Amazing Bath Rituals For Mental And Physical Health

  • 6 min read

Rose petals and lemon slices in a bathtub for bath ritual to improve mental and physical health blog post - Island Thyme Soap Company

These days it just seems there is a constant barrage of bad news and chaos all around us. This pandemic seems to go on and on. Worry, anxiety, and frustration is visible on faces all around us. That's why it's more important than ever to find time for self care to build resilience. A long relaxing bath in warm bath can provide some significant health benefits, both psychological and physical that a shower just can't provide. So carve out time for an extra-special soaking experience. 

Luckily we have the wisdom of the ages. The use of water for various health treatments (hydrotherapy) is probably as old as mankind. Archaeologists have found remains of bathing rooms in the palace of Knossos that date from 1700 B.C. indicating that the Greeks appreciated the effects of a good, long soak. The Greek physician Hippocrates also wrote extensively about the healing power of water. He dedicated a large section to thermal water in his work “De is, a quiz at loci”, in which he described the chemical and organoleptic water features, and the effects of hot and cold baths on the human body. The philosopher proposed the hypothesis that all the human diseases started in an imbalance of the bodily fluids. To restore the balance he advocated the use of saline baths and regularly immersed his patients in seawater to cure several ailments, including aching muscles and arthritis. .

Apparently we're not alone in our thinking we should up our bath ritual game. Data gathered by the social media platform Pinterest, global searches for "spiritual cleansing baths" are up 180 per cent, followed closely by full moon bath rituals (up 90 per cent) and bath tea recipes (up 60 per cent).

Studies attributed to a combination of bodily comfort, warmth, isolation, and being horizontal significantly improved mood and optimism. Perhaps it mimics the warm and secure feelings of being in the womb. Being immersed in hot water past your chest can also improve lung capacity and oxygen intake. Preliminary evidence indicates that a 60 minute soak in a hot bath produced similar anti-inflammatory and blood sugar responses as 60 minutes of moderate physical activity. 

It's not selfish. It's discipline and its healthcare. So plan to take some time to renew.  Don't forget to set the mood with candlelight and some soothing music!

Here are some tips to maximizing the benefits of a relaxing and healing bath.

Water Temperature

Hot baths are actually not particularly good for your health. It can actually put a strain on the heart. Warm water is the ideal temperature.

Aromatherapy

A mix of hydrotherapy and aromatherapy uses the essential oils from herbs and flowers, like lavender, rosemary or stinging nettles, to aid in relaxation or create analgesic, antiseptic or sedative properties. Since oils and water don't mix, simply adding 4 drops of essential oil to 1 Tsp honey, mixing in a cup of warm water and then adding it to your bath will work.

Botanical and Bath Teas.

Rose petals and lemon slices sprinkled in a bath are the image of luxury and self love and can actually enhance your skin and mood. If possible, you'll want to use rose petals that are free on pesticides. It's also important to plan for what to do with all those petals and fruit slices at the end of your soap. You don't want them clogging your drain. You can use a metal kitchen strainer like a pool cleaner. 

Bath Salts 

Salt baths are one of the most ancient on the planet, beloved by the ancient Greeks and made into a full-blown industry in the 1700s in Europe. Using salt baths for pain relief have been a thing for thousands of years, but it's only now that we're understanding why. In 2012,  scientists showed  that a saltwater bath takes a lot of the agony out of inflammation-based pain syndromes such as the chronic pain related to arthritis, fibromyalgia, or muscular low back issues. This explains why hot springs which are high in salts are so effective and for years were frequented by patients seeking a miracle cure.

One word of caution. When partially dissolved bath salts collect in your drain, they can mix with hair and other debris and cause major clogs so it's a good idea to stick to fine grain bath salts.

The Minerals in Bath Salts

  • Magnesium is important for both combating stress and fluid retention, slowing skin aging, and calming the nervous system.
  • Calcium is effective at preventing water retention, increasing circulation, and strengthening bones and nails.
  • Potassium energizes the body, helps to balance skin moisture, and is a crucial mineral to replenish following intense exercise.
  • Bromides act to ease muscle stiffness and relax muscles.
  • Sulfate 

Dead Sea Salts

Harvested from the Dead Sea located between Jordan, Israel, and Palestine, these salts are utilized in detoxification and beautification. Two thousand years ago, Flavius Josephus wrote that the salts from the Dead Sea heal the human body. The Dead Sea has the highest salt content of any body of water in the world its waters have been renowned for their therapeutic effects since ancient times. The waters from the Dead Sea are unique in that they contain 27% of various salts as compared to 3% in normal sea water. Further, while sodium accounts for approximately 80% of the salt content of normal sea water, it comprises much less of the salt total in water from the Dead Sea. The balance of the salts in Dead Sea water are magnesium, potassium, calcium chloride, and bromides.  Sodium is important for the lymphatic fluid balance (this in turn is important for immune system function). So we can see that bathing in high-quality sea salt could replenish the minerals that are critical to our skin metabolism. Structurally, sea salt is more absorbent than other salts, which makes it suitable to scent with essential oils. Because of the hygroscopic structure of sea salt, it's best to store it in a cool and dry place. 

Pink Himalayan Salts

Found near the foothills in a region of Pakistan, these salts are mined from ancient salt beds, deep under the Himalayan Mountains. Pink Himalayan salt is minimally processed and gets its characteristic rosy hue from a wide range of from trace minerals like zinc manganese, strontium, aluminum, barium, silicon, sulfur, and molybdenum. It's believed that this salt promotes cell regeneration and moisture retention, helping to repair dry and irritated skin. In natural form, the darker the color, the denser the mineral composition of the salt. Pink salt contains substantially more potassium but lower levels of sodium compared to the white table salt which is why some people opt to use Pink Himalayan salt in cooking. 

Epsom Salts

Epsom salt is technically not even a "salt" as it contains no sodium chloride. It's a mineral found in water containing magnesium and sulfate at high levels and is crystallized like sea salt. Like sea salts, Epsom salt is anti-inflammatory and is sometimes be used to treat cold and flu symptoms or relieve sore muscles and itchy skin. Epsom salt contain only naturally occurring minerals of magnesium, sulfate and oxygen. They have a resilient structure so they are easily stored in your bathroom cabinet.

Salt Baths and Island Thyme Soap Company Coconut Milk Soap

True soap doesn't lather well with hard water because chemically it's binds with the metal ions in the water.  Adding salts to your bath will soften the water, creating an even more heavenly scented lather produced by one of our bars of coconut milk soap. Your skin will feel softer and more slippery for a longer time as you rinse even though the soap is actually rinsing off faster, because the soap remains soluble. 

Shop for Bath Salts.

Heavenly Sleep

A drop in body temperature at night is one of the classic signals for the body to start producing melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep. Our bodies get colder at night naturally: apparently the temperature dip starts two hours before bed and lasts till about 4 a.m. Kick-starting that downward shift by heating yourself up artificially is an old trick to get yourself to feel sleepy.

For the health of your mind, body and soul, take some time to heal yourself every now and then, slow down, a take a nice warm bath. 

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