It’s November and that feeling of the end of year busyness has started to set in. Shopping lists, cooking, catch ups with friends and family, end of year festivities for work and school. There can be a lot of pressure on people at this time of year and it’s easy to overlook the importance of looking after ourselves, so I decided to write this blog about taking some much needed “time out pillow” or in this case, time out bath!
Have you experienced the therapeutic benefit of a long soak in the bath, or that feeling of complete relaxation after a swim in the sea or ocean?
There’s definitely something about water and indeed a bath. I’m sensing this is because humans are deeply connected to water. When you think about it, the first nine months or so of our life is spent in a cosy watery environment, our bodies are composed of around 80% water and planet earth is approximately 70% water. Water sustains, refreshes, nurtures and keep us alive.
The daily ritual of bathtime is something that is so important for babies and children. This special time of day helps little people to relax and ready themselves for bedtime and sleep. As adults perhaps we need to re-establish some of this important night time ritual. A bath before bed is a far more relaxing end to the day than relentlessly checking in on social media! A daily bath is probably a bit much to ask (and it’s good to keep water conservation in mind), so other night time rituals may include switching off all devices at least an hour before bed, reading an actual book with actual pages, sipping herbal tea and listening to relaxing music.
Before I present you with a special bath recipe, let’s go on a brief historical tour of bathing.
Water therapy (hydrotherapy) played a major part in traditional naturopathic treatment. In nineteenth century Europe there was a resurgence in the use of hydrotherapy, partly because the treatments could occur in the home and were relatively cheap. Sebastian Kneipp was a Bavarian priest and one of the forefathers of naturopathic medicine. Kneipp treated villagers free of charge with hydrotherapy, herbal medicines, exercise and dietary therapies.
Interestingly the earliest form of bathing can be traced back to prehistoric times where people bathed in rivers, lakes and the sea. Eventually as societies formed public bath houses came into being. The Romans are famous for their love of bathing, and a fine example of this is the beautiful city of Bath in England. In Bath and many other places in Europe, Roman bathhouses were the hub of the city and were highly organised buildings which often had many bathing areas ranging from hot to cold temperatures, as well as massage rooms, exercise areas and places to eat delicious food and drink wine. Sounds delightful! Bathing also played an equally important role in many other places such as Japan, Scandinavia and Turkey and is still a very popular part of the culture of these regions today.
Now that I have enlightened you with some bathing history, I am going to share a special bath recipe.
I can vouch for the deeply relaxing effect that the following recipe instills. And if you have your own bath recipe I’d love to hear your ideas at the bottom of the post.
The Herbaceous Heavenly bath recipe:
- Epsom salts – the more the merrier! (I tend to use 2 cups per bath) Epsom salts are comprised of magnesium sulfate which has a profoundly relaxing effect on muscles and nerves.
- A generous amount of Weleda Lavendar or Rose Bath Milk or Calendula Cream Bath (smells heavenly and my skin feels amazing afterwards)
- Dried flower petals and herbs such as calendula, rose, lavender, lemon balm or chamomile
- Optional extras: book, music, herbal tea (or a weekend bath may include a glass of red wine)
- choose your bath time wisely. Before bed is an ideal time so you can finish your bath and go straight to bed. Heavenly!
- turn off distractions such as your mobile phone or i-pad. The bath is your way of having a well deserved break from the outside world and this includes technology
- light the candle
- add epsom salts to the bath
- run a bath of warm water to your desired depth
- add bath milk whilst the water is filling
- add petals or herbs
- immerse yourself in the bath and take some deep, relaxing breaths
- soak for at least half an hour. At this stage of the soaking you may wish to assess your level of relaxation and if you’re not quite ready, then re-soak for as long as you like. Note signs and symptoms of a well bathed individual may include wrinkly fingers and a sense of being completely relaxed
- once you are well soaked and cooked (not literally, but remember this is a recipe!) extract yourself from the water, dry yourself and gently prepare for bedtime
- enjoy a deeply restorative slumber
Extra bath recipe ideas:
- Dry skin brushing is something I like to do once a week. It’s a traditional naturopathic way to say goodbye to tired old skin and stimulate both blood and lymphatic flow. Use a skin brush or dry loofah on dry skin before bathing. Gently brush in a circular motion at least once a week, then rinse off dead skin cells and enjoy your bath.
- If you or a family member are prone to dry skin or eczema, then I highly recommend adding oats to your bath. Add a good handful of oats to a muslin bag and tie the bag over the tap. Allow the water to run through the oat bag. This creates a beautiful oat “milk” bath.
This silly season is an ideal time to remove yourself from the busyness and have a long soak in the bath. You could even add your bath time to your calendar and make an appointment for yourself! You’ll be glad you did.
Enjoy a bath-filled month!
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