There are some people experimenting with not showering for extended periods to help their skin microbiome (good flora) develop healthfully. I'm not one of those, as much as I love the microbiome and the theories being interesting, and I won't ask you to do it either, but I will tell you why I've been showering as little as possible: I've realized how necessary bathing is for thriving! Both, showering or bathing relax me, they feel good, and it's exactly when my brain thinks the most clearly and my best ideas and inspo come to me (then they fly away!), but bathing takes it to the next level. It's not only that warm water therapy is beneficial for fibromyalgia, low back pain and arthritis because it loosened our joints (with effects that go beyond the period of immersion), but because there's something magically restorative and healing about it.
Bathing has been part of many cultures for millennia all around the world. It's linked to physical health, but also to social and emotional traditions. Spiritual purification is behind ritual bathing in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity. Mineral waters and soaks with herbs have been used to detoxify and improve health for millennia (with a hiatus during the Middle Ages in the mainstream population, as cleanliness was not considered safe).
Greeks and later Romans turned bathing into social events. Gymnasiums and public baths were important leisure sites, places to conduct business, exercise, study and relax. In Japan, Korea, Turkey, Finland and Russia bathing in groups (mostly men and women separately) is still an important component of the culture. But here, in our day and age, we have no time for that nonsense. We have things to do, social media posts to like, traffic to confront, more hours to work, homework to help with, Netflix shows to binge watch, emails to answer, fires to put down, bills to pay and still 8 hours of sleep to fulfill...So we shower quickly, but we need to bring bathing back, I insist!!!!
I'm sure you've come across photos like the one above on Instagram or Pinterest. And those #selfcare bathing trends are adorable, they look heavenly, but unless you have no children, make a seven figure salary working part time, have a live in cook, a gardener, a housekeeper and a set designer/stylist, there's no way you'll be able to pull those off. So don't be overwhelmed with impossible to attain #bathinggoals. You don't need freshly chopped fruit in the tub (please don't bathe with fruit. Especially citrus! It can irritate your skin and even stain it after sun exposure, plus it's gross having to discard it after you are done bathing and it will clog your bathroom). Flowers and petals look lovely, but read above (although some herbal tea bags can be fabulous and easy to remove). Some blooms in a vase can add some feng shui (I suppose) and beautify your surroundings, but you can also bathe without them. You don't need GOOP's $35.00 (for 3 baths) bath salts either (although I'm sure they are very nice). You can also bathe without crystals and fancy literature, if People magazine is your jam, it works. But make sure your phone does NOT come into the bathroom with you! Candles are beautiful, but not indispensable either, and scented ones may compete with the essential oils I do recommend for aromatherapy.
The following are what we do need to make the best of the bathing experience:
- 2 cups Epsom salts:
I buy this huge container that lasts me forever and comes with a scoop, so I don't have to run to the kitchen every time I'm about to bathe. Epsom salts are rich in magnesium, a mineral most of us are deficient in, and which is very important for bone and heart health, energy production, good sleep, pooping and relaxation (physical and mental). They’re inexpensive, especially compared to the fancy shmancy bath salts in chic packaging (nothing against those, I just want to keep it real and within budget). Bathing with these salts can boost magnesium levels as much as 35%. Just make sure that if you suffer from diabetes, you are carefully monitored, as high levels of magnesium can stimulate insulin release.
-10 drops Essential oil
Lavender, geranium, frankincense, chamomile--which isn't super nicely scented but it's amazingly calming and anti-inflammatory, or your favorite, therapeutic grade, high quality essential oil blend are fab options. Citrus oils are beautifully revitalizing, but they can be irritating to the skin, so I don't recommend them for this purpose (you can always diffuse them in the bathroom if you feel like you'd benefit from an energy boost)
-Soap/bathing gel, shampoo, and conditioner, if you use it (obviously!)
-A door: closed!
Highly recommended, but optional:
-1/2 cup baking soda.
I get good old Arm & Hammer in Costco, just don't photograph the bag, or no one would pin your pic! It softens the skin and helps with detoxification.
-Your favorite music
Ideally, bathe before bed, because it can help you improve your sleep quality, but if that's a challenging time for you, try to squeeze it in at any time instead of showering. You'll be using 10 extra minutes of your day, but trust me, it's so worth it! A little treat for yourself that you can be extremely proud of and that will give you pleasure for the 23 hours and 40 minutes remaining in your day.
You are welcome!!!!