Reap the Benefits of an Ayurvedic Therapeutic Bath

Date Posted:31 October 2011 

According to Maharishi Ayurveda, bathing is an important part of your daily routine and a therapeutic activity that can deliver numerous benefits to the body and mind. A relaxing therapeutic bath in the morning is thought to soothe aching muscles, relax the mind, open pores, and deliver moisture to the body's tissues. What better way to start your day?

The benefits of a therapeutic bath have been enjoyed for thousands of years. Bathing has always been considered an extremely sacred activity in India. In Mohenjo Daro, archaeologists exploring the Indus Valley Civilisation discovered a large structure, shaped like a pool with steps at either end. Many private homes also had their own baths, together with a complex draining system.

Bathing was also viewed as a healing activity in ancient Greece—water was thought to be a gift of health from the gods. Visitors to Rome can see the ruins of hot and cold sunken baths at Pompeii. Apparently, the bathtub of Josephine Bonaparte (wife of Napoleon) still smells of her signature musk fragrance, hundreds of years after it was built.

To make a bath into a healing remedy, many things can be added to the water to enhance the experience. The ancient texts of Maharishi Ayurveda describe therapeutic bath creations with rose petals, milk, honey and turmeric. Traditionally, a full body massage was given before the bath. Immediately after the bath, a mixture of sandalwood paste and floral waters was applied to the skin. The entire process used all natural remedies and brought balance to the mind, body, and spirit.

A therapeutic bath is believed to increase energy levels; enhance mental clarity; rid the skin of sweat, dirt, and environmental toxins; and relax the mind.

An important part of the therapeutic bath routine is choosing a cleanser. According to Maharishi Ayurveda, the materials in the cleanser should pacify the doshas. The sub-doshas that control the skin are Vyana Vata, Bhrajaka Pitta and Shleshaka Kapha. Vyana Vata governs circulation, Bhrajaka Pitta relates to the metabolic activity of the skin and Shleshaka Kapha controls moisture levels. It is important that the cleansing materials do not aggravate any of these sub-doshas. All of them should be balanced, and they should not affect the relationship between Prana Vata and Vyana Vata, which is the connection between the tactile nerves and the entire nervous system.

Ayurvedic practitioners often talk about herbal skin remedies as containing "natural intelligence" or being "alive"—this refers to the natural ingredients and their effect on the skin. Any cleansing formula should rehydrate the skin, so that enough water can be absorbed into the cells. The famous Ayurvedic healer, Charaka, described the top layer of the skin as "udakdhara" (udak means "water" and dhara is "that which holds"). Strong synthetic cleansing products often have the opposite effect; they remove moisture from the skin, which interferes with the ability of the skin to possess that elusive "inner glow.”

This is why moisture balance is so important for overall skin health. To maintain a balance within the skin—and the entire physiology—the body's moisture content must be maintained at a certain level.

Pitta Body Lotion from Maharishi Ayurveda is one of the best herbal skin remedies for Pitta skin types. This cleansing formulation has high concentrations of sandalwood, sappan wood, vetivert, and water-lily, to offer all the benefits of natural Ayurvedic herbs. Vata Body Lotion mix aloeweed, winter cherry, country mallow, and Indian asparagus, among other herbs, to bring a sense of balance to those with Vata skin. Many people suffer from Vata and Pitta imbalances, which are often caused by dietary imbalances and environmental factors. A Pitta imbalance creates heat and zaps moisture, the effects of which are intensified if there is also a Vata imbalance. Both body lotions also contain peepal tree, which is considered to keep both Vata and Pitta in balance.

A Vata imbalance can be caused by dry, windy weather; dry foods; high levels of stress; and a disorganised routine. A Pitta imbalance can be caused by eating processed foods, having irregular mealtimes, high levels of vinegar in the diet, anxiety and too much sun exposure. Often, people suffer from a combination of several of these factors.

Are you ready to use all natural remedies as part of your new therapeutic bath time? Follow the recommendations of the Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians for an experience that you will want to repeat again and again.

Start with a full body massage using one of Maharishi Ayurveda’s massage oils: Pitta Massage Oil, Kapha Massage Oil, or Vata Massage Oil. Pour a few drops of the oil on one of your palms and rub both palms together before massage your entire body with even, gentle strokes. Fill your bath tub with warm water. Make sure it is not too hot or too cold. Use a clean, soft washcloth to apply the cleanser to your skin. Leave it for up to 3 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Avoid using it on your hair. The recommendation is to use the cleanser no more than twice per day.

There are many other things you can do to enhance the activity with all natural remedies. Do not bathe if you are rushing or feeling stressed. Take your time and enjoy every second of the experience. While you are relaxing in your bath, practice deep breathing. This will help you to relax and allow your mind and spirit to benefit as well as your body. Avoid using any harsh synthetic fragrances in the bathroom. If you want a scent, use aromatherapy or incense.

When you have had your bath, gently pat your body dry with a warm, soft towel.

Herbal skin remedies have been used for thousands of years to improve all aspects of health and restore balance to the body, mind and spirit. A therapeutic bath is a great way to begin discovering the benefits of Ayurvedic remedies for yourself.