For thousands of years, salt baths have been highly prized medicinal therapies. Hippocrates (460-370 BC) first discovered the therapeutic qualities of seawater and salt baths when he saw their healing effects on the injured hands of fisherman – quelling both infection and pain.
The ancient Greeks recommended seaside health resorts to cure skin diseases and the revered 16th century doctor and alchemist Paracelsus even proclaimed that salt baths were ‘better than all the health spas arising out of nature’.
The healing powers of salt baths are still valued to the present day thanks to countless well-documented health benefits. And when choosing a salt to soak in, the pure pink Himalayan variety reigns supreme!
Here are some of the benefits you can expect when you immerse yourself in a Himalayan salt bath:
1. Relax & De-Stress
Soothing warm baths are one of life’s little pleasures. They help melt away the day’s worries and pressures, allowing you to switch off your mind and enjoy some peace. They’re also the perfect excuse to enjoy a glass of wine, or finish off that novel you started months ago!
Research backs up the stress relieving effects of bathing. In fact, enjoying a mineral bath is a type of therapy – known as balneotherapy. And what is full of minerals? Himalayan pink salt of course (check out all its impressive benefits here)!
Dr. Michael R. Irwin, director of UCLA’s Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and the Mindful Awareness Research Center says that just thirty minutes of relaxation can greatly affect how you’re going to deal with the rest of your day. Irwin claims there are huge benefits to stillness in the moment when bathing – it encourages profound relaxation, resets your physiology, regulates some stress hormones, helps with concentration and reduces tension.
2. Get Mineralized
Because Himalayan pink salt is so mineral rich, soaking in a solution of salt and water helps to instill the skin and body with minerals.
In a process known as dermal absorption, the skin soaks up minerals from the water – sometimes even better than if we consumed the same minerals!
Containing numerous minerals that are important for our health – including calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc – Himalayan pink salt is one of the best things to soak in.
3. Detoxify Your Body
It’s estimated that we come into contact with anywhere between 700,000 and 2.1 million different toxic chemicals a day!
A 2012 study, carried out at the University of California, indicates that the average person is regularly being exposed to cancerous levels of toxins like arsenic, dioxins, and DDE – with 100% of children tested exceeding cancer benchmark levels for these chemicals.
When we bathe in a Himalayan pink salt solution, we help to pull some of these toxins out of our skin through a process called reverse osmosis.
4. Ease Your Aches & Pains
Those who suffer with painful arthritis, sore or pulled muscles, stiff joints or a variety of other aches and pains will benefit enormously from a Himalayan pink salt water bath.
In 2012, scientists found that regularly bathing in this saline solution can help reduce the inflammation, and therefore the pain, associated with arthritis and similar conditions.
Thirty years earlier, Israeli researchers discovered that soaking in salt baths gave those with muscle pain both relief and greater mobility – something to keep in mind the next time you do one squat too many!
And unlike conventional drugs for these ailments, there are no unpleasant side-effects!
5. Sleep Like a Baby
If you’re one of the 60 million Americans who suffer from occasional or long-term sleep problems, you should give Himalayan pink salt baths a go.
Because of their proven stress relieving and inflammation fighting abilities, a salt bath can help you relax and wind-down before bedtime.
And a 1997 study conducted by New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center highlights even more reasons to take a bath before bed. Because body temperature naturally drops at night – beginning two hours before sleep – a soak in a hot tub causes body temperature to rise. This leads to a rapid cool-down period immediately afterwards which serves to relax you and prepare your body for sleep.
Add lavender essential oil to the tub for even more sleep-promoting power.
6. Deep Clean Your Skin
Hippocrates was on to something when he noticed that fishermen’s damaged hands avoided infection after exposure to salt water. Salt has antibacterial and antiseptic properties making it a useful therapy for those with eczema, acne or psoriasis.
The mineral content of a Himalayan salt bath can help maintain the protective barrier of the skin, while allowing it to hold in hydration – as is evidenced by the fact that your skin won’t wrinkle or prune after a salty dip. This is especially good news for those who avoid baths due to flaky or tight skin!
7. Stimulate Circulation
Have you ever experienced a ‘dead leg’, numbness of the limbs, a feeling of coldness in your extremities or one of these other warning signs of poor circulation?
