Thankful Thursday

On this national day of thanksgiving, I am grateful for hot water. More specifically, hot water in a bath tub.

It is a luxury second to none. To while away an hour or two doing nothing is pure bliss. But wait: don’t think it is a waste of time.

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Hot baths help relieve the itchiness of psoriasis (add coconut or olive oil, soak for 10 minutes or less daily); soothe dry winter skin (add a sock or old piece of hosiery with oatmeal in with oil); helps you go to sleep (a warm bath before bed temporarily raises your body temperature, after which it gradually lowers in the cooler air, cuing your body to feel sleepy); boosts your brainpower if you add essential oils (sage and rosemary sharpen memory, bergamot and lavender reduces stress); wards off colds (helps soothe stuffy nasal passages); and reduces inflammation in the body and helps to cure skin infections caused by bacteria (add 1 to 2 cups raw organic apple cider vinegar that contains sediment on the bottom).

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In my book, no bath is complete without salt. The more the better. I once had the opportunity to float in the waters of the Dead Sea (swimming isn’t allowed. Getting the caustic water on your face would be quite painful. The water is so buoyant due to the concentration of minerals, reclining in a semi-sitting position keeps your head and shoulders above the surface). Located between Israel and Jordan in the Middle East, the Dead Sea has been renowned for its therapeutic effects since ancient times. The water from the Dead Sea is unique in that they contain 27% of various salts (compared to 3% in normal sea water). Sodium accounts for approximately 80% of the salt content of normal sea water, it comprises much less of the salt total in water from the Dead Sea. The rest of the salts in Dead Sea water are magnesium, potassium, calcium chloride and bromides. Studies show Magnesium is important for both combating stress and fluid retention, slowing skin aging and calming the nervous system. Calcium is effective at preventing water retention, increasing circulation and strengthening bones and nails. Potassium energizes the body, helps to balance skin moisture and is a crucial mineral to replenish following intense exercise. Bromides act to ease muscle stiffness and relax muscles. Sodium is important for the lymphatic fluid balance (this in turn is important for immune system function). So we can see that bathing in high quality sea salt could replenish the minerals which are critical to our skin metabolism. Patients treated with baths of 7.5%, 2% or 0.5% Dead Sea salt concentration found improvement after as little as a week of treatment for those treated with 7.5% or 2% salt baths. By the study's end, 80% of the patients reported less pain; 70% experienced improved mobility and 60% were able to decrease their use of analgesics.

Of course no bath is complete without a fizzy ball (made with lots of salts) and a fizzy beverage in my glass (champagne anyone?). A good book is a must. When the stress of the holidays is starting to get to you, lock the bathroom door and spend at least twenty minutes on yourself.

The only thing that could improve this delightful experience would be chocolate.

Hop over to my friend P J Fiala's blog.

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