The Himalayas, the world’s tallest mountains, extend approximately 2,500 kilometers across Asia, along the border between India and Tibet.
Two-hundred-fifty million years ago, when the planet was a pristine ecosystem, a primal sea existed where these iconic mountains now stand. The Himalayas formed approximately 40-50 million years ago when, due to plate movement, India collided with Eurasia.
As the plates clicked into place, the sea evaporated, and its life-sustaining minerals beautifully crystallized beneath the sun’s rays—forming what is known as Himalayan pink salt. Due to these unique conditions, the purest form of sea salt was produced.
Himalayan pink salt is believed to be one of the best sources of natural minerals on earth and gets its pink shade from the high mineral and iron content.
When Himalayan salt dissolves in water, it creates a concentrated, electrically charged blend containing 84 trace minerals that match those found in our body. These traces are not found in commonly used refined, bleached and processed table salt.
The reason this ionic, mineral-rich solution is so nourishing is because the sole solution that is created makes the salt the right size to be easily absorbed and metabolized by the cells in the human body.
Many people indulge in this therapeutic salt for bathing to align with the phases of the moon. This is known as Moon Bathing or Moon Rhythm Bathing.
When the moon is full, our healing potential peaks and mineral absorption is optimized. During a new moon, cleansing is peaked, and the body’s potential to internally and externally cleanse and detoxify peaks.
Rejuvenating salt baths have been known for their therapeutic benefits for thousands of years. The first known account was between 460-370 B.C.E when Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” noticed that seawater and salt water naturally cleansed, soothed, and healed the infections on fishermen’s rough, cracked, and swollen hands.
Soon after, Hippocrates began to advise his patients to bathe in warmed seawater and called the therapeutic treatment Thalassotherapy. It is common in thalassotherapy spas for several people to share the same bath, as salt is a disinfectant.
Simply by adding Himalayan salt to a bath, we can create a rejuvenating, detoxing, and relaxing in-home-spa experience.
There are many types of salt we can add to our bath water, however, I recommend Himalayan pink salt, as it is rich in vital minerals that our skin and body readily absorb including, bicarbonate, bromide, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, sulphate, and zinc.
Taking a mineral bath is known as balneotherapy, and the process of absorbing minerals through the skin is known as “dermal absorption.” It is believed that the health benefits of soaking our skin in minerals are greater than if we were to orally consume the minerals.
Estimates suggest that every day we are exposed to anywhere between 700,000 and 2.1 million different toxic chemicals from our food, water, the air we breathe, clothing, and personal and household products.
Mixing mineral-based salt to water creates a unique ionic solution that helps to extract these toxins from our skin and tissues through a process known as reverse osmosis.
Himalayan salt not only pulls waste toxins out of the skin, which block pores and cause a dull complexion, but it also draws water out of the body, preventing water retention.
In a regular bath, moisture is extracted from the skin, as our body fluids are a salt solution rather than solely water. However, adding natural sea salt to our bathwater that contains 84 different nutrients that easily absorb into our skin is significantly less drying, and due to the minerals blend, the pH balance of the skin is restored.
After bathing, we will immediately notice that our skin feels soft, supple, and has a radiant, healthy glow as our pores and cells have been cleansed and purified from the inside out.
Salt has anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic qualities, which makes it the perfect antidote to skin irritations, infections, and rashes. The high mineral content in Himalayan salt helps to lightly plump the outer skin and creates a protective barrier over it.
Himalayan salt reduces inflammation, therefore it can help us to wind down and relax after a stressful day, making it easier to achieve a restful sleep.
Due to the presence of magnesium and other trace minerals, salt baths can offer relief from cramped, tired, and aching muscles with studies finding that regular salt bathing can alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and improve rheumatological diseases.
Salt air has anti-bacterial, ant-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, so when we naturally inhale the salty water from the bath, the minute particles flow through our respiratory system. The lungs absorb these tiny particles, and this process can alleviate respiratory conditions such as hay fever, coughs, chest and sinus infections, asthma, and allergies.
The first and most obvious benefit we notice when soaking in a salt-water bath is that once we immerse ourselves in the bath our worries, anxiety, and stress quickly subside, and peace and harmony are restored.
To get the most benefit from this refreshing and energizing salt-water bath, shower and wash with your regular choice of shampoo and soaps prior to soaking in the bath.
Mixing elements, such as, air, fire, and water is known to be spiritually cleansing and healing, so open a window a little, light a few candles, and play some relaxing background music.
Dry brushing the skin, known as French bathing, removes toxins, loosens dead skin cells, increases circulation, reduces inflammation, increases muscle tone, and opens the pores to intensify the detox process.
To remain hydrated during the bath, regularly sip water, which also releases toxins.
The concentration of the salt bath should be around the same salt concentration in our body fluids, which is approximately 0.9 percent salt solution.
An average bath uses between 25-35 gallons of water, so to achieve a similar balance, mix approximately one ounce of salt per gallon of water, which will work out to around 1.5 to 2 pounds of salt.
Fill the bath about four inches deep with hot water, then add the Himalayan pink salt and stir the water until the flakes have dissolved. Then fill the rest of the tub with lukewarm water.
It is essential that the water temperature is not too hot or too cold, and it is advisable to bathe in water as close to body temperature as possible, which is approximately 37° Celsius or 97° Fahrenheit. This allows for maximum absorption of the minerals.
The salt bath resembles the temperature and ionic make up of the amniotic fluid we are submerged in when in the womb, which is one of the reasons it feels so safe, relaxing, and healing.
There is no need to adjust the water temperature once you are in it, as the bath will remain at a constant temperature because of the biophysical composition of the salt, which is so strong that it causes the molecules to move in a constant rhythm.
The body’s organ functions resonate with the natural rhythm of the molecules, which recharge the body and mind, reactivate the body’s regulatory mechanism, boosts metabolism, and triggers cellular healing.
At least once a week, at the end of the day, soak in a Himalayan salt bath for around 20-30 minutes—the experience is known to be similar to soaking in an ocean of energy.
Don’t rinse the skin in the shower at the end of the bath, just lightly towel dry to achieve the optimum benefits.
After this therapeutic body, mind, and soul experience, your muscles will be relaxed and may feel a little weaker than usual, so indulge in some well-earned rest, with a good book and a cup of warm herbal tea, and relax for at least 30 minutes.
On regular bath days, you can cleanse and exfoliate the skin with a bar of Himalayan salt soap.
Disclaimer: While there are many benefits to taking these baths, to be on the safe side, if you are pregnant, have diabetes, low or high blood pressure, heart, kidney, or liver disease, any other circulation problems, recent or current illness or any other health concerns please consult a doctor or health professional for advice before bathing in salt water.
If you feel dizzy, sick, or unwell when taking your bath, slowly get out, rest until you recover—and if concerned, contact a health professional. Sipping on a glass of water may alleviate adverse reactions.
When purchasing Himalayan salt, it is advisable to choose an ethical company committed to sustainable sourcing, which entails mining by hand instead of blasting.
~ Alex Myles
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Originally published on https://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/04/the-benefits-bliss-of-sleeping-beneath-the-stars-forest-bathing/