The Art of the Bath

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Oozing into warmth, the quiver of contrast giving way to the rush of blissful release…ahhhh, the comfort of The Bath!  But more times than not when I am invited in to see someone’s newly remodeled bathroom, there sits center stage – framed in artisan tile work, punctuated with gleaming metal apparatus, flanked by artwork –  a gorgeous bath tub that the owner admits to having never used!  And through my own gifting of bath salts that sat unwrapped, I have come to realize that many people do not understand the benefits of The Bath.

My sister and I in our youth playing in the bath.

My sister and I in our youth playing in the bath.

Unlike the shower, the artful bath is not specifically about efficient cleaning; any kid will tell you that!  The bath soak is about renewing ones whole self, through detoxification, by limbering up arthritic joints or aching muscles, clearing sinuses, calming the mind and conditioning the skin.  Ten minutes in the tub can have the same effect as two Tylenol & a massage or an hour-long therapy session!  My daily ritual of a bath soak keeps my troublesome joints pain-free, warms me up to last all day long, keeps my sensitive body-skin free of rashes and helps keep my overly active mind peaceful.

DSC04155DSC04157I take a bath each morning to separate my very early morning ritual of reading, research and writing from my active work day.  That 10 minutes sets the mood of calm and balance for my day and is a treat that I look forward to; a reward, if you will, for the mind exercises.  For someone else it could be the reward for body exercises; that long run or time at the gym.  In the winter I will also take a bath at the end of the day using the warmth and the aromatherapy to induce a deep sleep.  The bath provides that mysterious “margin” in the day that helps us separate duty from the living life fully, that helps us release the compulsive to-do lists and helps percolate thoughts of creativity (I design some of my best stuff while in the tub).

aromatherapy2Any bath tub will do even if it is not luxurious but you want to make sure you can get your shoulders down in it.  Using blow-up vinyl bath pillows can help adjust your neck in a tub that is too straight in the back and in most tubs you should use a suction-cup plastic water-escape cover for the upper drain to allow the tub to fill up deeply (both available at any bed and bath store). I take a bath when I travel and have used some of the most pitiful tubs by rolling up extra towels under my neck and draping wash cloths over the escape drain.

The first step to taking a bath is to allow time for it.  Just like flossing your teeth or scheduling a hair cut, you need to put time aside for your whole body health.

How to take a bath:

  1. Start the water running at your desired temperature.   “Warm” is best.  Too hot will dissolve away too many of your skin’s natural protective oils and too cold will defeat the therapeutic purpose of the bath.
  2. Add salts: Under the running water add in any powders or salts.
  3. Add essential oils: Close the bath room door to trap in the heat/steam and the healthful positive ions produced by running water, and just before the tub is full, add in any aromatherapy plant essential “oils” under the running water.  The fragrance from these oils will release into the room providing a pleasurable and therapeutic fragrance to enhance your bath.  The oils in the water will also treat the skin and penetrate into your body for a therapeutic effect.
  4. Add bubbles: If you desire cleansing bubbles then add several pumps of a foaming wash that does NOT contain any sulfates, dyes or artificial fragrance all of which are bad for the skin and delicate body areas.  Dispense directly under the running water for the best effect.  Euchlora’s Purify Frothing Cleanser is perfect for this.
  5. Turn off water and swirl the tub around with a foot or hand to make sure all “oils” are dispersed.  Climb in and relax.  Wash where you need to but also catch up on your magazine reading, drink water, sip a cup of tea or simply just ponder.
  6. Get out and towel off briskly to remove dead skin cells and salt.  While still semi-damp apply a body lotion suited for your skin type avoiding artificial fragrance and dyes which are not good for the skin.  Euchlora’s customized Hand and Body Lotion is perfect.  Drink a glass of water to rehydrated after especially if you have detoxed.

RECIPES FOR THE PERFECT BATH:

The De-Stress bath:  Add 1/2 to 2 cups* cup epsom salt and 1 to 2 ml* of the following essential oil blend; a combination of grapefruit, geranium, a dab of clary sage or vetivert.

epsom-salt-grey-large

Grey epsom salt

The science: When you have been under a lot of stress your body produces free radical positive ions. The neutral ionic charge of the salt will help neutralize some of the stress ions and the high content of magnesium in epsom helps sooth muscle tension.  The oils react with the nervous system to calm it and induce euphoria.

The Detoxify bath:  Add 1/4 to 1 cup baking soda plus 1/4 to 1 cup* mineral laden salts such as Himilayan Pink Salt or Dead Sea Salt and 1 to 2 ml* of the following essential oil blend; a combination of juniper, lemon, sage, rosemary, pine or fir.

The science:  When you have over indulged in celebratory foods and beverages (sugars), the body becomes more acidic.  The higher pH of the baking soda helps to counter balance this while the extra salt content in the water draws the impurities out of your body through osmosis.  The oils work with the lymphatic system to draw toxins and kill bacteria in the body through their natural phenols.

Purply blue dead sea salts

Purply-blue dead sea salts

The Soothing bath: Add 1/4 to 1 cup* mineral laden salts such as Himilayan Pink Salt or Dead Sea Salt plus 1/2 to 1 cup* dried milk or dried yogurt solids and 1 to 2 ml* of the following essential oil blend; a combination of chamomile, neroli, petigrain, orange, lavender.

The science: The high mineral content on these kinds of salts treat skin irritations and the lactic acid in the dairy softens tissue.  Additionally, the probiotics in yogurt help balance the bacteria in the skin helping to treat fungal or yeast irritations.  Salt helps to tighten the skin as well.  The oils calm redness in the skin and react with the immune system to halt reactions.

Peachy pink himalayan salt

Peachy-pink himalayan salt

Next time you are in, let me gift you with a pre-blended yogurt bath-salt powder that I keep in stock during the winter months or let me create a blend of essential oils specifically for your skin type.   603-491-7305  jbalshaw@comcast.netbath-feet_2206587b

SOURCES:  Specialty salts can be purchased through The Salt Cellar in Portsmouth, NH or Portland, ME and some can be obtained through natural foods stores or on-line.

*Tub sizes vary and therefore so do the amount of additives.  Use the lesser amount listed for standard sized tubs up to the larger amounts for full sized jet tubs.

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