Thursday, October 8, 2015

Detox or Purification: My Experience with Healing Baths for When We are Ill

Detox: the removal of toxic substances from a living organism.

Purification: to clean of foreign elements or pollution.

Imagine a long soak in warm, soothing water; the aroma of ginger and clove paired with lemon and mint tickle every breath. Your scalp tingles a bit and your skin drinks up every mineral as muscles relax all the way to the bone. Sigh. A sip of herbal tea warms you deep inside as you smile in gentle peace.
That is a healing, restorative bath- and they are delicious!

The purpose of such bathing is to draw out what has slowed our body; elements from the environment, preservatives from a meal, or illness from the body. Many believe it helps with metal overload or environmental chemical absorption. Overall, the healing bath is meant not only to remove, but to restore as well; rich minerals, vitamins, herbal plant properties, and deep hydration.

What are they used for:
hydration, restoration, aide in detox, relieve migraines or tension headaches, allergies, PCOS or female stagnation, digestion, and stress

How are they used:
warm water as you tolerate, soak 20-45 minutes or until the water cools, sip tea or water to keep internal hydration, dark or dim atmosphere

When are the used:
as needed or up to three times a week (more often is generally only recommended during times of extreme malady)

My study into healing baths spurred from my migraines- I knew a steamy shower or relaxing bath seemed to really help ease the symptoms. I also knew from my herbal studies that many herbs and oils gave relief. The search to put them together led me to page after page of 'detoxifying baths', purification bathing, and herbal steeping. I admit some of it seemed rather far out there, but there was a common practicality to them. Draw out and soak in. The experimentation began.
The first 'recipe' I tried was simple: magnesium salts, sodium bicarbonate, with thieves oil in the warmest water I could tolerate 20 minutes. Pure joy! It relieved my symptoms and offered a refreshing feeling (relaxed and restful). I tried the bath several times after that, not only when I was facing a migraine, but also when I was worn down, exposed to stress or illness, traveling, and even when I had just 'gotten off track'.

Not being one to settle, I dug deeper into the study of healing baths to find there are a plethora of bath recipes and methods: vinegars, minerals, clays, herbals, essential oils and even some with tea. What works for what symptom varies as much as the herbalists and practitioners who write them. It can be a bit confusing. As an herbalist studying holistic nutrition and healing, I like to cater my bath elements to the need or symptom: thieves blends for illness; kava or chamomile for relaxation; and a steeped vinegar bath for when my body seems out of balance. Unless you are under the consultation of a practitioner or you are a studying herbalist yourself, the basic recipe is most likely best.

The most basic recipe I have found:
2 handfuls of magnesium salts or flakes
1 handful sodium bicarbonate
warm water
20-45 minutes
dim lighting with a mild tea such as mint or kava, or simply water

essential oils
herbal vinegars
herbs steeped in your bath (I do bag mine as I dislike cleaning the tub afterward)
bentonite clay

Notes from my journal:
often my body sweats a bit after the bath, so give yourself time to rest and dress lightly (about 30 minutes or and hour)
it is not to apply lotions to the skin as your pores are very open
eating afterward may upset your stomach (remember- detoxing)

This week ragweed bloomed in my area- not at all pleasant for me. An herbal bath, some herbal tea, and plenty of restful reading are on the agenda!
Wishing you wellness during this allergy season:)

I am not a medical doctor. This information is for educational purposes only. 

No comments: