Ritual baths can be used as therapy and to cleanse your energy
A leisurely bath relaxes tense muscles, irons out a creased brow, opens clogged pores, restores moisture to the tissues and in Vedic tradition, bathing is revered as a deeply healing and sacred self-care practice.
Bathing in the ancient world
>Bathing has always been accorded the status of a sacred activity in Indian life. During their explorations of ancient India’s Indus Valley Civilisation in Mohenjo-Daro, archaeologists unearthed a large pool-like structure with steps leading down at both ends. This is believed to have been a public bath. In addition, homes in this surprisingly advanced civilisation had their own private baths and an elaborate drainage system.
Not just India, but several other world cultures have treated the bath as a healing activity. In ancient Greece, water was regarded as a gift of health from the gods themselves. In Rome, ruins of hot and cold sunken baths can still be seen at Pompeii. Napoleon’s wife Josephine Bonaparte’s bathtub is said to retain its musk perfume, more than 150 years after it was built.
Bathing as therapy
As the world discovered the comfort and pleasure a bath could bring, new ways were found to make it a healing experience. Ancient ayurvedic texts speak of therapeutic baths featuring rose petals, milk, honey, and turmeric. Preceded by a luxurious full-body warm oil massage and followed by the application of rich sandalwood paste and floral waters on the skin, the ayurvedic bath was designed to restore balance to mind, body and spirit.
A monthly salt water bath is an easy and very relaxing way to cleanse your aura of negative energy.
We’ve mentioned other methods before, so why a bath? It’s because it’s a great ritual to tie in body and spirit. When you immerse yourself in a ritual bath, you are participating in an initiation to open yourself up to spirit. Ritual bathing cleanses you from physical grime and negative spiritual grime, thus purifying both your body and your aura. It is a signal that you are willing to listen to your Higher Self and begin to trust something outside of your rational mind. It indicates that you are open to ask the universe to transform what you believe needs to be changed in yourself.
Taking a ritual bath is meant to cleanse and protect a person spiritually, thus making it different than a normal bath you might do every day. There are very specific directions to follow in order to maximise the effect. Among these instructions is not using any soap, shampoo, or bath oil, as once you step into the water, you are entering a spiritual experience, so it’s important to distinguish regular bathing from ritual bathing.
Though they are different, ritual bathing can have great effects on your physical wellbeing, as well.
Why add salt to your ritual bath?
The skin is an organ of elimination, and a salt water soak will draw toxins and heavy metals from the tissues.
The essential trace minerals your body needs are absorbed through the skin to enhance your health
Skin conditions can be aided, as bacteria and other debris are also drawn from the skin, leaving it feeling fresh and rejuvenated
Salt water baths can help to relieve muscular aches and pains as well as sore joints
Circulation is increased, which your body can always use
It’s recommended to try a ritual bath on a Friday close to a full moon for best results.
PLANT/HERB BENEFITS IN YOUR RITUAL BATH
LAVENDER – Lavender oil provides spiritual healing. The gentleness of lavender encourages compassion while helping to soothe deep sadness. Lavender conjures feelings of balance and emotional wellbeing. It allows for you to remain calm during times of stress and aids sleep.
CHERRY BLOSSOM – The aroma of cherry blossoms brings joy, prosperity, success and self love. It attracts and strengthens love and acts as a grounding and stabilising element.
CINNAMON – Cinnamon helps nourish the kidneys and can increase sexual energy and enhances fertility. It also brings personal protection, success, wealth and strength.
SAGE – Sage is a powerful herb used for purification and energy clearing. Sage is wonderful to relieve digestive problems. It is also used for reducing overproduction of perspiration and for depression, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease. It also helps enhance your intuition.
ROSEHIP – Associated with the planet Venus and the element of water, rosehips are a wonderful botanical to use for love and peace. Rosehip also helps to bring balance to disharmony or upheaval. Rosehip helps prevent and treat colds, flu, and is packed full of vitamin C. Known as “nature’s anti-aging miracle,” it’s full of vitamins (vitamin E, vitamin C and B-carotene, a form of vitamin A), antioxidants and essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6 and 9). The secret youth sauce, which is harvested from the seeds of rose bushes (usually from the Rosa moschata or Rosa rubiginosa species), is said to correct dark circles, even skin tone, heal sun damage, smooth wrinkles and spots, quench dry skin and reduce scars and fine lines.
JASMINE TEA – It’s calming and sensuous properties affect the mind, stirring sensuality and opening our eyes up to the divine beauty all around. The health benefits of jasmine tea include a reduced risk of heart attack, stronger immune system, and prevention of diabetes. It prevents cancer, improves the digestive process, and lowers cholesterol levels. It has also been found to eliminate harmful bacteria and ease chronic inflammation.
TULSI – Also known as holy basil, it restores balance and harmony in the mind, body, and spirit. Tulsi is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune system modulator, as well as a promising treatment for conditions ranging from liver disease to arthritis, to diabetes and cancer. It is known to calm the nervous system, awakens clarity of the mind, enhances the intellect and memory, balances emotions, opens the heart energy, increases immunity, heals adrenals and many more benefits.
ROSE – rose enhances love and beauty it also has a connection with mystery, secrecy, and the revelation of your truth. Rose resembles a doorway, as if to express it as a portal to information and deeper knowledge. It has the ability to ease menstrual pains, prevent chronic disease, boost the immune system, speed healing, improve digestion, detoxify the body, relieve respiratory infections, stimulate mood and regulate your sleep cycle.
