External Baths

Taking a bath regularly for the first two months of the GAPS diet has been the only way we have survived the first stages of this diet. Two weeks into the diet I went back to work for a couple weeks. I hadn’t been able to work for the previous three years after getting a serious case of typhoid that completely destroyed my intestinal lining. The diet finally gave me enough energy to be able to spend 8 hours standing and cooking all day again. But I was tired and came home and got right in the bath every night.

My favourite bath at the moment consists of approximately:

  • 1 c epsom salts
  • 1/2 c apple cider vinegar (Braggs)
  • 3-4 drops manuka oil
  • 3-4 drops rosemary oil

If I am feeling extra tired, headachy or grumpy I will add a couple tablespoons of bentonite clay.

As mentioned in the post about dry skin brushing, the skin is a major organ of elimination, a hot bath opens up the pores and stimulates sweating which helps to rid the body of toxins through the skin and lymphatic system. This gives a huge relief to the other detoxifying organs of the body such as the lungs, kidney and liver. Ridding the body of toxins in this way helps to free up the body to do the healing work instead of spending that energy dealing with excess toxins.

Adding herbs, oils, salts, enzymes, mineral, clay or mud and other therapeutic ingredients adds to the benefits of the sweating that is stimulated. It is good to make sure to drink enough liquid before or after taking a bath as the sweating can dehydrate the body. It is recommended to take about 20 minute baths, but generally I am in there for longer than 20 minutes and it doesn’t seem to have harmed me ;-p. There are various recipes suggested with different combinations of oils and herbs which can be helpful for different problems. Manuka oil is helpful for fungal conditions and rosemary oil is helpful for improving circulation – and I just love the smell! Lavender is very relaxing.

Powdered ginger is another addition I have seen recommended, as well so I will have to try that out sometime. Ginger is also very good for circulation in general. I also like to add in some of this bright green Chinese oil that is used for headaches and other muscle pains and comes under various brands, Eagle is one of them. This oil is great to add to the water for muscle pains or if you have blocked sinuses as it opens up the chest. Don’t put in too much though or it will burn your sensitive parts! A couple drops is plenty.

Epsom salts are good for inflamed joints and gout, for tired muscles and for neutralizing and eliminating acids from the body. They help to draw poisons out through the skin and makes your skin soft. They also help to balance your cell salts.

Bentonite clay has a unique molecular structure that has a negative electrical attraction for positively charged toxins and draws out poisons and heavy metals from the body. It has been found to be helpful for kids with autism to have regular baths in bentonite clay. Bentonite can also be drunk, but putting it is a bath is just as effective for people who cannot stomach swallowing clay. I personally have found bentonite to be a very powerful detoxifying element. The past few years I have been getting migraines and cyclical vomiting syndrome very severely, I finally figured out that these were caused by toxic build up and if I take regular baths I can avoid these problems. Even a sip of a teaspoon of bentonite clay mixed in a cup of water can make me feel better within 20 minutes when I can’t keep anything else down, and this is a vital ingredient in my home these days. I highly recommend it. I have never had any side effects from drinking the clay either.

Apple cider vinegar is a well known traditional home remedy and is extremely useful. It is also helpful for fungal conditions and soaking in this will help with providing a protective mantle for the skin and maintain the pH balance of your skin. Vinegar is also good for bruises (remember the vinegar and brown paper poultice from the Jack and Jill rhyme?) so cider vinegar is also good if you bruise easily or have other types of inflammation. Click Here! for more information about apple cider vinegar.

One of my favourite books with a few great bath recipes:
The Ancient Cookfire by Carrie L’Esperance

Great article on Epsom salts and how to use them

Back to Methods of Detoxification.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Chris

    This is so helpful. I haven’t bothered to take Epsom baths, not understanding the benefit. Now I do and have scheduled baths for myself. Thanks for the info!

  2. Scott

    I just came across that chinese oil for the first time a couple weeks ago. It is very strong stuff. From the smell I think it must be wintergreen oil. I like using it just as a scented oil rather than on the skin myself.

    I’m also curious where you get the clay. I remember seeing it in a health food store once awhile back, but don’t remember where.

    1. hellaD

      Yeah it is strong. I will have to remember to take a photo and put it up.

      I have been getting bentonite clay from health food stores. They often have it in their bulk bins. In particular I have gotten it from the Vegan health food store that also has a great vegan bakery attached to it. I can’t remember the name of it but it is on Commercial drive right next to the entrance to Britannia, hope that helps! I think you can also get it online from various places.

  3. Janet

    Where do you get the clay in Vancouver out of curiosity?

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