Baths are an ideal self care practice. They easily allow us to take charge of our own healing. Bathing has a long, multicultural history of- cleaning, purifying, discharging, rejuvenating, sanctifying, restoring, connecting , stimulating, cooling, heating, celebrating, replacing, nullifying, resolving, clarifying, repairing, blessing, balancing, transforming, regulating and proving communion with various forces.
Foot-warms, eases soreness or moves stagnant energy that can lead to pain and water retention. A great choice in the winter if you have poor circulation (bay, clove, cardamon). Very soothing if you are on your feet all day (mint, basil, lavender, calendula). Directions-Self macerate whole fresh herbs in a large bowl. Add several cups of boiling water mix in lukewarm water until you have the desired temperature. Test before submersion to avoid burns. Remove and compost plant material when done.
Sitz-heals, tones and soothes tissues. Treats infection, inflammation, irritation and disease. Directions-similar to a foot bath. You can rest the bowl on the lip of a toilet, sit in the bowl to submerge your bottom, or do a half bath in the top. Make sure to keep any parts not getting wet covered and warm.
Immersion-is used to simulate death and rebirth. Done in oceans, rivers or lakes so that the entire body can be plunged beneath the surface, floated, surrounded, or covered with water. Often very cold to open pores and shock the system.
Soaks in hot springs, mineral/salt water for therapeutic purposes. Usually very hot.
Oatmeal for itchy skin
Sea salt to open pores
Epsom salt for water retention
Vinegar for fugal and bacterial infections
Ginger powder for aches due to the flu
Fresh herbs. If you have skin issues try calendula or hyssop. For Insomnia/fear try lemon balm or lavender. Children enjoy rose or chamomile. To ease congestion in the lungs try peppermint or thyme. Rosemary or sage will increase your energy. Red raspberry leaves to tighten the tissues.
Medicinal-to relieve symtoms
Physical-to stimulate, detox, relax
If plant material is left in direct contact with white grout, porcelain, or ceramics it can stain. I prefer to make a good amount of strong tea to add or steep a sock/muslin bag of herbs in the water. This also prevents the need to clean up the tub, prevent herbs from going down the drain, remove bits from your body afterwards.
Avoid drafts and chilling after your bath. Wrapping yourself in a robe or blankets can induce sweating which also has a therapeutic benefit. Follow up with a cup of hot tea or warm milk for a night of restful sleep.
While bathing you should imagine that the water heals, releases, and carries anything unwanted away (fear, anger, grief, trauma, pain, exhaustion, stress, confusion, toxins).
What is your favorite ingredient to add to the bath? Please share this post so that other women can benefit from this knowledge during these difficult times.