CRYSANTHEMUM – Spiritual protection, particularly of the metaphysical sort, chrysanthemums come in handy when working with the spirit world. It helps to detoxify the blood, regulate blood pressure and calm the nerves. It has antibacterial properties. The traditional Chinese have used the tea to treat influenza, fevers, inflammations and even heatstroke due to its cooling effect.
LIME LEAVES – It fights fatigue and stimulates alertness due to its energising effect on the circulation. It strengthens spiritual warriors and empowers you to live a life of truth.
- Show up for your beauty bath ritual at the appointed time. Make sure you have at least thirty minutes to dedicate to the practice so you won’t feel rushed and that you have some space to yourself so you can do it in private.
- Fill the bath with warm water to suit, light some candles, put on calming music.
- Add 2-3 spoons of herb tea/salts to your bath tea bag and place it in the bath. You can add more Himalayan salt or Epsom salt to your bath too.
- Set your intention to cleanse, purify and release any negative energy in and around your body.
- Now, take a moment to transition from all the other activities you did today to your ritual. First, shake out your body to release any stress or tension that you’re holding on to. When you’re ready, sit still and take a few deep breaths. Dim the lights if you like or close your eyes, consciously slowing down your thoughts as you begin to focus one hundred percent on the task at hand.
- As you breathe, don’t worry about forcing yourself to erase your negative thoughts. It’s natural for those to pop up again and again, and consciously trying to get rid of them is counterproductive because it gives them too much power. Instead, allow yourself to become aware of your thoughts and to watch them pass by like clouds. Some of those clouds will be white and fluffy. Others will be dark rain clouds. Don’t judge them or yourself either way. Your thoughts are not who you are. Just let yourself enjoy watching the parade of clouds go by.
- As you step into the beauty bath, focus on all of your senses. What does the water feel like on your skin? What does your foot look like when it is submerged? Pay attention. What do you hear? How does the rose oil smell? What does it remind you of? Now slip all the way into the bath, immersing yourself up to your neck. Close your eyes and lie still in the water, breathing in the rose oil and remaining aware of your body. What thoughts are coming up for you now? Don’t fixate on them, just be present and observe. Try to relax all of the muscles in your body, especially your facial muscles and your jaw. Release any tension you’re holding on to. It’s not serving you right now.
- Continue to focus on your breath as you bring awareness to every part of your body. Starting with your toes and working your way up to your neck, consciously feel the water embracing you one body part at a time. If you practice yoga, this may remind you of the final relaxation pose, or Shavasana, while the bathwater and rose oil add a lovely sensual element to this sacred tradition. Continue to let your thoughts pass by unjudged as you feel yourself letting go and melting deeper and deeper into the water.
- Do this for at least 20 minutes
- After bringing awareness to every part of your body, it’s time to begin your visualisation. With love and compassion in your heart, think of all the ways you criticise your body and all the parts of you that you fear aren’t enough. In great detail, imagine every one of those imperfections being washed away by the water.
- Really work to see it in your mind’s eye. If you think you’re too fat, picture every ounce of that fat being stripped away from you as if it’s dirt on your skin. If you think your thighs are too big or your ass is too flat, see them coming off of you. Don’t stop until you’ve imagined every part of you that you feel insecure about coming off and rinsing right down the drain.
- Now open your eyes. Take a loofah or another exfoliator and very slowly go over every part of your body, one at a time. As you go over each body part, imagine yourself gently and compassionately wiping away any negative thoughts you have about it. Start with your right foot and work your way up to your neck, skipping nothing. If you think your toes are ugly, wipe that thought away. If you believe your thighs are too big, wipe that thought away. If your belly is flabby or scarred, wipe it away. If your breasts are too big, too small, or too droopy, wipe those thoughts away. You have the power to cleanse yourself of every last negative thought and feeling about your body. Take your time with this. There’s nowhere else you have to be.
- When you’ve gone over every single part of your body, put the loofah down and take a few moments to gently wipe your hands over your face. Start at your chin and caress your face with your fingers and then your palms. Now stroke your hair, brushing it away from your face. Do this a few times. Most of us never think to touch our own face and hair, but it’s so important to be affectionate with yourself. Sensually caress your face and hair. This is the skin you’ll walk around in throughout your entire life. It does everything for you, and if you disconnect from your body and beat up on it with negative thoughts, you’ll never feel truly confident. Mindfully touching your own skin reconnects your body and mind. They are one and the same.
- When you’re done, take a moment and feel the difference in your body now that you’ve wiped away all of your negative thoughts. Visualise those thoughts as being separate from you. Do an honest assessment here. If you don’t feel like you’ve washed everything away, pick the loofah back up and start over again. Don’t step out of the beauty bath until you feel completely cleansed.
- During your ritual, as thoughts come up, release ownership of them. They are allowed to be there. They are not you.
- When you’re ready, get out of the bath and imagine being reborn, like a butterfly breaking out of its cocoon. Not one of your judgments or self-critiques is coming out of the beauty bath with you. You’re leaving that all behind. It’s only your golden Inner Priestess who’s stepping out of the tub. This is your chance to start over, and any negative thoughts you have from now on are something you are creating brand new. The old judgments— your deepest insecurities, the parts you thought weren’t good enough, and the names people called you in school—are gone. Only your gorgeous, clean, purest self remains.
- Put on a robe, towel dry your hair.
- What you do next depends on what time of day it is. Climb right into bed, and you should sleep more peacefully than you have in a long time.