The Healing Bath - by Karyn Siegel-Maier
Why bathing is a lot more than Just scrubbing behind our ears
But, instead of "shutting down" with a dry martini, or by becoming mesmerized in front of the television, why not regroup and turn yourself back "on"? How? By slipping into something comfortable -- your bathtub.
The bathtub is a simple, wonderful invention which many of us take for granted. Usually equipped with a showerhead, many of us opt for a quick wash and rinse under its spray and out the door we go. This "drive-by" form of bathing may get you clean, but can produce stress in itself, if you just run in and out to get the job done. You would think, in this case, that the reason the tub is there is solely to catch the drips from air-drying laundry.
Like `chicken soup' for the Nerves -- then & now
The idea of healing mind, body, and soul in the bath is not a new concept. In fact, few knew how to do it better than the ancient Romans. Beginning with an oil massage and exercise period, most Romans spent a relaxing afternoon at the public bath, either socializing or reading. After visiting the hot, steamy rooms of the caldarium, it was time for the actual bath, first in hot water and then a final rinse in the frigidarium -- you guessed it -- a plunge in cold water. Like the Romans, the Greeks and Turks used bathing as a healing tool.
The tradition of therapeutic bathing, whether hot or cold, was kept alive in the luxurious spas found throughout
Some take it hot (and some don't)
There are other health benefits to be gained from hot baths, such as easing muscle strain, reducing hemorrhoids, and relieving arthritis. Hot baths also increase circulation and can promote the elimination of impurities via the skin. A hot soak also slightly increases the metabolism, offering a small reprieve from self-recrimination if you've indulged in an evening dessert.
Cold baths can relieve itchy skin, mild depression, asthma, and, contrary to popular belief, rev up your waning libido. There is also sufficient research to indicate that the cold treatment may improve a low-sperm count.
An ocean of fun
tongue twister refers to sea therapy, or using natural ingredients from the sea to heal and nurture skin.
Combined with algotherapy (using algae and seaweed), the sea has many benefits to offer. Sea salts, particularly those from the Dead Sea, contain the highest mineral concentration of any other substance on the planet. Sea salts are high in potassium and magnesium, which help to retain moisture and yield anti-inflammatory properties.
Algae and seaweed may sound like slimy bath-fellows, but they are rich in minerals and amino acids, which increase circulation and encourage new cell growth. Iginates, commonly found in the ingredients of bath products, are gelatinous agents derived from sea plants that form a protective barrier on the skin. They are sometimes found in body washes and after-bath lotions to help retain moisture.
Splish-splash with herbs in the bath
Another way to use essential oils is to blend them with jojoba, grapeseed, or sweet almond oil and apply a small amount to your skin before getting in the tub, just like our Roman friends did. The oils will disperse in the water and their scent will be released, while your skin is nourished at the same time.
Tea time in the tub
If you grow your own herbs and have a supply of dried material on hand, you can easily make bath bags from doulble-layered muslin or cheesecloth.
Essential for your next bath
For Normal Skin: sandalwood, neroli, patchouli, frankincense