Currently, I don’t have a bathtub in my personal bathroom. My husband and I opted to have a standing shower because we (well me) didn’t do baths regularly. That’s all changed however. Now, when I’m at home, I pamper my beautiful body with restorative baths once a week.
There is a certain kind of beauty about bathing that beats any other kind of water therapy. I get my baths from our second bathroom, which has a bathtub. So when I want to submerge myself, I escape to that little space for some peace, serenity and loving aqua therapy.
The history of bathing goes back to many cultures, including the Romans who knew a thing or two about the importance of baths for one’s wellbeing. People of all social statuses submerged their bodies in water that was infused with herbs, oils, exfoliants, and even ate, drank and frolicked while their bodies soaked up the beneficial nutrients from the additives.
Not to be confused with showering, where the water sprinkles and runs off the body, bathing involves submerging oneself into the water. And though both forms of cleansing are recommended, this article focuses on the therapeutic and health benefits and the beauty of baths.
Bathing should be a blissful ritual we all enjoy from time to time. Its medicinal benefits are hugely rewarding both inside and out. Hot baths cause blood vessels to dilate, which ultimately improves blood flow and circulation; increases oxygen transport to cells, including surface skin cells; improves cellular respiration and provides more energy molecules for the cells to do their work. Cold baths on the other hand, cause blood vessels to constrict and diverts blood supply to the organs of the body, which improves their functioning.
According to the Art of the bath, baths fall into four categories: cool, tepid, warm and hot
Cool bath: range in temperature from 50 – 75℉/10 – 24℃ – blood flows toward the internal organs, stimulating and increasing organ function. A few seconds to a few minutes is ideal.
Tepid bath: range in temperature from 75 – 85℉/24 – 30℃ – refreshes and invigorates the body. 5 to 10 minutes works well.
Warm bath: range in temperature from 85 – 95℉/30 – 35℃ – extremely relaxing. Blood flows from the organs to cells, including skin cells. It improves circulation. 15 to 20 minutes submerged in this temperature is very beneficial
Hot bath: range in temperature from 95℉/35℃ – causes muscle relief, detoxifies through perspiration. The extreme heat can cause faintness, so 2 to 5 minutes is ideal. Women who are pregnant, people with circulatory and heart conditions should avoid bathing in this temperature.
Additives that are used to create harmony and bliss in baths
Herbs & fruit: these are great for their nutritive properties and awesome aroma. Fruits are loaded with antioxidant and vitamins, and herbs can be brewed or tied in a muslim bag to extract their healing properties.
Essential oils: have great therapeutic effects. Since oils are very concentrated, it’s best to use only a few drops in the water. You can also make a synergistic blend by diluting the essential oils with carrier oils. *I suggest doing a skin patch test when using the essential oils only.
Salt: sea salts and mineral salts are great for exfoliation. They leave the skin smooth, supple and glowing.
Mud: clays are applied on the face or skin, and when dried, draws out impurities form the skin. Try on your face or the entire body.
Places where you can enjoy the benefits of a bath
At home: the luxury of your own home offers familiarity, peace of mind and comfort. Close the door. Add some essence, herbs and oils to your water. Light some candles. Dim the lights. Lay you head on a pillow and soak away your stresses.
Bath houses: and I’m not referring to the ill-reputed kinds. I’m talking about the healing kinds, the ones not commonly used in the USA, but in places like Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries. Bath houses provide the amenities needed for soaking, relaxing and detoxing. People gather in groups and enjoy the benefits of the warming water along with each other’s company.
Spas: spas offer a slew of services including, lymphatic drainage, which removes toxins from the body, therapeutic massages, body exfoliation, water treatments and heat treatments.
Hot Springs: have been around for centuries, and they offer the benefit of bathing in minerals, like bicarbonate, calcium and sodium, and are especially appreciated in Asia and Europe.
Bottom line is, baths are da bomb. They will cleanse you from the inside out. However, do your research. Know the pros and cons about the treatment you’re seeking. Be sure that the establishment you’re choosing for your body care is reputable and employ qualified staff. Get as much information as you possibly can about the services they offer and check reviews and testimonials. Also, ask friends or go to reputable websites for recommendations. Lastly, know your body and your current health situation, as some types of aqua therapy are not suited for every individual.
This is all about your health, and making the best and most informed decision would be a plus for your well-being.
Do you do baths? If you don’t, try it some time and let us know you thoughts.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, health and wellbeing consultant and Qigong instructor. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo and more. She is the founder of Inside Outer Beauty Market, a multi-cultutal retailer curating and creating products to support the body inside and out. Visit the site at www.iobeautymarket.com