The self-care practice of bathing has been around for a long time. The Great Bath, found in the Indus Valley in the lost city of Mohenjo-daro, was believed to have been built around 2500 BC and thought to have been used as a temple. Since then bathhouses, or bathing, have continued to be central to religious and spiritual practices in addition to being used for communal washing, places rich in medicinal and healing properties and even somewhere to socialise.
Bathing is a tradition firmly rooted in and continues to be practiced by cultures across the world.
Onsen, or hot spring, are natural hot water baths rich in minerals. Though you will find many indoor bathing facilities, being volcanically active, there are thousands of naturally occurring hot springs across Japan’s islands too. Loaded with minerals, these waters are believed to hold numerous health benefits, such as relieving pain, treating skin problems and increasing blood circulation.
The water in these baths from the thousands of hot springs that run below is said to be so powerful it is prescribed by Hugarian doctors as a treatment for joint problems and asthma, and there are even certain baths only available with a prescription. The baths in Hungary are on the more social side and here you can enjoy a game of chess while you bathe.
Indian Ayurvedic baths
Described as an alternative medicine rooted in a traditional system of medicine in India and centred round integrating the mind, body and spirit. Ayurvedic bathing rituals can vary slightly depending on your spiritual category, or dosha, however the goal is the same: to return to balance.
There’s also Turkish hammams, Russian banya, Korean jimjilbang, geothermal pools in Iceland and flower baths in Bali.
Though we may not be able to experience these ourselves at the moment, we can appreciate what they demonstrate is the powerful ability for water to purify, heal and restore our minds and bodies. When combined with mindful and intentional practices, the positive effects are even greater.
So take this as your reminder to have that candlelit bath or longer than you normally would shower. You could even try adding some epsom salts or an essential oil. Create your own at-home ritual around bathing. Both mental and physical, the overall wellbeing benefits are significant. A simple, easy and thoroughly tested way to re-centre, re-balance and return to yourself.