Do you get the beauty of baths? I ask because I know some people who never take them. For whatever reason, they just don’t seem to care for them.
Currently, I don’t have a bathtub in my personal bathroom. My husband and I opted to have a standing shower with two sprays because we (well me, he rarely does) didn’t do baths daily or even weekly for that matter.
That said, there is a beauty about bathing that beats any other kind of water therapy. So when I want to submerge myself, I escape to my daughter’s bathroom (which has a bathtub) for some peace, serenity and loving aqua-emersion 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 in the water. And though both forms of cleansing are recommended, this article focuses on the therapeutic and health benefits/beauty of baths.
Bathing is a blissful ritual we should all be blessed to enjoy from time to time. It’s 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 at 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 antioxidants and vitamins, and herbs can be brewed or tied in a muslin 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 to the face or skin, and when dried, draws out impurities from 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 your head on a pillow and soak away your stresses.
Bathhouses: 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. Bathhouses 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 of 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 the most informed decision would be a plus for your well-being.
Do you do baths? If you don’t, try it sometimes and let us know your thoughts.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, certified health coach and entrepreneur. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo, Redbook, Natural Health, Instyle, Working Woman, Huffington Post, Essence Online, Tampa Tribune and more. She is currently the Chief Self-care Connoisseur and founder of I. O. Beauty Market, where she curates products that are free of toxic, harmful ingredients.