Is there anything better than a long soak in the tub after a challenging conversation, work week or workout? It’s one of our most simple and ancient self-care practices, but there’s more than meets the eye to bathing.
Bathing is in our DNA. In ancient times, communal bathing was a social practice that built communities. Later, Cleopatra turned bathing into a ritual of body and beauty. More recently, bathing has been clinically proven to lower stress and anxiety by literally lowering our cortisol.
All of this is to say there’s just something about water that heals and returns us to our physical vessels. So often our minds run the show, and a soak is not just a nice-to-have luxury, but a tried and tested way to drop out of our heads and into our hearts.
We like to think of baths as meditation accessed through the body and have found that they work particularly well for people who struggle more with traditional mindfulness methods. For example, for some of us, the practice of sitting quietly and letting go of thoughts is not a simple act; in fact, we need some gentle physical stimulus to focus the mind’s attention on our body to get out of our monkey mind. Things like the touch of water on our skin, floating in stillness, the aroma of a bath soak, and even the act of preparing the bath itself can signal to our bodies that we are about to enter a deep state of relaxation. Bathing takes the pressure off our thinking minds to find calm, and instead, our bodies step in and naturally shift down our nervous system.
An embodied bathing practice is part science and part art form. Of course, our personal preferences play a role, but some science-backed guidelines can help you connect to your body. We’ve pulled a few essential tips to help you wash away the day and fully be in presence.
Water Temperature Matters
Our body naturally relaxes at warm temperatures, but so do our thoughts. The most calming temperature is 94-98 degrees. This may feel slightly more lukewarm than you’re used to but this range mimics the body’s natural temperature and helps put you into a neutral state of mind and shift down the nervous system.
Silence or Stimulus
It’s no secret that complete silence is a way to listen to our bodies. However, for some, complete sensory deprivation has the opposite effect and makes their thoughts louder. The secret sauce here — is to know yourself. If no screen, lights, or sound works for you, do that. If gentle music or ambient lighting helps you drop in, that will be your practice.
But, like, how long?
Studies show that 20 minutes is the ideal time to really drop into your body. A lot of traditional meditation practices also use this length of time. However, we have found even a 10-minute soak can work wonders.
Botanicals for Embodiment
Certain natural elements (especially when mixed with water) can really return us to ourselves. In particular, baking soda is aligned with the body’s natural pH levels and is an excellent foundation that alchemizes with other properties. Plus, it is known to heal inflammation and clear spiritual blockages in the body. It’s why you’ll find it in both our Inheal™ probiotic saffron milk bath and Exheal™ soothing saffron salt bath that are made not just to relax but to restore you to your fullest self, naturally.
You can also learn more about medicinal baths and our healing soak range here.