If so, a warm salt bath could be just what you need. It will cause your arteries and veins to expand, which gives more space for blood to flow. It’s just a temporary fix but, when used in conjunction with these other circulation-boosting ideas, it can get you on the path to full health again.
It’s also a useful trick for those who want to get rid of their cellulite – another problem which is caused by poor blood circulation.
(Speak to your doctor before undertaking any kind of balneotherapy if you suffer from weak or poor heart circulation).
8. Clear Your Sinuses & Experience Respiratory Relief
In both balneotherapy and thalassotherapy, inhaling steam from salt water is an established treatment for acute and chronic respiratory problems.
So if you’re suffering with sinus infections, a blocked nose, allergies or a chesty cough, run a nice warm bath and sit back and enjoy the healing vapors. For added relief, a few drops of eucalyptus oil will act as a powerful decongestant, and even help control a cough.
9. Beat Bloating
While Epsom salt baths seem to get all the credit for helping combat water retention and stop bloating, Himalayan pink salt baths are just as effective.
These salts work by drawing water (along with toxins) out of the body resulting in a temporarily slimmer waist and reduced thigh size. A quick ten-minute bath with added Himalayan salt before an event or big occasion should be all you need to see the inches come off…Dr. Oz and countless celebrities all recommend it!
10. Soothe Bites & Blisters
With antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s not surprising that a Himalayan salt bath will soothe painful or itchy insect bites and blisters. Research has also documented relief from poison ivy and poison oak.
The next time a rogue mosquito gets the better of you, or your feet are blistered from new shoes, take a quick dip and experience near-immediate relief.
How to Have A Himalayan Pink Salt Bath
Now that you’re sold on the benefits of this therapeutic bath, here’s how to do it right!
Firstly, to get the full benefits of this natural crystal salt, it’s vital that the bath has the right ratio of salt to water. According to Dr. Mercola ‘the salt concentration has to be at least the same as the one of your body fluids (approximately 1%) to activate the osmotic exchange ratio’. This equates is 1.28 ounces of salt per gallon of water.
Secondly, the temperature matters too! Many people take baths that are hot, rather than warm, but that’s not going to give the best results. When taking a saltwater bath, aim to get the temperature as close to body temperature as you can. That’s approximately 37° Celsius or 97° Fahrenheit. Mercola explains that the bath will remain at a constant temperature as the biophysical composition of the salt is so strong that it causes the molecules to move in a constant rhythm!
A 20 to 30 minute bath is all you need to realize many of the benefits listed above (although if you’re just looking to reduce bloating, ten minutes will do). When you get out of the tub, just dry off with a towel – there’s no need to rinse the salt solution from your skin.
It’s recommended you rest for at least 30 minutes after bathing – which is why a bath before bedtime is such a good idea. For added hydration and relaxation, make sure to sip on a glass of water or herbal tea.
Want to try a Himalayan salt bath for yourself? You can buy Himalayan Bath Salts from this page on Amazon.
Adding Essential Oils
While some salt bath purists insist the tub should be free from oils and further additives, others experience a therapeutic boost when they add certain essential oils to the mix.
If you’d like to add a few drops of oil to your Himalayan pink salt bath – or to your essential oil diffuser, choose your oil based on what you’re trying to achieve. The below list is a good guide to get you started:
- Relaxation & Stress Relief – lavender, angelica, jasmine or any of these anti-anxiety oils
- Soothe Aches & Pains – peppermint, rosemary, thyme, clove
- Sleep Aid – lavender, chamomile, cedar wood or any of these oils for sleep
- Skin Health – tea tree, geranium, rose
- Circulation – lemon, orange, grapefruit
- Respiratory Relief – eucalyptus, thyme, rosemary
Need any of these essential oils to add to your collection? This gorgeous set from Eden’s Garden contains everything you will need.
A Word of Caution
While salt baths have some very beneficial effects, they can place extra pressure on the circulatory system. Those who suffer from weak or poor heart circulation should always consult their doctor first.
Likewise, those with diabetes, low or high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney or liver disease, adrenal exhaustion, recent illness, pregnancy, nervous system deficiencies and severe fatigue should all seek advice on salt water bathing.
Finally, if you feel dizzy, sick or otherwise unwell when taking your bath, slowly get out and rest until you recover. Sipping on a cool glass of water should also help.