Therapeutic Baths Effects on Your Body
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Therapeutic Baths Effects on Your Body

Therapeutic Baths Effects on your Body

From ancient times, in cultures all around the world, baths have been used to treat everything from kidney stones to snake bites. Now we have more reliable means of treating serious ailments but, for a host minor discomforts, such as itchy skin, sore muscles, aching joints , insomnia and anxiety, it's hard to beat a relaxing soak with healing substances added.

The warm water of a relaxing bath subtly massages tired muscles and stimulates blood circulation, speeding up delivery of healing nutrients to the tissues while healing to remove lactic acid and other waste products that contribute to soreness. A hot batch can even help you to burn a few extra kilojoules by temporarily boosting your metabolism a little. Avoid prolonged soaks in very hot baths, though- while the heat may feel good, it can promote inflammation.

A technique that has been practiced around the world for centuries is contrast between hot and cold water causes blood vessels to alternately dilate and constrict. This translates into a sort of pumping action that increases blood circulation and is said to reduce congestion and inflammation, enhance digestion and stimulate the activity of organs. Natural healers believe that it also boosts immune function. To try this at home, you need a large basic to act as the second bath, or simply sit in a warm bath and use a hand held shower nozzle to douse yourself now and then with cold water. Always start with hot water and finish with cold.

Relieve itching

If itching is your problem, a bath-with certain ingredients added- may be just what the doctor ordered. Here are some tried and true soothers to add to your bathwater. 

  • Bicarbonate of soda: Bicarb is an excellent remedy for itchy skin, as you may already know. If your child has chickenpox, add 1/ 2 cup bicarb to a shallow bath or 1 full cup to a deep bath to soothe aching.
  • Herbal help: Since ancient times, fresh and dried herbs have been added to bathwater to provide healing benefits for mind and body. A luxurious blend of camomile and rose petals soothes dry skin. Use 3 tablespoons of each, placed in the center of a double-folded square muslin, tie securely and toss into the bath. Squeeze the wet bag to release the fragrant oils into the water.
  • Oatmeal: For relief from skin rashes or itchy sunburn, run a lukewarm bath and add a few tablespoons of colloidal oatmeal, such as Aveeno, sold in pharmacies. If you don't have colloidal oatmeal to hand, simply tip a cupful of plain porridge oats in an old nylon stocking, tie the top and float it in the bathwater while you soak. Oatmeal makes the bath very slippery, so be extra careful when getting out of the bath.
  • Vinegar: Plain old vinegar is another substance than can tame itching. It works by acidifying the skin. To relieve itchy sunburn or psoriasis, have a cool bath to which you have added about 2 cups of vinegar before getting in. 

Aches and Sprains

For minor sprains, a bath with Epsom salts added can bring rapid relief. The salts draw fluid out of the body and help to shrink swollen tissues. Add 2 cups to a warm bath and soak. An Epsom-salt bath also draws out lactic acid, the build-up of which contribute to muscles aches. After a vigorous exercise session, add 1 or 2 cups of salts to a hot bath and enjoy a relaxing soak.

Adding essential oils

A wonderful way to enhance the medicinal value of a bath is to add essential oils, which are available from pharmacies and health food shops. Each has its own healing profile. After a long, hard day, a few drops of pine oil added to the water can be wonderfully invigorating. Eucalyptus oil promotes alertness and breaks up congestion, geranium oil reduces anxiety, lavender fights depression and rosemary is said to stimulate memory. Essential oil combinations can also be beneficial.

If prone to allergies, test your reaction to essential oil befor using them. Dab a little of the diluted oil on the inside of your arm. If you don't have a reaction within 12 hours, it's safe to add it to your bath.

  • Arthritis treatment bath: Try combining 4 drops of juniper oil and 2 drops each of lavender oil, cypress oil and rosemary oil, along with 1/2 cup of Epsom salts. For a simpler bath, use 3 drops of lavender oil and 3 drops of cypress oil.
  • Soothing sleep soak: Use 2-4 tablespoons of sea salt, 4 drops pf lavender oil, 3 drops marjoram oil and 3 drops of lemon oil. Other oils that help to promote sleep include limetree flower, Roman camomile, frankincense, neroli and rose.


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Comments (4)

The fact that you brought up the relief of itching made me recall a time when I had a skin condition that subjected me to extreme rashes from time to time. The itching was so bad that I would rub the area so hard and so furiously that water blister would develop under the skin. The itching was a real nuisance until a specialist told me to run water, as hot as I could stand it,over my hands and/or feet. It worked. The hot water drew the itching out and I would be itch free for the next three or four hours before I had to repeat the treatment.

Water theapy is so soothing and your article is filled with valuable information well presented. Thank you. Tweeted.

sounds great

Celia Lindell

Lavender oil truely is a magical natural remedy. See here for more detials on it