Check out the latest health tip from my friend and contributing writer, Tiana Byers! Tiana is a writer living in Charlotte, NC, and a lover of real food. Since her diagnosis with Hashimoto’s in early 2015, she’s committed herself to an autoimmune-paleo lifestyle. Thanks for this helpful info, Tiana!
What do you do to relax at the end of the day – have a glass of wine? Catch up on your favorite shows? If you’re looking for an after-work activity that will help you relax and be kind to your body, you need to try detox baths.
Though some of us probably stopped taking regular baths when we phased out of needing a rubber duck in the tub with us, the practice of bathing can help us get rid of toxins and soak in beneficial minerals, pun intended. Nutritional pioneer Dr. Hazel Parcells estimates that 65% of our body’s cleansing is achieved through the skin…which makes sense, given that our skin is the body’s largest organ. When you bathe in water as hot as you can tolerate, pollutants and chemicals we pick up throughout the day are drawn to the surface of the skin. As the water then cools, these toxins are drawn out of the body through the principle of osmosis. You’ll then absorb whatever good stuff you’re steeping in – most of which you can already find around your house. Here are the essential items to add to your detox bath to declutter both body and mind.
1. Aluminum-Free Baking Soda
Quality, aluminum-free baking soda is great for combating exposure to irradiated foods and alleviating swollen glands, sore throats and digestive issues (1). Add 4 cups to a very hot bath and sit tight for up to 45 minutes. When you’re done, skip the rinse and towel dry only.
2. Epsom Salts
Epsom salts are just a fancy way of saying magnesium sulfate. Both magnesium and sulfur, although critical nutrients, are often poorly absorbed through the food we eat. An Epsom salt bath combats this, and can help promote good circulatory health, reduce blood pressure, ease muscle pain, improve nerve function, and reduce bruising or muscle strains (2). If you’ve recently undergone surgery, an Epsom salt bath will also help detox the drugs remaining in your body. This in particular is super helpful for someone like me, who is unnervingly sensitive to medication. I can pop half a Benadryl and be out cold for hours…it’s not great. Add 2 cups of Epsom salts to your bath and soak for 20-30 minutes. You can rinse and towel dry afterward.
3. Sea Salt and Aluminum-Free Baking Soda
If just baking soda is not exciting enough, add some high quality sea salt or rock salt to your bath (3). Dissolve one pound of salt and one pound of baking soda to your bath. Plan on staying in the bath for 45 minutes, and do not add more hot water once you’ve begun your soak. This detox combo is good for mitigating the effects of exposure to environmental radiation, x-rays, plane flights and TSA airport screenings. Do not rinse afterwards, towel dry only. This one will likely make you very tired, so run this bath before bedtime.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Not what you had in mind? Bear with me here. Apple cider vinegar can combat exercise induced muscle aches and pains, alleviate Candida related skin issues by balancing the skin’s ph and provide relief for those with gout, arthritis or tendonitis by drawing out uric acid (4). Add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to your bath and soak for 45 minutes. Towel dry when you’re finished, and don’t shower for at least 8 hours.
5. Bentonite Clay
Here’s a brief history lesson on bentonite clay: first of all, don’t feel bad if you don’t know what it is, because I’ve only recently been introduced to it. We’re all learning here, all the time. So let’s get to it. Bentonite clay has been used throughout history as a healing clay. It is volcanic ash, named for the largest known deposit of it in Fort Benton, Wyoming. Bentonite clay produces an electric charge that, when heated, has the ability to absorb toxins like a sponge. Animals will instinctively eat it to remove poisons during illness or stress. You’ll know it’s of good quality if it is a grey or cream color, but not pure white. Quality bentonite is velvety, odorless and non-staining. Adding it to your bath can help with digestive disturbances, skin allergies, provide minerals like silica, calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron and potassium and help speed recovery from vomiting or diarrhea (5). To use it in your bath, mix ¼ cup of the clay vigorously with a small amount of water. Do not use metal though – it can disrupt the electric properties of the clay and reduce its potency. Once the clumps are mostly gone, add the clay to the bath and sit for 20 minutes. You’re allowed to rinse after this one. I don’t expect any of us to walk around with clay stuck on for the next 24 hours.
6. Essential Oils
High quality essential oils have specific benefits which vary from oil to oil. When I need to relax and promote sleep, I use lavender. When I’m feeling a little down or uninspired, I add citrus oils like grapefruit, tangerine or lime to boost my mood and energize me. Find your favorites and add them to your Epsom salt, baking soda or clay baths! [Lavender and Frankincense essential oils are wonderful choices. Check out Carolyn’s top 10 essential oils HERE. Also, there are two essential oil blends from doTERRA that create a very calming atmosphere: Balance grounding blend + Serenity calming blend. Email Carolyn for assistance! RealFoodCarolyn@gmail.com]
Indulge in a detox bath 2-3 times a week, with no more than 1 bath a day. My favorite cleansing bath uses Epsom salts, peppy citrus essential oils and Netflix. The upside of having a bathtub that looks as though it was installed in 1902 is that the clunky, massive water handles make for a perfect ledge to balance my iPad on. I highly recommend the above recipe and a couple of episodes of 30 Rock. Enjoy!