As I discussed in our first blog , inflammation is the common thread to almost any chronic disease or nagging symptom. My goals for this blog series are to keep you healthy through reducing overall inflammation throughout your body. Setting your mind on positive change is step one for sure, and I hope you are already living more intentionally and mindful when it comes to your healthy choices. Step 2 is a rather new discovery I have made in the past year, but has quickly become one of my favorite ways to help you reduce stress, reduce toxins, and improve your overall health. No matter how healthy you try to live, in today's modern world, you are being exposed to toxins that promote inflammation every day through your water, your foods, the air you breath, and even the technology that you use. Therapeutic bathing is a wonderful way to help you decrease the effects of these exposures.
Did you know, your skin is the largest organ of your body and plays a huge role in protecting your body from harmful environmental toxins simply through its role as a barrier. However, your skin also can help with detoxifying through its role of absorption and excretion. Detox bathing is an easy, gentle way to help support your body's natural detox system through your skin. I first learned about therapeutic bathing from Dr. Hazel Parcel's book: Healer The Pioneer Nutritionist and Prophet who dates detox baths to ancient times. Her recipes are meant to help neutralize the effects of pollution on your body and are the basis for the formulas you will find at the end of this blog post. Keep reading to find out how you can elevate your relaxing bath time to a healing, anti-inflammatory experience!
How to take the Perfect Detox Bath:
I always start by neutralizing unfiltered bath water with 1 cup of baking soda
I then pick a bath agent and add this to my hot water- the hotter the water the more you sweat and the better you detox.*If you are new to detox bathing, start slow with the heat and amount of agent you use as increasing the heat and agent will intensify the detox
Set the mood with relaxing music and essential oils
Immerse as much of your body underwater as you are able, close your eyes, and take a few deep cleansing breaths, relax and enjoy for about 20-30 minutes *Pro-tip: be mindful about all of your stress and toxins leaving your body, think about things you are grateful for from your day
Get out of the tub carefully as it is very common to feel lightheaded after your detox
To maximize your detox effects dry off without rinsing *I usually do these baths before bed so that I can maximize the effects of detox- this is how Dr. Parcel's recommends you complete your bathing, however, if you prefer, or feel too lightheaded you can rinse off with cold water and moisturize with a non-toxic lotion or I moisturize with coconut oil (I'll explain more on the use of natural oils on your skin another day)
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate...drink plenty of water before and after any detox or cleansing activity to maximize the process
1. Epsom Salt- 1-2 cups in addition to the 1 c baking soda discussed above- Use this bath for magnesium and sulphate absorption both of which are hard to absorb through food. Also, this bath is used for soothing sore muscles, lowering blood pressure, promotes healthy circulation, and helps with overall relaxation and sleep.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar- 1-2 cups pure, unfiltered apple cider vinegar like Braggs added to 1 cup baking soda- This bath is great for joint pain, weight loss, improving body odor, and helps treat Candida infections. Don't be surprised if you sweat for up to an hour after this one. I try to focus on all the toxins leaving while I'm sweating but oofta this one almost feels like a work-out!
3. Baking Soda- 2-4 cups baking soda- This bath is naturally alkalizing and is good for boosting liver function, supporting digestion, and combating sore throats (including strep throat). When combined with sea salt, this bath is also great for combating exposure to environmental radiation such as from plane flights, x-rays, or security checks. I use the sea salt baking soda option after traveling to help reduce jet lag and fatigue.
4. Ginger- Add 1/2 cup graded ginger + 1 cup baking soda- Another extra sweat inducing bath, ginger baths help fight off illness and should be used at the first sign of a cold. Ginger baths are a great replacement for the sauna or steam room to help increase sweating and overall detoxification. After this bath, be sure to wear something you don't mind getting sweaty!
5. Bentonite Clay- Add 1/5 to 1 cup bentonite clay to hot water and baking soda breaking up the clumps. This bath works by magnetically pulling heavy metals, toxins, and wastes from the body. This bath also helps to lower the body's pH.
So often, we get caught up in how implementing healthy strategies can be so hard or expensive when in reality improving your health can be a fun and relaxing experience. Adding a weekly therapeutic bath to your regimen can help to make your healthy exercise and food choices more effective, improve sleep, reduce stress, and overall reduces your body's toxic burden. All of which will decrease inflammation and reduce your risk for disease. Happy bathing!
With Love- Aletha