After a long, hard day at work or taking care of family and chores, sometimes all you want to do is shut the bathroom door and draw a long, hot bath. The calming effect a bath can have on your nerves (and nervous system) is practically a given. Remember those Calgon commercials way back in the 70s (“Calgon take me away!”)? Well, you don’t have to rely on potentially toxic commercial bubble bath solutions to give you relief. In fact, if done properly, an essential oil bath can be a legitimate healing and energizing experience… as well as a deliciously relaxing one.
Why Taking a Hot Bath is Good for Your Health
Hot baths are beneficial mostly because of what we know about the health benefits of hyperthermia. Human beings, when they are in a healthy state, usually maintain a fairly constant temperature of approximately 98.6 degrees F (37 degrees C). Many individuals with certain chronic health conditions such as hypothyroidism or cancer may have a basal body temperature that is lower than this. Even a chronically lower body temperature of a half a degree below normal can potentially lower immune function by 20%.
For individuals with chronic diseases such as these, regular soaks not only relax stress responses to promote healing, but can also lead to improved immune function and regulation of pH levels through exposure to high heat as well.
Research has shown that high temperatures even have the ability to shrink cancer tumors. A study conducted at the Charite Medical School in Berlin, Germany, found that hyperthermia damaged cancer cell proteins, which led to tumor shrinkage. This makes sense since many disease conditions, including cancer, thrive in acidic, low pH environment. As temperature rises, pH levels in the body rise as well.
It seems as if ancient healers knew all along about the benefits of raising body temp for healing. “Give me a chance to create a fever and I will cure any disease,” said the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Parmenides around the year 500 BC. And in the ancient Indian healing art of Ayurveda, a morning bath is said to be a good daily practice, or dinacharya.
5 Steps to an Amazing Bath Experience
#1: Make sure your water is clean and filtered.
You’ll likely need to enact this step ahead of time and invest some cash as well, but this step should be considered a necessity − especially if you are in an area where fluoride is purposely added to the municipal water supply. Note: You can check whether your city or town has fluoridated water by going to the My Water’s Fluoride website maintained by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Even if your community does not fluoridate the water, other contaminants may be present in the tap water you will be soaking in if you don’t have a proper filter. These additives can include chlorine, lead, iron, copper, and hydrogen sulfide as well as a cocktail of drug residue such as opiates, birth control pills, pesticides from agricultural irrigation, and other pharmaceutical drugs.
If you use well water, be sure to have your water tested periodically to ensure your water is as pure as you think it is. Arsenic is a naturally occurring toxin that is common in groundwater (and hence well water). Back in 2000, the U.S. Geological Survey found that 10 percent of groundwater samples across US exceeded the EPA’s regulatory limit. According to the World Health Organization, long-term exposure to arsenic can cause “cause cancer and skin lesions. It has also been associated with developmental effects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and diabetes.”
#2: Choose the right essential oils and mineral additives for your bath experience.
Decide beforehand what kind of essential oil bath experience you want to have. Do you just want to relax? Then lavender oil or geranium rose can be your go-to oils. Need to invigorate for a night on the town? Try a little peppermint, spearmint, or citrus oils like grapefruit or orange to give you energy and increase vitality. Adding a little frankincense essential oil or Magi-Complex to a bath can invigorate and balance the senses, boost the immune system, and lead to a general sense of peace and well-being.
For sore, achy muscles, a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the bathwater can help soothe and relax. And if you’re plagued with itchy skin from bug bites or a fungal skin condition, you may find a few drops of tea tree oil in your bath provides some welcome relief. Note: you’ll likely want to use cooler water for the itchy skin as well.
Play around and try different combinations of essential oils in your bathwater to find the ones you like most. There’s no right or wrong combination. Just remember that a little goes a long way with quality essential oils and to be cautious as they may make your tub more slick than usual.
What about detoxing? On an average day, a typical human will come into contact with 700,000 and 2.1 million different kinds of toxic chemicals! A 2012 study conducted by the University of California, Davis found that the average person is also exposed to toxins such as arsenic and dioxin; 100% of the children tested in the study had levels of these chemicals in their system that exceeded cancer risk benchmarks.
