Water therapy has long been a favorite method of healing and spiritual sanctuary. For millennia, mankind has sought calm and rejuvenation from the water. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, founded the first healing sanatorium/spa or holy hospital on the island of Kos around 2500 years ago. The attraction was the healing waters on the Aegean Sea as a place to replenish body and soul. Back then, people traveled from all over the known world to this tiny island near Turkey. It is well documented throughout history that the Romans, the Turks, Egyptian, Indian and Asian cultures all cultivated specialized healing centers and techniques near naturally formed water sources such as springs, rivers, seas and lakes.
Here we are thousands of years later, after an incredible century of technological development and medical surgical breakthroughs. Still. An ideal retreat for most people is to be near water. Still. Most of us consider it to be a scrumptious simple pleasure to enjoy a quiet evening featuring a hot soothing bath and some candles.
Bathing is such a sacred ritual that some cultures like Islam actually construct Turkish baths in such close proximity to their mosques that they may as well be connected. If you have never been to a Turkish Hamam, they are beautifully tiled buildings that offer a warming room, a hot room and a sudsy, cleansing rub down with a dip in a cool bath in a natural spring at the end. A traditional Turkish Hamam features moist steam rather than dry sauna type heat like the Victorian version of the Turksish Bath house.
In ancient Rome, the bath house was a huge community attraction where people not only bathed and received massage but also worked out with weights and gymnastic stretches, had snacks at the snack bar and caught up with friends. It was the way they ended their work day. It is funny to think that after all this time, these traditions still have such a presence in our modern culture. To think the of the Romans, just like us, finishing a hectic workday and heading over to the bath-gym to unwind and relax before enjoying a few glasses of wine and Greek-Mediterranean fare you would still have today is so wild. Today, most folks do the exact same thing whether they are going to a high-end place like Equinox or a family place like the YMCA.
Now, there is this huge consciousness shift everyone is so hyped up about. Many different kinds of people with a lot of different beliefs are recognizing a personal and societal need to balance and merge two seemingly opposing forces, the amazing capacity of modern medical technology and the tried and true ancient methods of utilizing healing water, massage, herbs, salts, a good diet and such. More and more, talk shows are featuring organic foods and vegetarian diets becoming more in demand. More restaurants including fast food chains and convenience stores are carrying a healthier variety of food options. More vacation spots are emphasizing spa services, healthy gourmet cuisine, unplugging from the daily grind, the communication devices and EMFs to restore and replenish the body, mind and soul.
We have discovered that even though a pill has been created to mask or benefit a wide array of problems, that even though we can get a new leg, a new kidney and a new face, that ultimately it is our habits that determine how we feel. We have learned that the simple daily things we can do and rituals we can explore and alternate between are keys to vitality and happiness. We have realized that no matter what is going on around us that we can adapt to changing circumstances by looking to the lessons and wisdom from ancient cultures whether from their mistakes or the philosophies that have been passed down.
Recently, I heard a beautiful explanation of the word sacred. The gist was that a sacred place is a place where you could stand today and experience it in the same way as your ancestors would have without alteration. A place where we feel ourselves as part of the fabric of life, time and space and can feel the perfection of the cycles of life. While the impression I am referencing was more in relation to spectacular outdoor wonders like Yellowstone or Yosemite from the American Indian perspective, it applies just as much to the lifestyle rituals the ancient people embedded into most every culture globally thousands of years ago.
As a child, I remember being bathed in Epsom salts, bubbles and oils depending on the situation. As a young woman, I remember indulging in fancy bubble baths from Crabtree & Evelyn and Chanel. Soon after, I was mesmerized and magnetized by the healing magic of steam rooms, whirlpools and saunas. As I got into herbal health and yoga in the 90’s, I loved investing in wonderful oils to dose my baths with custom made aromatherapy for a variety of purposes.
Up until recently, I never thought too much about it. It simply felt good to be in water. To feel refreshed and relaxed was enough. This past year, I have had so many cues pointing to paying more attention to the value and history of therapeutic bathing that I began researching a few things that I tried at home on the recommendation of other healing professionals.
Simple things that until recently I did not employ as a consistent ritual or key part of my health and wellness regimen near frequently enough.
Besides traveling through the Greek Isles on my honeymoon this summer, and being in the presence of these incredibly beautiful ancient spas, I felt some odd nerve pain and used some Epsom salts. Voila! The pain went away. Not only that, I felt mentally clear and refocused. Last winter when I was sick with the flu, I took a bath infused with a bottle of hydrogen and a box of sea salt that a dear friend brought over to give me a health reboot. It triggered a great emotional release (breakdown) and accelerated my return to wellness basically over night. Somewhere in the midst of this, I watched a lot of documentaries about a variety of ancient cultures and was fascinated about how many of them emphasized water healing rituals that were practically embedded in their religions.
The recipes I am sharing here on my site are simple, inexpensive and very powerful. Add aromatherapy, color therapy or soothing sounds as needed.
All the resources for the recipes are listed on each page.