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Functional Nutrition Blog

Health Benefits of Bathing

Posted by Daniel Sanelli, M.Sc. on Apr 9, 2015 8:00:00 AM

The Science of Bathing

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Water is commonly employed to affect the human body using hot baths to relax muscles or ice packs to reduce swelling. In holistic medicine, water is also used as a healing modality to restore proper blood flow and ultimately restore the health of the blood and the whole person. Water is a miraculous substance because it can carry great amounts of energy and heat. It conducts heat to and from a living system and can conform itself to any shape. The use of water to restore health is commonly referred to as hydrotherapy.

Hydrotherapy can be performed in many ways, but essentially it causes tissues to relax (heat) and then contract (cold), thereby moving stagnated blood and immune components, releasing toxins, easing stress, and flooding tissues with nutrients. There are many other types of hydrotherapy, such as alternating heat and cold packs, alternating hot and cold soaks on specific parts of the body, poultices, compresses, and constitutional hydrotherapy (typically done by doctor or trained staff). One powerful form of hydrotherapy you can do at home is bathing.

Bathing is an ancient human tradition and has been used to restore and maintain health in many cultures around the world. The key to getting the most healing effect of a bath is to make sure to use a cool/cold rinse afterward. What can you add to boost the healing effects of bathing? Try adding minerals with Epsom, Himalayan, or sea salt and/or essential oils such as peppermint or lavender.  You can even add in colloidal oatmeal to soothe and nourish the skin.

Try This at Home

Fill your tub as full as you can with water at 93-96­°F, add your favorite salts or herbs, and soak for 15-20 minutes. Lightly scrub the skin with a face cloth while soaking to increase circulation of the blood to the skin surface. At the end, stand and rinse with cold water, either poured from a pitcher or from the shower.

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Resources

  • Boyle, W., and A. Saine. Lectures in Naturopathic Hydrotherapy. East Palestine, Ohio: Buckeye Naturopathic Press: 1988.
  • Metcalfe, R. Sanitas Sanitatum et Omnia Sanitas. Vol. 1. London: Co-operative Printing Company: 1877.
  • Rausse, J. H., and C. H. Meeker. The Water-Cure, Applied to Every Known Disease with an Appendix, Containing a Water Diet and Rules for Bathing. New York: Fowlers and Wells: 1850.

Topics: cardiovascular health, musculoskeletal health, lifestyle

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