Herbal Baths

Author: Louise Plant   Date Posted:10 November 2015 

Have you ever had a herbal bath? Read this blog to find out more.

There are many benefits to be had from immersing your body into hot water, steeped with herbs. Even hydrotherapy the use of hot and cold water applications can have its own benefits.

The nature of water allows it to be used externally and to be used as a tonic and a medicine. Of course clean fresh spring water would have the greatest benefits. Rain water and snow water is the purest kinds of natural water.

There are several different types of baths and they are used for both similar and different purposes. Some cover the whole body while some are only used for a small part. They're all basically made the same way. The only main differences are their temperatures, sizes and lengths.Water is a great way to modify the temperature of the body, at higher temperatures it will stimulate circulation, cold water on the other hand will tranquilize or sedate circulation and other functions. Cold water can be applied indirectly to also act as a potent stimulant. The more vigorous and abrupt the application the more powerful the body reaction. Hot and cold can be quickly followed by one another to stimulate circulation and restore function to certain areas.

The word bath denotes a complete or partial immersion on the body in water or steam. Bath temperatures are
Very Cold - 0 to 10 degrees Celsius
Cold - 10 to 18 degrees Celsius
Cool - 18 to 24 degrees Celsius
Tepid - 24 to 29 degrees Celsius
Warm - 29 to 37 degrees Celsius
Hot - 37 to 40 degrees Celsius
Very hot - 40 degrees and above

Types of Baths 
Cold bath – a quick cold plunge creates a thermic reaction. This gives the same reaction as the body’s initial reaction to heat. The body will gasp in air and the shock will cause rapid contraction of the cutaneous capillaries pushing a rush of blood back to the lungs and internal organs. The difficulty of breathing will disappear and as the person leaves the water a warmth or glow will invigorate the entire system. This type of bath will have a tonic action on the nervous system without hampering the activity of other body functions.
To encourage a thermic reaction put warm clothes on, drink hot beverages, exercise vigorously or briskly skin brush the skin after the plunge. These types of baths are not recommended for infants, the elderly and in debility or exhaustion.
Cool bath – actions are similar to those of the cold bath, though less powerful. These baths are better for children, debilitated and those to an aversion to cold.
Tepid bath – this type of bath has a modifying influence on the heat of the body. It acts to soften and cleanse the skin. This type of bath is best used about noon when breakfast digestion is over. A brisk walk after the bath is recommended.
Warm bath – this type of bath is not really working as a stimulant. It will reduce the pulse, slow respiration, lessen body heart and relax the skin. This temperature will not provoke a thermic reaction. This type of bath would be very effective in a fever.
Hot bath – a hot bath is very stimulating and the heat is an excitant. The secondary effect of the heat is to act as a depressant, which then has a reflex action to increase heat elimination. Hot baths are best not prolonged as the body can accumulate a rapid rise in temperature. 5 to 20 minutes is a good time frame. Hot baths are contra-indicated in weak heart, arteriosclerosis, debilitated old age, infancy and people who have suffered from strokes and heatstroke. Hot baths are excellent for elimination through sweating, therefore it could be useful in bronchial problems in children and to help relive chest congestion.

Herbs Herbs that can be used in a herbal bath include
Relaxing herbs - lavender, lime flowers, chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, valerian and red clover
Herbs for itch skin - chickweed, black walnut leaves, yellow dock, hyssop, chamomile and oatmeal
Herbs for muscular tension - mugwort, chamomile and horsetail
Herbs to increase circulation - rosemary, yarrow, calendula, cayenne and ginger

Please use care when bathing babies, children and anyone who is very ill or weak as drowning can result, even in small amounts of water. If you are extremely ill, be extremely cautious when taking a hot bath as it could lead to passing out and possibly drowning.
Baths can be used to generally splashed onto the skin to treat wounds, rashes, ulcers and other skin conditions, it can be used hot (not boiling), room temperature or cold.
Spiritual uses - washes are used for ritual purification, of "washing away" problems, negativity, illness, etc. They can also be used for consecration of people, places and things.

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