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Rejuvenating Baths

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Milk BathHaving a bath is not just about lathering your body with soap and splashing water. Baths are important rituals, as necessary for most people as say, eating. In ancient India, especially in the Mohanjodaro civilization, public bath places called the ’snan ghar’ and of all leisure activities, bathing occupied the center stage. These ancient bath rituals are now making a comeback.

Especially, when you are getting married. “I think they are a must for any new bride,” says Dina Mehra of Nalini and Yasmi. “I recommend these baths to the to-be bride, simply because they can leave you feeling completely re-energized.” Beauty parlors like Nalini and Yasmin in Mumbai, or Khubsurat in Delhi, arrange for rejuvenating baths. But you can have some of these baths right at your home.

Here are a few popular baths, as recommended by Dina Mehra of Nalini and Yasmin and Khushnuma Khan of Khubsurat:

Herbal or Aroma Bath:

You don’t really need to go to a specialized spa for this one. At several malls and specialized bath stores, you get complete herbal bath kit, containing massage oil for pre-bath and after-bath massage, herbs for cleansing and massaging the body while you are having a bath, and a bath nd body oil for massaging dry areas such as elbows and knees.

Aromatic or herbal baths are relaxing and soothing, but can also be used for therapeutic values. Herbs, oils and fragrances when used in a bath can relax, stimulate, soften, lubricate, tone and scent the skin. You can choose from eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, peppermint and rosemary herbs. Different herbs serve different purpose. For tired muscles, it is better to use pine, juniper, thyme, lavender and rosemary. For relief from depression, rose, geranium, lavender and patchouli are used.

For stress relief, lemon balm, rose, jasmine, sage and lavender are good options. For oily skin, most experts recommend mint, witch hazel, yarrow, rosemary, lemon verbena or lemon grass and for dry skin, it is better to use chamomile, rose petals, orange flowers, clover flowers or honeysuckle.

Preparing For A Bath

To prepare for a leisurely herbal bath, first dry rub your body. Fold a dry rough large napkin, hold it in the hand and gently rub the fragile parts of the body — first the chest, then neck and face — in circulatory movements, working towards arms from the wrist to the shoulders, moving on to the leg from the feet to the tailbone. The last stroke should be quicker and gentle.

The dry rub rejuvenates and makes the skin tender. It should be done once a week, just before a leisurely bath, as the herbs, oils and fragrances work in the skin better. Now, simply tie the desired herbs into a soft cloth, and let the bathwater run through. You can also add 5 to 15 drops of aroma oil to a liquid soap and then place your hands under the running faucet, so that the oil and the water flow together into the bucket below.

This is the most effective way to distribute the essential oils into the water. By just sprinkling oils into the water, they float to the top and evaporate too quickly. You can also add your essential oils to bath salts, powdered milk or bubble bath.

Aroma oils and bath kits are available in most cities in big shopping malls like Crossroads and Westside. Egyptian Bath Pack (contains Egyptian Massage Oil, orange and rose bath herbs as well as orange and spice bath and body oil) and the Rosemary Bath Pack (has the Rosemary massage oil, lavender bath herbs and lavender and basil bath and body scrub) are the two most popular bath packs.

Mud Bath

This one has to taken at the parlor, naturally! In 1823, when the British explorers arrived in some of the remote tribal parts of India, especially in the South of India, they found the tribes making use of the regions most obvious natural resource, it’s hot mineral springs. Now Ayurvedic centers and spas across the country offer mud baths as a rejuvenating experience that helps fight tress. Mud is relaxing and detoxifying element, and thus cleansing. Involving high amount of perspiration, the human system and the skin feel refreshed and cleansed after a mud bath. Victims of muscular aches and arthritis find mud bath soothing.

The mud used for the bath is a mix of white clay, peat moss, and hot mineral water. Mixed in a large concrete tub, it produces thick, hot and heavy mud. The traditional mud bath procedure is generally about an hour long. For the first 12 minutes, you are immersed and suspended in the mud. An attendant stands near by with ice-cold water and a washcloth soaked in eucalyptus oil, with which your body is wiped after the treatment is over.

The mud bath is followed by a soak in the mineral Jacuzzi bath. Mud baths are generally sterilized after each use by adding boiling mineral water to the mud and letting it sit for approximately 15 minutes. The water is then drained out and ready for the next bather.

Sweat Bath or Sauna

In the sweat bath, the heat produces an artificial “fever” and coaxes every organ of the body into action. While outwardly relaxed, your inner organs are as active as though you were jogging. Heat speeds up the chemical processes in the body, making steam and sauna bathing one of the simplest and most comfortable ways to rid the body of accumulated toxins. As the pores open up and the million of sweat glands start to excrete, the body rids itself of metabolic and other waste products.

Sweat contains almost the same elements as urine, and for this reason, the skin is sometimes called the third kidney. It is estimated that as much as 30 per cent of bodily wastes are eliminated by way of perspiration.

The oldest know medical document, the Ayurveda, considered sweating so important to health that it prescribed the sweat bath. Interestingly, in different periods in history, sweat baths have been used in the Finnish sauna, Russian banai, Islamic hammam and the American Indian sweat lodge.

Today, enthusiasts claim that beyond being relaxing, the sauna offers relief from the common cold, arthritis, headache, hangover, and “just about anything that ails you.”

Here are really some easy baths you can prepare at home: Rose bath oil 1 cup almond oil tbsp. shampoo 4 tbsp. Rosewater Whisk together both the ingredients till it blends well. Pour a little of this oil into warm bath, sprinkle a few fragrant rose petals on top and enjoy!

As an alternative to the rose oil, you can simply add a few drops of other fragrant oil such as orange or lemon or a stimulating one such as cardamom or basil to your bath.

Milk Bath

The luxurious feeling of floating in a white cloud is easily achieved by making yourself a simple milk bath. Milk is full of protein and it tightens, whitens and soothes the skin. Even pouring a pint of milk into the bath will make a difference, but for real extravagance, tie a cupful of milk powder in a cloth sachet and slowly rub over your body so that the water becomes milky gradually. If you would rather shower: make a thick paste of milk power and water and apply to the skin. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes to make your skin feel like satin.

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