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Healing Effects Of the Water

Updated on January 21, 2014
Baths of Carakalla painted by Sir Lawrence(1899)
Baths of Carakalla painted by Sir Lawrence(1899)

A Bit Of History

What can be better than a relaxing bath at the end of a long busy day? What can better take the stress away and give a deeper sleep than a warm bath? But who am I to tell you? You know it very well! As you get tired at work, you get home and take your warm bath – the fatigue then goes away! Relaxing, easing and soothing effect of water was known long ago.

First baths, found in Ancient India, date as far as 5000 years ago. The whole ancient city in India had a complex system of water delivery and there was a bath in every house! Another discovery – that of a ceramic bath - was made on the isle of Crete, Greece. It was 2500 years old. In Ancient Rome there was a real cult of bathing. Public bathing houses (called therms) were built by the orders of the emperors and were named after them. The example is the Baths of Carakalla. They included swimming pools with cold and hot water, individual bathrooms, saunas, rooms for massage, libraries. People came there not just to wash away the dirt. They spent their leisure time in the baths: walked in the inner gardens, listened to the lectures of philosophers, read books in the special libraries. It was some kind of clubbing, actually!

Some like it with rose petals!
Some like it with rose petals!

Healing effects of the bath

Baths play one of the most important parts as far as body care is concerned. Water not only washes away the dirt and sweat, it also gives us energy, kills the fatigue, tonisizes, invigorates, gives the feeling of freshness, comfort and renewal. Water makes skin smoother, more elastic and velvety. And together with herbal extracts, aroma oils and other useful additives it simply works wonders! Healing effects of the bath are due to the fact that useful elements get through our skin into the blood and bodily liquids that bring these useful elements to all the organs. A lot depends on the temperature of the water, though. Depending on the temperature of the water, baths can be warm, hot or cold. Warm bath (34-37 Celsius) relaxes, kills fatigue and nervous stress. It also calms down, so it is the best before going to sleep. Cold bath (less than 20 Celsius) kills fatigue quickly, tonisizes, makes skin elastic, fortifies the immune system. Cold bath should not be taken longer than 5 minutes. Hot bath (37-40 Celsius) must be taken in case of a cold, a cough, after staying in the frost for a long time, and must be taken for 10 minutes.

Bath-taking can vary. Some like it hot, some like it cool, some like it foamy, some like it candle-lit. Some like it with rose petals.

Baths with sea salt are very useful as the elements of salt and water together give a great healing effect, kill pain, soothe the skin, give the feeling of comfort and improve metabolism. Aroma oils added to the bath tonisize muscles, fight cellulite (especially orange, rosemary, lemon, grapefruit, sandal, pine tree oils), contribute to the regeneration of the skin. The so called Cleopatra's bath gives a certain effect of rejuvenescence and makes one’s skin look younger. Here is a recipe.

Heat but not boil 1 liter of milk. Heat 100 grams of honey. Mix the milk and the honey. Start filling the bath. Mix 350 grams of salt with some sour cream. Rub the mixture gently all over the body. Pour the mixture of milk and honey into the bath and start taking the bath! Enjoy your bath for 15-20 minutes! This bath also cleanses the skin, kills fatigue and stress.

What about taking a shower?

If bath is great to take in the evening, then shower is certainly the best for the morning! Morning shower is refreshing, helps wake up and tonisizes. “Shower” originally means heavy rain and in the collective subconsciousness is related to the ancient purifying ritual invented by the nature itself! Shower was used alongside with bath in Ancient Greece andTurkey as far as 2500 years ago.

The contrasted shower has a great hardening, bracing and refreshing effect. Starting with warm shower, it is followed by hot shower and finished by cold shower.

A jacuzzi bath in one of the hotels in the northern Greece, 2008
A jacuzzi bath in one of the hotels in the northern Greece, 2008

Have you tried a Jacuzzi yet?

Modern elegant bathtub by itself is not the end of all the dreams! The inventors have gone as far as creating the Jacuzzi bath that gives a hydro massage. Classical hydro massage consists of the flows of water and air that work together. One can regulate the proportions of water and air. Some models have ozone system that adds ozone to the air. This gas helps kill the pain and has a cleansing effect. According to the creators’ opinion, Jacuzzi is a good healthy habit. Why? Because it stimulates blood circulation, improves metabolism and bodily protective reactions, fights cellulite, fats and obesity. It also recreates good humor and fitness, tonisizes and relaxes.

Turkish hamam
Turkish hamam
Russian sauna (banya)
Russian sauna (banya)

Other spa ways to improve your precious health

Exploring more of the healthy spa habits, there are Russian and Finnish saunas, Turkish hamam, and Japanese furo. While saunas put the stress on the hot temperature and a certain type of massage, thus stimulating blood and cleansing the skin deeply by making the body sweat, hamam is the best for those who do not support high temperature and love steamy ambiance and foamy massages. Actually, it is this steamy air that washes all the body through. Healing and medical effects of the wood are used in sauna and Japanese furo. Japanese furo is a whole ceremony where the visitor first rinses himself, then is put in the wooden (usually oak) barrel. Oceanic salt is then added in the constantly warmed water while the visitor’s head, shoulders and neck are being massaged. Then the barrels change and the visitor is placed into a barrel filled with cedar scobs that fill the body with natural elements and absorb all the sweat and dirt. Also, about 30 different kinds of beneficial herbs and oils are added in the barrel. Can you imagine that? After that, good mood is guaranteed! Finally, comes the barrel full of heated sea pebbles. Now the spine straightens up and the whole body is massaged. To keep the body well moisturized, drinking tea during the whole procedure is vital. Then the body needs some rest in a special lounge room. Isn’t it a paradise? So enjoy your bath!

A little spa tip

If you feel tired and need to quickly fight the fatigue, make a small bath for your feet: pour some cool water in a basin, add two spoons of cooking or sea salt, put your feet in the water and relax for about ten minutes. The elements of water and salt will take away all the negative energy that has accumulated inside your body.

Are you a bath or a shower person?

What do you prefer as a cleansing procedure: a relaxing bath or a tonisizing shower?

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© 2011 Anna Sidorova


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