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The Healing Practice of Ritual Bathing

An aromatic experience to revive and rejuvenate

By Julia Meadows

2020 is here: out with the old and in with the new! Now is the time to release negativity and stale energies from the past, replacing them with positive, healthy and life-affirming new energy. One way to achieve this result is through the adoption of new rituals that support health and improve wellbeing. One such ritual is the aromatic salt bath, combining water, the universal-living organism; salt, one of Earth’s purest elements; and essential oils, the ‘soul’ of specific plants and herbs. 

The ancient, healing practice of ritual bathing will cleanse, detoxify and purify the body and energize and harmonize mind and spirit. Salt bathing stimulates circulation, reduces skin inflammation, draws out toxins and heavy metals, relieves muscle pain, nourishes the body with calcium, potassium, magnesium and trace minerals, and clears out ‘emotional static’ from negative interpersonal strife and stressful life situations.

Create your own simple bath ritual using naturally mineral-rich salt and essential oils of your choice. Select untreated, preferably solar-dried coarse or fine salt, Kosher salt or pink Himalayan crystal salt. You can add Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to treat muscle aches and pains, or sodium bicarbonate for a cleansing, effervescent effect. (Avoid table salt, to which anti-caking chemicals have been added.) Place 2 – 3 handfuls of the salt in a clear glass bowl, and stir in 8 – 10 drops total of your favorite essential oil/s.

Citrus oils like grapefruit, lemon and lime are ideal oils to use in a purifying, detoxing ritual bath. Lavender, rosemary and sweet basil tone the system and revive energy. Frankincense is the oil of choice for a ‘spiritual bath’ that eliminates negative energy and invokes one’s Higher Self.

Be sure that you will not be disturbed for at least an hour and prepare your bathing area with whatever pleases you — candles, incense, crystals, flower petals and relaxing music. Pour a very warm bath and stir in your salt mixture. Relax in the bath for 20 – 30 minutes, meditating and visualizing the wonderful year ahead, and setting your intention with personal, life-enhancing affirmations. 

In the tradition of ‘taking the waters,’ you can fully immerse yourself three times under the water and finish the ritual either by shower rinsing or towel drying. In addition to bathing, you can use handfuls of salt on your skin while showering, or make a footbath using the salts and essential oils. 

Ritual bathing is traditionally done at the times of the new moon, full moon, or on Mondays (‘moon days’) but will enhance your health and outlook when performed at any time. No soap, shampoo or body wash is used in ritual bathing. You will find that the relaxation in mineral-rich salts and warm water, together with your meditations and affirmations, will create an experience that you will want to repeat regularly. As Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine advocated, “The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and a fragrant massage every day.” May you enjoy vibrant health and wellbeing during this New Year!

Julia Meadows has spent 35 years in the essential oil industry and is the founder of Aromax Health and Sub Rosa Apothecary in La Quinta. She can be reached at (760) 831-8333 or juliasubrosa@gmail.com.

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