The Art of Bathing – Zen Life

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You read that right. Jessica shares how beneficial a good bath can be, especially right after you’ve spent 12+ hours on a set!

Is it possible to have a bad bath? Probably not! For most us that enjoy bathing, a warm soak does the body, mind, and soul good. So how can you make a good bath better? Balneotherapy is the treatment of medical conditions by bathing in naturally occurring, heated (thermal) mineral water. It is an ancient practice and has been used throughout history as a general tonic and for treating many diseases.

Modern balneotherapy is most often used for muscle and skeletal disorders, including different forms of arthritis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, anxiety, insomnia, acne, eczema, injuries, and so much more. Frequently used balneotherapy locations around the world include the Dead Sea, Israel, Kangal Hot Springs, Turkey, Blue Lagoon, Iceland, and Baile Govora in Romania. Hot springs are the best places to go for a therapeutic session of renewing the body and soul, but what if you can’t get to a hot spring?

Look for a good quality Epsom salt (but especially not one from China, as there are known contaminant in Epsom salts from China), or for Dead Sea salts. Take note that not all bath salts are created equal. The key is to have a high-quality amount of minerals.

Next, adding essential oils is nothing short of a small miracle in a bath. You can benefit from the inhalation of the oil from the steam of the bath, and also the absorption into your skin from the water. Lavender is my favorite and many people’s favorite essential oil, but you can try lemon (which is also great for those suffering from hemorrhoids), tea tree for problematic skin, rose oil (which can help reduce cortisol levels in the body) and is known for its sensual and loving scent, orange oil, eucalyptus, chamomile, and many other essential oils will work well in a bath. Depending on if you are sick with a head cold, suffering with PMS, or just need to soothe stress and anxiety, a warm bath with essential oils can do wonders! Oh, and you can try adding fresh herbs like rosemary or comfrey to your bath, and see how you like that too!

 

Taking a warm and soothing bath is about healing and relaxation. Some of you think about baths as something gross, because of being uncomfortable in the idea of soaking in your own sweat, oils, and if you happen to be in a hot spring, then other people’s sweat and oils. I get it, I understand, a shower is the best way to get clean, but bathing is about an experience, so keep that in mind. You can always take a shower afterward. 😉

To benefit from minerals and essential oils in your own home bath you only need about 15 minutes of soaking, but feel free to soak until your fingers and toes are totally wrinkled and your heart beats a little lighter. Let the tensions flow into the water, and get into a rhythm of deep breathing. Who’s counting the minutes then anyway?

Try adding in an organic cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil or organic coconut oil. A tablespoon is a good amount to start with. This serves to moisturize the skin, and it works so well!

Finally, you will want to neutralize the chlorine. Chlorine is added to most tap water supplies in order to disinfect it. Chlorine in the water supply also targets our intestinal bacteria, and the good bacteria on our skin that serves to protect the external layer of skin. So you will want to add about a gram of vitamin C to your bath (you can use powder or tablet); this will help to protect you from the chlorine and neutralize it. I also suggest using a filter on your shower head and filling the bath from a shower head that has filtered water. That will also limit the amount of chlorine and other contaminants in water from being in your bath. Bathing or showering, the chlorine will be inhaled, which is toxic to your lungs, so it is best to always have a filter in the shower.

An additional tip for those of you who are working on losing weight: A hot bath before a workout may even increase fat loss. Taking hot baths increases the release of free fatty acids from fat stores. Exercising immediately after a hot bath, then, will burn those free fatty acids and prevent them from being deposited back into tissue. You don’t have to make it a tough workout, just a nice long walk after a bath will utilize the liberated fats.

Also, taking hot baths works like a sauna. By soaking in warm water and steam, your body will begin to sweat, and that releases toxins stored in the body. This is beneficial especially when sick and you have a low fever and need to break it naturally.

For me, taking a bath is for that moment and is transforming. I can read a book, or turn the light off and use candlelight, I can listen to music or the sound of my breath, I can sip on a glass of wine or a glass of cool lemon water. I can pray or quiet my mind to turn down the volume on the long to-do list I seem to have every day. Imagining toxins and stress draining with the bath water when I am finished is helpful too. I step out of the tub feeling calm and soft, both my skin and my energy. Many times, I emerge feeling connected to a creative spark, an idea, and that is fun too. 

– Jessica Allison

Jessica Allison is a work at home mom, fine art photographer, makeup and skin care enthusiast, and lover of history and the outdoors. Check her out at facebook.com/groups/flygirllips or www.idahochildrensphotography.com

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Last modified: August 31, 2017

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