A good bath can make you feel fresh and energetic the whole day.
The temperature of the water, herbs added to the water all make a difference in giving you that comfort feeling.
Balneotherapy has been in use in various spas and clinics. This therapy utilises herbs and minerals added to the bathing water to soothe the muscles or to help in certain skin conditions.
In ayurveda, there is a similar concept called Avagaha sweda, where a patient is massaged with herbal oil and allowed to immerse in a warm tub of water containing herbs.
Water for bath
Nothing like a good bath to rejuvenate yourself, feeling fresh and energetic the whole day. However what temperature of water is best suited to your constitution, how often you should take a bath and many such tips would be shared in this article.
According to ayurveda, in general, warm water for the body and cold water is advised for head and face. Using hot water on the head and face reduces the strength of hair and eyes. However the choice of the temperature of water depends on the age, constitution, type of health issues, season and so on.
Some do’s and dont’s of having bath
- Use warm water to take bath in winter and cold water is preferred during summer.
- Use cold water for hair and to wash face
- According to ayurveda, teenagers are advised the use of cold water bath in the morning to help them ward off the laziness and keep them active throughout the day.
- Cold water bath is advised after a workout since it acts like an ice pack and help the body to heal the damaged tissues and reduces the soreness in the muscles.
- Warm water is advised for children and pregnant women where the temperature of the water does not exceed 37 degree celsius.
- Warm water bath is also useful for those who have sleep disturbances or insomnia. Few essential oil added to the warm water help to soothe the nerves and relaxes the mind.
- Bath no more than two times a day.
- Extremely hot or extremely cold water is not advised for any condition. The international Plumbing Code regulates the maximum hot water temperature at shower and tub faucets to 120 F. any temperature above 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius), can affect a person's health if they stay in the bathtub for too long.
- Avoid using very hot water even during winter season since it can remove the natural oil present on the skin making it more dry. Warm water is best suited along with an oil massage during winter.
- Avoid very hot water for pregnant women and children.
- Avoid bathing 3-4 times a day since it can remove the good bacteria present on the skin, can cause an imbalance of the pH of the skin, remove the natural oil from the skin and can lead to various skin infections or eczema. It can worsen the already present eczema/dermatitis.
- Hot or cold water is also not advised for epileptic patients, luke warm water is the preferred option.
- Avoid cold bath if you have respiratory problems like cold and cough, joint pain, arthritis or allergies.
Contraindications for taking bath
According to ayurveda, bathing is not recommended in people suffering from facial paralysis (as per the doctor’s advice), disease of eyes, mouth, ears, flatulence, sinusitis, indigestion, diarrhoea and immediately after food intake.
Balneotherapy (Mineral Spring Bath)
Bathing in water containing essential salts have been very widely used as a treatment to manage pain, stress and other disease condition. This type of bath has been termed as balneotherapy.
One of the best examples of balneotherapy is the Dead Sea. It is a salt lake situated in the middle east whose main tributaries is Jordan River. It has a very high content of minerals and have been found to be around 9.5 times more saltier than sea.This high mineral content of the dead sea has been used to treat a number of diseases including rheumatoid/osteoarthritis16, psoriatic arthritis17 and management of low back pain.
Balneotherapy also known as spa therapy is usually practised in various health spas mainly as a treatment to manage pain, relax the muscles and alleviate the symptoms.
Balneotherapy is thought to promote healing by increasing circulation, encouraging detox and easing stress. In addition, the minerals found in hot springs (such as sulfur and magnesium) are said to fight off illness by nourishing the organs and stimulating the immune system.
In ayurveda, a treatment similar to balneotherapy is Avagaha sweda18. Avagaha means dipping or immersing while swedaha means sudation, steaming or sweating. This is the type of treatment where in a patient is massaged with herbal oil and is told to lie down in a tub of water containing medicinal decoctions and other fluids.
This treatment is used to manage sciatica pain, low back pain, for treating kidney stones, osteoarthritis, painful vata conditions. Such treatments are followed on the advice of an ayurvedic practitioner since it is based on a person’s prakruti, dosha and the disease.
Simple herbal infusions at home
Certain herbs added to our bathing water can help in managing insomnia, skin infections and so on. Few examples are given below.
- Adding neem leaves in the warm water and allowing it to soak for 10-15 minutes before having a bath helps to manage infections like chicken pox, bacterial or fungal skin infection etc.
- For women who are suffering from vaginal infection, triphala added into the bathing water and washing the affected area with it helps to relieve the symptoms and destroy the bacteria/yeast causing infection.
- Oil from herbs like chamomile or lavender added to warm water and taken a bath before going to bed helps in inducing sleep by calming the nerves and relaxing the muscles.