Taking a bath in the winter feels especially great. We often wonder if humans evolved from sea-creatures, for how relaxed we feel in our natural state, submerged in warm salt-water. What's so special about salt? Why does it make our skin feel so nice? Here are some things we've learned:
Some of the minerals found in bath salts include magnesium, potassium, calcium, bromide, and of course, sodium. These minerals are easily absorbed into our pores and are known to cleanse and purify our skin on a molecular level, improving your skin’s radiance, tone, and texture. Magnesium helps us fight stress and combat fatigue; calcium keeps water retention in check, promotes healthy bones and can help stave off osteoporosis; potassium balances moisture levels in the skin; bromide soothes tired, sore muscles; sodium plays a significant role in managing the balance of lymphatic fluid in our bodies.
Warm water opens our pores, allowing the minerals in your bath salts to deeply cleanse our skin. Bathing in a solution of warm water and bath salts will work to draw out impurities, pollution, oil and dirt from the skin. Bath salts can even bring you the added benefit of looking younger – regular use of bath salts and bathing has been shown to decrease the appearance of fine lines by plumping the skin and balancing moisture.
For centuries various cultures have built rituals around bathing. In Japan there's the Sentō, a communal bath house. Another type of Japanese public bath is onsen, which uses hot water from a natural hot spring. In Western culture, Turkish baths might be the most well-known. The process involved in taking a Turkish bath is similar to that of a sauna, but is more closely related to ancient Greek and ancient Roman bathing practices.
A Turkish bath starts with relaxation in a room (known as the warm room) that is heated by a continuous flow of hot, dry air, allowing the bather to perspire freely. Bathers may then move to an even hotter room (known as the hot room) before they wash in cold water. After performing a full body wash and receiving a massage, bathers finally retire to the cooling-room for a period of relaxation.
Not only are baths important for opening pores, cleansing the body of toxins, and allowing for absorption of minerals from the salts, but the sacred space created by the architecture of these places allows us to cleans ourselves on an emotional and psychic level as well. In the space of a bath house you not only relax and heal your body and mind, but you bond with your fellow bathers as well. After such an experience everyone leaves with a strong sense of calm and well-being. We wish you many warm baths in 2015!