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Soaking in a hot bath isn’t just for taking off the winter chill anymore. The therapeutic benefits of bathing can help with everything from detoxing radiation exposure to staving off a flu, or simply calming your nerves for deep relaxation. Salts, herbs, and essential oils intensify the deep cleansing effects.
Your skin is a large and powerful detoxification organ. My mentor, Dr. Hazel Parcells, taught me that hot bath water draws toxins from deep within the body to the skin’s surface. As the bath water cools, the toxins are removed from the skin and eliminated into the water. The longer you soak, the more complete the detoxification process is for your body and your skin.
The two main types of baths I recommend are detox baths and aromatherapy baths. These formulas have evolved over many years of therapeutic use with my clients, and while they are safe and effective, you should consult your health care provider before using in cases of chronic illness, pregnancy, or with young children. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), baths are considered yin, and can leave people with a weaker constitution feeling drained, rather than rejuvenated.
When you help your body to expel the toxins that weaken, poison, and disrupt its functioning, you also enable it to renew itself and build resistance to future toxic invaders. The therapeutic baths in this section are adaptations of formulas taught to me by Dr. Parcells. She was a pioneer of alternative medicine who managed to overcome “terminal” tuberculosis in the 1930s, and went on to live another healthy, vibrant 50 years. She passed away at the age of 106, more active than many of her colleagues and friends who were half her age.
Do not mix any of these baths together, and do not exceed one bath per day. I have found that taking one of these baths shortly before going to bed is ideal for the optimum relaxation and detoxification, and coincides with when TCM recommends yin therapies like bathing.
For Jet Lag and Radiation. For air travel, excessive cell phone use, X-ray examinations, CT scan, mammogram, radiation therapy, or simply living within 100 miles of a nuclear plant.
For Food Poisoning or Irradiated Food. If you’re suffering from food-borne bacteria, like E. coli or salmonella, this bath may provide some relief. If you buy your food from a supermarket, chances are it’s been irradiated with Cobalt 60, a nuclear waste material, which helps protect against the bacteria that cause food poisoning. All kinds of foods are irradiated, from spices to fruits, vegetables, grains, and even meats.
To Build Immunity and Fend Off Viruses. This all-purpose detoxifying bath is especially good for when you feel like you may be coming down with something like a cold or the flu. It helps build immunity by raising your body’s acidity at the cellular level, which makes you less hospitable terrain for most bacteria and viruses to grow.
For Metal Poisoning or Carbon Monoxide Exposure. A mild (or not so mild) case of metal poisoning is not as uncommon as you may think. For example, the aluminum in cookware, antiperspirant, and antacids can accumulate in your body, as can the mercury leaching from your silver amalgam dental fillings. This bath is also good for removing the carbon monoxide you inhale while commuting in heavy traffic or living in a congested downtown area. It also works well for the remnants of pesticides that often contain heavy metal residues.
Aromatherapy bathing helps to open the pores of the skin and stimulate lymph flow while releasing toxins through perspiration, and the oils are absorbed through the skin and inhaled through your nose, which reaches the brain quickly to stimulate deep relaxation. Essential oils are distilled from flowers, leaves, and roots of wild or organically grown plants, and each has a different effect on your body and your health. Benefits include reduced water retention and fat deposits, reduced cortisol levels, reduced muscle soreness, and increased beneficial deep sleep.
It’s important to check the label when buying essential oils. The label should state that it has been gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS) analyzed to ensure safety and effectiveness. This is really the only way to know that they are high quality and do not include any petrochemicals, fractions of cheaper oils, synthetic fragrance, or other degrading chemicals.
I recommend adding ten drops of an essential oil to a hot bath and soaking for twenty minutes (at the end of the day). You can combine oils but do not use more than a total of ten drops. During winter, try using oils such as rose and lavender that will help reduce cravings and stress, or rosemary that can help reduce muscular aches, pains, and even arthritis. Other favorites of mine include:
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