February 13, 2014 7 minute read
Spring is just around the corner (slightly doubtful as I am staring at 10 inches of snow accumulating on my terrace) and detoxing is on everyone’s mind. Never mind the cleaning, organizing, junking out and vacuuming – detoxing applies to our bodies too! Everyone starts to feel the pressure that comes with that sunny March weather, our limbs are coming out from hibernation and we want to be ready! For me, this goes beyond getting in shape and into a full on skin makeover. A few too many glasses of wine over the holidays leave me feeling less than wonderful – let’s not even talk about the boxes of chocolates. I tend to feel puffy, sluggish and grey long after I’ve emerged from celebration mode. So how do I fix this? Detox baths.
Detox baths have been used for thousands of years, starting back with the ancient Romans and Greeks (Linda Page). I mean, have you seen the sculptures?! Turn me into a Greek goddess please. Certain bathing ingredients are used to help flush impurities out through our skin instead of the usual toxin elimination via the liver, lungs, kidneys or bowel. Some people even consider skin to be a “third kidney” – one of the major eliminative organs in our body (certainly the largest).
Baths are such an easy way to bring the spa to your home, and you won’t regret taking the extra time for yourself. But I find it hard to just relax for the sake of relaxing – I need to be productive. So turning my bath into a little purifying, balancing and energizing situation is how I justify shutting out the world for thirty minutes. To get this done, you can add a huge variety of elements to your water – but you want to make sure you always include at least one of the main ones.
Four Main Detox Ingredients
1) Epsom Salts
These are my favourite and they’re cheap! Composed of magnesium and sulfates, Epsom salts are a powerhouse detoxifier. The sulfates (from sulfur) are responsible for stimulating the flushing out of toxins, but the magnesium is key here – over 300 enzymes in our body are controlled by it! This mineral is absorbed through the skin and is proven to contribute to serotonin and ATP production, restoring your energy production efficiency while putting you in a better mood.
2) Hydrogen Peroxide
Sound a bit crazy? Bare with me. Yes, hydrogen peroxide is used for many things (like bleaching hair and cleaning wounds) but it’s a natural compound that really just has one extra oxygen atom than water (H2O2). I don’t use a lot, but by adding about 1-2 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your bath you will reap the antibacterial and antiviral benefits of hydrogen peroxide and oxygenate your body. The first time I added hydrogen peroxide to my bath I could SEE all of the junk it had removed from my skin in the water, it was shocking but oddly satisfying.
3) Baking Soda
I know, I know – another household product. But it’s an all-natural detoxing ingredient that alkalizes the skin. Dermatologists even recommend it for DIY facial exfoliating! Soaking with baking soda will effectively soften your skin by slewing off dead skin cells. A bonus is that it will help to regulate the acidity caused by chlorine in the water.
Warning – I had the most intense detox experience when I first added ginger to my bath. I felt terrible the next day and couldn’t shake the feeling of extreme exhaustion. Why? When you soak in it, the ginger uses sweat as a means of ultimate toxin elimination, and it does it VERY well. Ginger improves circulation and gets the blood flowing like no other herb. I found myself sweating for an hour after my first ginger bath; so I just wrapped myself up in a towel and let my body do its thing. Two days later I felt like Wonder Woman though – it was worth it.
I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite detox baths, but before I sign off I want to give you a few helpful tips. It’s completely normal to feel dizzy and a bit out of sorts when you first stand up – your body will be working hard to eliminate any toxins you’ve accumulated. So drink plenty of water during and after your bath, but don’t eat immediately before or after. Only sit in the bath for 20-30 minutes (1-2 times a week) and make sure you don’t add any soap or shampoo to the water while you’re soaking. And most importantly, enjoy!
I could probably think of a more appealing name for this one, but creativity just didn’t seem appropriate here. It is a bath in which you sweat A LOT, thanks to the ginger. I like to run very hot water for this one, but you will sweat whether you make it super hot or not.
In the water:
- two cups of Epsom salts
- half cup of fresh grated ginger
On the side:
- one green juice
- one glass of water
Skin Softening Bath
This bath is one of my favourites. Possibly because of my obsession with rose, but definitely because I always step out with baby-soft skin feeling fresh and relaxed. A great addition is to follow up with some body oil on your legs and arms.
In the water:
On the side:
- rose candle
- one large glass of water
I like to do this one in the afternoon or morning. When I need to refresh and reenergize this bath is a huge help. The lemon essential oil is a very uplifting scent that will immediately put you in a positive mood. Orange is also another option!
In the water:
On the side:
- lemon candle
- mug of hot lemon water