Surprising Benefits of Bathing

Apparently, the ancient Romans knew something we are just learning — bathing is about far more than simply cleaning behind your ears. A warm bath can be a great way to relax your muscles at the end of a stressful day.

A cool one might be just what you need to wake yourself up in the morning, or chill out in the middle of the scorching summer. But have you considered that bathing can be a great way to eliminate waste? Or calm down your anxious mind? Bathing can even teach your body to cope with stress before it occurs.

CLEANING INSIDE AND OUT

Okay, first, let’s look at cleaning. You know that a bath is a pleasant way to clean yourself off, but it’s also a great way to clean yourself out. A warm salt water bath every three or four days can help purge Toxins from within. “You are a water balloon,” says Thomas Stearns Lee, ND. Think way back to grade school science. In the process of osmosis, fluids on either side of a membrane pass through to adjust the Concentration of a solution, moving from a lower Concentration to a higher one. “You are filled with fluids containing salt, electrolytes and Minerals. And your skin is a membrane.”

A saltwater bath is a mini experiment in osmosis. The salt water against your semipermeable skin will draw out salt and take Toxins in your body with it in the process. You can use fancy bath salts or simply old fashioned Epsom salts for your bath. After soaking, rinse with fresh water.

Sitting waist-deep in water is also good for pregnant women. It takes stress off the muscles and organs that are continually under pressure from the weight of a baby. Pregnant women also experience hypersensitivity, emotional stress and information overload in part due to the hormones their bodies are producing and the hormones’ breakdown products.

“A neutral bath, in which the temperature of the water is the same as the air in the room will act as a distraction and calm the mind.” Caution: Pregnant women should be careful not to take a bath in water higher than 102 °F.

This can also be a great time to add some Essential Oils. “Aromatic oils impact hormones, and they have a physiological effect as well as a psychological one,” Dr Lee notes. Mary Muryn, author of the book Spa Magic (Perigee Trade), recommends five drops each of lavender and lemon Essential Oils for mental clarity and balance. She says that a few drops of sandalwood also nicely complement this recipe.

Note: Since aromatic oils impact hormones, it is best — especially for pregnant women — to use them under the guidance of a trained practitioner.

HYDROTHERAPY: THE POWER OF WARMTH AND COOL

There is another aspect to bathing that most Western cultures no longer practice. It is hydrotherapy, and it can be found in bathhouses around the globe.

Our bodies react strongly to temperature. Cold is good for reducing pain and stopping inflammation. Warmth is relaxing, but will increase inflammation. The experience of moving from hot to cold is refreshing.

Hydrotherapy uses extreme temperature changes to increase the body’s ability to adapt to stress and to help the body learn to accommodate change. It builds the Immune System, and trains the body to become more efficient at balancing fluids, acquiring nutrients and eliminating waste.

“It’s exercise for your body’s cells and systems,” says Dr. Lee, who works with methods of both alternative and mainstream medicine to treat degenerative diseases and cancer. “Hydrotherapy is like strength training. It should be done gradually. Over time, you will increase the duration and extremity of the temperature changes.”

Bathhouses — and some spas — that offer hydrotherapy have multiple tubs with different temperatures of water. At home, you may want to use the shower. When you are just starting off, begin with a lukewarm shower, and then switch to cool. This will enhance peripheral Circulation and stimulate the nerves.

Eventually, you can extend the water temperatures so that you are going from a hot shower to a cold one. Briskly dry yourself with a towel to warm up. “Ending a bath or shower with cool water closes your pores, reseals your skin and restores normal circulatory balance,” says Dr. Lee.

Dr. Lee’s other bath recommendations…

  • Carefully monitor your shower and bath temperatures to avoid scalding. Baths should be no hotter than 104 °F.
  • Use a natural coconut- or olive oil-based Soap in lieu of processed and synthetic Soaps and shampoos.
  • Finish each bath by moisturizing with a coconut oil product. Bathing dehydrates most adults.
  • Get a chlorine filter for your bath and shower. Chlorine and fluorine add to the effects of aging, and are bad for the Immune System. You can get a filter at most hardware stores.

Sources:

Surprising Benefits of Bathing

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