empire was overthrown in the 5th century, the tribes who conquered Rome found their obsession with cleanliness impertinent. Moreover, the church expressed disapproval of this indulgence, thus these rituals disappeared.
The 18th century saw a revival of bathing when once again the therapeutic effects of water came to light. Spas were established in Europe and the U.S. For those seeking water therapy. Also, the discovery that germs spread disease altered attitudes towards bathing. While initially seen as indulgent, rooms established solely for cleansing gained popularity and by the end of the 19th century, owning a bathroom was viewed as a status symbol.
Bathing today need not be boring nor for the sole purpose of cleaning our bodies. It should be a time to care for your body, mentally and physically! Creating your own additives can help aid some common problems. Please seek medical advice before using any of these suggestions. Some essential oils can interfere if you're pregnant or suffering from any medical problems.
~Use cleansing baths to your advantage by detoxifying too which can aid in reviving your system. Steep your herbs in hot water for 15 – 20 minutes, strain and add the liquid to your bath. Tie the herbs in a cheesecloth and attach to the faucet while you are running your water. Some examples of what to add: 2 cups of apple cider which has an energizing and cleansing effect; nutmeg or lavender which promotes perspiration and can aid in expelling toxins from your body. The added scent of the items provides a bonus!
~Moisturizing baths are important because of course bathing in hot water can be drying to your skin. I suggest using natural oils which can be found at your local supermarket or health food store. Remember to use no more that 2 teaspoons, otherwise your skin will become too greasy. For dry skin try avocado or Castor oil; for oily skin try lighter oils such as calendula or safflower; for normal skin choose almond, jojoba or apricot oil. Sea salts can also be very moisturizing and nurturing as they are high in minerals which are easily absorbed into the skin. The salts are said to ease problems such as psoriasis and eczema but they surely ease or aches and pains and leave the skin super soft! Please use caution as oils or salts may make the tub slippery.
~Relaxing Baths ~ ah there's nothing like a nice hot bath, is there? Try adding some natural products to enhance this relaxation or promote sleep! Adding camomile or lavender leaves to your bath adds therapeutic benefits as it is absorb through your skin, But breathing in the calming scents can be beneficial as well. Also, don't forget about the therapeutic qualities of essential oils too. Try adding 5 drops each of neroli, lavender, and lemon to calm and soothe!
( This photo is linked to Nourish your Spirit and has some cool lavender recipes. Click the picture to visit).
~Decongestant baths can be so helpful when you're down with the flu or a cold. Add some peppermint leaves to your bath to help stimulate and clear mucus from your nose and sinuses. Sage is a great additive when you suffer from muscle aches and pains (AVOID this if you are pregnant).
There are so many options today to enhance the quality of our bath. Take the time to enjoy your bath and reap the benefits of water therapy. You might even add to the experience by lighting scented candles or by bringing a good book and just soak in the tub for a few minutes.
P.S. Please click on any picture and you'll visit the site where I obtained them.
Source: Bathing for Health, Beauty, & Relaxation Gizowska, Eva 1998