I love bathing! Nothing feels as good as a nice warm bath on a cold winter’s night. If you live in Canada, you know exactly what I mean. Winter gets cold, dark and long and soaking in a tub filled with warm water is a great thing to do at the end of the day.
A cup of Epsom salts, a few drops of your favourite essential oil, maybe a good book in your hand and you can hang out in your tub all night long until your hands and feet start shriveling like prunes. I know, because I’ve done this many times. It feels amazing to experience this relaxation and stress relief that a tub full of water provides. And sleep always comes easily after a good soak. But if you are like me and love bathing, there are a few important things to consider before you jump into your tub next time.
Number one is the quality of your water. Why? Because while you are enjoying a lovely warm bath, your body becomes like a sponge and soaks up all the good and the ugly from your water. And this is when chlorine immediately comes to mind.
The city uses chlorine in our water to prevent disease. Chlorine is a very effective disinfectant, which kills disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoans, that commonly grow in water supply reservoirs. At the same time, chlorine is very problematic for our health and it’s a nightmare for our skin. An irritant with carcinogenic properties, chlorine is known to cause anything from skin rashes, respiratory problems, and cancer. It is terrible for our skin and gut microflora which is essential to our health. It may also be surprising to learn that we absorb more chlorine by soaking in a tub than by drinking chlorinated water. It is actually more problematic to our health to absorb chlorine through the skin because while you bathe, chlorine gets directly into your bloodstream bypassing the initial filtration normally done by the liver when we ingest chlorinated water.
Hot bath water opens skin pores making it easy for chlorine to be absorbed. Inhaling the steam from hot chlorinated water is also dangerous and may cause many respiratory conditions including asthma.
Number two is water sustainability. We are not the only ones on this planet. We are so frivolous with our water! But water is sacred and should be treated as such. It takes about twenty to twenty-five gallons of water to take a very modest bath and it will take about the same amount of water to take a longer shower. If you have a big soaker tub,
now we are talking more like 60 gallons. Hopefully, your showers are quick and you are using an eco shower head to preserve your water consumption. And hopefully, you don’t bathe in 60 gallons of water ever!
This is a very serious issue. Saving water is very important for more sustainable consumption of the planet’s resources. Having access to such basic service as drinking water comes without any effort to us but it is important to remember that 783 million people still do not have such access. So don’t ever use more than you truly need!
So in light of this information, should we give up taking a bath altogether?
The answer is no but we must do it way less and in a more mindful way. Start thinking of your bathing as special ritual, a time to cleanse and rest deeply. Acknowledge that it is a privilege to have access to clean water. This will become so much more than a simple soak.
Most of us don’t have a filtration system in our house and we must address the
There are easy ways to remove chlorine from our bath water through chemical neutralization.
There are several chemical compounds which can remove chlorine from the water. Sodium acorbate powder (a form of vitamin C) is a good solution since it’s easy to obtain and easy to use. You will need to add 1/4 tsp (or 1000 mg) of Sodium Ascorbate into your bath water about 5 minutes prior to bathing, giving it enough time to neutralize chlorine. Sodium Ascorbate will neutralize chloramine, which is also used to treat water and is even more dangerous than chlorine. A Canadian company Santevia makes bath filters which are made with vitamin C and are very easy to use.
Once your water is clear of chlorine and chloramine you can enhance your bath with additional ingredients for beautifying or medicinal purposes.
Adding Epsom salts will up the relaxation effect of your bath and will help to relieve soreness from your muscles.
I love adding oils to the bath, both lipid oils, and essential oils.
1 Tbsp of almond oil with a few drops of genuine lavender essential oil will leave you with lovely soft skin and ready for a deep restful sleep.
Adding oat flakes to the bath water will soothe irritated skin, any itchy rash, sunburn, dry skin, or eczema. That’s why we run an oat bath for children suffering from chickenpox.
Place a cup of organic oat flakes in a cheese or cotton cloth and tie it with a string. Throw it in your tub and run just hot water at first so the oat flakes will soften and make their anti-inflammatory properties available.
You can also make an herbal infusion (it’s like a strong herbal tea) with your favourite herbs and add it to your bath water. I love calendula, chamomile or mint.
Soak it up!
There is another important aspect of bathing. If you bathe mindfully it is no longer only about removing dirt from your skin. It can be a ritual of removing and cleansing of all which does not belong to you anymore. You can mentally let go of unpleasant experiences from your day and release all that weighs you down. It is a simple yet deeply freeing practice which is greatly supported by the healing aspect of water.
Baths can be taken at night and in the morning. Night baths are usually used for relief of nervous and mental tension. They are a relaxation-inducing practice. These baths should last fifteen to twenty minutes. Morning baths are a tonic or a stimulating practice. They are best taken cooler than your night baths and ten minutes will do.
After a bath when your skin is warm and pores are open, it is a great time to apply skin healing oils. In general almond and jojoba are great choices for most. There are many lovely body oils on the market to choose from.
Finally, I want to give you one more suggestion. On a cold winter’s night when your body is chilled and you feel like you can’t warm up, treat yourself to a warm foot bath.
Neutralize the chlorine first with a tiny bit of Sodium Ascorbate. Throw some salts in and maybe add a few drops of sage or eucalyptus essential oil. Immerse your feet in the water and enjoy. You may find that this is as warming as a big tub full of water.
This is an article which I have written for The Eco Hub. You can find it HERE