01.05.2016 Naturopathy

A Healing Soak

A long soak in a bath can be therapeutic as well as divinely relaxing, says naturopath Lyn Craven

Many people have ceased taking a bath, opting for showers, finding them quicker and more convenient. However, the benefits of taking a bath far outweigh a shower.

Add a handful of sea salt to all baths. This helps to counteract any possible irritations that may occur with sensitive skin if you have recently used a chemical cleaner. Sea salt is anti bacterial and anti fungal. Put three cups of Epsom Salts in every bath. This is cleansing and deeply relaxing.

Ideally, clean your bath with bicarb soda which will not irritate skin. I know a lady who used to rub the bath and tiles over with lemon, but yes it does take time!

Essential Oil Baths

There are many ways of using essential oils in a bath. Some ready made bath oil blends are available, including bath crystals. These are often soda crystals that are coloured and contain essential oils.

Do not exceed the drop dose indicated. Essential oils are very potent and some can irritate the skin. If you have hypersensitive skin, do a skin test first on the back of your wrist or use less than is indicated.

Fill a bath of very warm water add sea salt and three cups Epsom salts and select any of the following:

  • Stress Release – 5 drops each of Vertiver and Lavender, or 6 drops of Lavender and 4 of Chamomile, or 4 drops each of Clary Sage and Geranium.
  • Good Sleep – 5-6 drops of Vertiver, or 4 drops each of Sandalwood and Geranium
  • Constipation – 3-4 cups Epson Salts, 4 drops each of Rosemary and Chamomile, 3 drops Fennel(if uptight/stressed try one of the previous combinations).
  • Colicky Stomach pain/period pain – 4 drops each of Chamomile and Clary Sage, 3 drops Peppermint
  • Tight muscles – 4 drops each of Marjoram and Rosemary, 3 drops Geranium, or 4 drops each of Rosemary, Chamomile, and Lavender.
  • Skin Conditions – depending on skin type/condition – consult with a qualified aromatherapist or naturopath who is qualified in the use of essential oils. Using sea salt is excellent for many skin conditions, including bicarb soda, and dried herb of chickweed or chamomile. These dried herbs are placed in a cotton/muslin bag, tied under the tap whilst running water draws active properties off the plants into the water. If, however you are hypersensitive to these plants you may wish to do a skin test. Some people do react to Chamomile. To nourish dry skin add 2-3 teaspoons of almond oil.
  • Vaginal thrush/fungal – double the quantity of sea salt, 3 drops Chamomile, 4 drops Tea Tree, 2 drops Myrrh, or 4 drops Tea Tree, 2 drops Myrrh, 1 drop Thyme (take care here), 2 drops of Patchouli (ensure you like the smell).
  • Cold/Influenza – 3 drops each Eucalyptus and Tea Tree, 4 drops Lavender – if you find you do not react to this blend – you could add 1 drop of Thyme (take care with this oil).
  • Mental Clarity – No Epsom Salts – 4 drops Basil, 3-4 drops Rosemary, or 3-4 drops Bergamot, 3 drops each Geranium and Grapefruit
  • Energising for a demanding day – No Epsom Salts – 4 drops each Basil of Rosemary, 3 drops Geranium
  • Emotional/mental stress – sense of wellbeing – 3-4 drops Bergamot, 4 drops Geranium, 3 drops Palma rosa, or 3 drops Grapefruit, 4 drops Geranium, 3 drops Tangerine, or 5 drops Geranium, 5 drops Lavender, 4 drops Bergamot

Please do not exceed suggested drop quantities. Soak for 20-30 minutes. Many options are available for any of the above disorders, these are just a few. Qualified practitioners can create blends for your unique requirements.

Not that most essential oils are contra-indicated during pregnancy. Seek professional advice.

Clay Baths

A variety of clays are available. Many aromatherapists use clays in their treatments but we don’t seem to come across many true aromatherapists in Australia. Some massage therapists may advertise essential oil massage or aromatherapy massage but this is not authentic.

There are specific lymph drainage techniques that are applied in an aromatherapy treatment and these techniques differ from lymphatic drainage therapists.

If you wish to find out more about aromatherapy you can check out the International Association for Aromatherapists and they can advise you of accredited members in your area.

Clays have strong drawing power and can be useful where there has been heavy metal or chemical exposure, or chronic fatigue. Clay baths will draw the toxic metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, aluminum and many more out of the body. Depending on the brand, instructions will vary in quantities, but usually one cup is sufficient.

Clay will draw away both the good and toxic minerals, so you will need to mineralise and hydrate the body after a “treatment”. Seek professional advice regarding mineral therapy. Clay baths should not be taken weekly, usually once a month or so depending on the reason for use.

Essential oils can be incorporated into the bath if desired. You would not use Epsom Salts with clay baths.

There are two schools of thought regarding the use of essential oils.In Europe you may find medically trained doctors who are also aromatherapists administering the essential oils orally. Yet in the UK and Australia this is not legal and considered toxic. One has to fully understand the oils and their usage as they are very potent remedies.

Meanwhile, enjoy them as I’ve indicated here for a deeply relaxing, healing bath.

Lyn Craven

Lyn Craven is a practitioner of Naturopathy, Bowen Therapy, Energy/Reiki therapist, meditation teacher and Corporate Health Consultant. She is also a health researcher/writer and has produced a meditation CD assisting people to manage anxiety and stress. She runs a private practice in Sydney and can be contacted on +61403 231 804