Taking a detoxing mineral bath two or three days per week, in addition to other detoxification actions, will do a lot to keep your system clean and toxin-free. You can easily do this by adding some Epsom salts or Himalayan pink salt (which contains over 80 minerals and trace minerals) to your essential oil bathwater. An easy rule of thumb is to use 1/2 cup of salt for every 50 pounds of body weight.
According to Dr. Eric Zielinski, the best essential oils that can aid in detoxing include citral-containing oils (lemon myrtle, lemongrass, lemon teatree, May Chang), lemon, rosemary, clove, valerian root, mint, Nees & Mart., and myrrh essential oils.
#3: Create the right environment.
Environment is everything, especially when it comes to getting the most out of your relaxing bath experience. Use your bath time as a chance to thoroughly nurture yourself. Light some candles (non-toxic ones such as soy or beeswax). Play your favorite music. Place a tray of goodies − figs, quality dark chocolate, a glass of water with mint or cucumber, for example — by the side of the tub. Lock the door and take a deep breath as you slide into the warm water of your bath for total relaxation. Most importantly, be present in the experience.
Here’s some other fun tips you may enjoy: If your bathroom is due for a decorating upgrade, consider putting elements of nature such as shells, crystals, or interesting rocks along the outside of the tub. You can also invest in a shower curtain that will add a fun fabric-derived decorative element to your bath area. Research has proven that what we take in through our sense (taste, sight, feel, taste, hearing, and olfactory) can affect our moods. Depression is often defined as a dulling of the senses. Use your bath time to liven your senses in a relaxed way, and fight depression at the same time.
#4: “Tune out” the world… and tune in to healing!
Finally, make your bath time “sacred time” reserved just for you. Turn off your cellphone, computer, and all electronic gadgets that may beep and buzz for your attention. Note: if you are using your cellphone for music, you can put it on “airplane mode” and still access the music you have on your phone’s internal drive. Let others in your household know that you will be “unavailable” for a half hour to an hour or so and take care of all your chores (like letting the dog out) beforehand so that you can completely unplug and enjoy.
#5: Take Your Bath a Step Further for Healing
You can take your bath experience to the next level if healing is your ultimate goal. The relaxation sensation in itself can lead to healing through the lowering of cortisol levels, and the body temperature-raising effect (as mentioned above) will add to this as well.
In addition, consider doing a “total-immersion” bath. Simply fill your bathtub as high as it will go with warm to semi-hot filtered water (up to about 104 F). Completely submerse yourself in the water for 20-30 minutes. At the same time, scrub your body with a loofa or brush; this will stimulate a detox effect through the pores and will also remove dead skin.
After the bath, wrap yourself (including your head) in a large towel or blanket. Lay down to rest for about ten minutes. The warmth will stay in your skin longer and the sweating that will inevitably occur can add to your overall detox. Before and after your immersion bath, make sure you drink plenty of clean filtered water.
Stress has been connected to too many ailments to name. Taking a relaxing bath immediately calms stress responses, promoting rest, conserving energy, and balancing all systems of the body. Adding key essential oils as well as mineral salts as discussed above can turn an already relaxing bathing experience into a truly healing one.
Purity and quality counts when it comes to essential oils. Every time you use an essential oil you are creating a direct pathway to transmit every ingredient in that oil into your body.
Essential oils available from Epigenetic Labs are among the highest quality essential oils available to consumers. They are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources.
- Low Body Temperature Symptoms and Causes – And How to Treat It
- Chapter 3 – Heat the Body with Thermotherapy
- The Cellular and Molecular Basis of Hyperthermia.
- Cancer and Non-cancer Health Effects from Food Contaminant Exposures for Children and Adults in California: A Risk Assessment.
- My Water’s Fluoride
- High Rates of Bladder Cancer Linked to Arsenic in Drinking Water
- World Health Organization: Arsenic Fact Sheet
- 5 Senses and Depression
- Sweat Glands Play Major Role in Healing Human Wounds, U-M Research Shows
- Water Pollution Caused by Birth Control Poses Dilemma
- Effectiveness of Silexan Oral Lavender Essential Oil Compared to Inhaled Lavender Essential Oil Aromatherapy on Sleep in Adults: A Systematic Review Protocol.
- 11 of the Best Essential Oils for Detox
- The Value of the Hot-Water Immersion Bath in the Treatment of Threatening Puerperal Eclampsia