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  • Enjoying the Benefits of Hydrotherapy

    by Liz Koch

    Long before indoor plumbing, bathing was a
    highly regarded form of renewal and relaxation.
    The ancient Greeks constructed great
    bath halls; the Roman’s built elaborate baths
    of marble and gold. The Japanese and
    Koreans long revered the bath, or ofuro,
    elevating it into an art form.

    Throughout the world people have established
    sacred bathing rituals in recognition of the
    healing power of water. Within our own homes
    and community we too can enjoy the
    benefits of hydrotherapy. Santa Cruz is
    home to several hot tub and bathing spas
    dedicated to enjoying the benefits of bathing.
    At home using fresh and dried herbs,
    essential essences, sea and mineral salts, oats
    and oils can transform any bath from simply a means of cleanliness
    into a deeply healing experience.

    Bath salts pull toxins, stimulate the skin and balance the electrical system. Sea salt returns us to the sea, feeding our cellular memory. The common mineral salt product Epson salts found in every drug, food and health food store not only sooths tight aching muscles but calms and relaxes nerves and emotional stress.

    Combined or used alone fresh and or dried herbs offer array of healing benefits; stimulating, soothing, decongesting, uplifting. Chamomile well known for its calming effects as an herbal tea when added to the bath continues to enhance a sense of wellbeing. Chamaimelon or “earth apple” was well known to the ancient Greeks” writes Barbara Close author of WELL BEING: Rejuvenating Recipes for Body and Soul. “Its sedative properties have been used for centuries to treat insomnia and anxiety.” A combination of peppermint, sage, eucalyptus and calendula flowers offer to uplift and invigorate; opening the pores, increasing elimination, soothing the skin and refreshing the digestion.

    For those without a bath tub, a hot herbal foot soak is an excellent way to pull tension out of the head, sooth the feet and stimulate circulation. National herbalist Rosemary Gladstar explains” all of the nerves in the entire body pass through the feet and hands, making them a map of our inner being…in fact, soaking your feet in a warm bath while resting with a cold pack on your head will often stop a migraine in its tracts.” In her book FAMILY HERBAL: A Guide to Living Life with Energy, Health and Vitality she recommends using mustard powder, ginger, sage or rosemary for your foot bath.

    Whether preparing a whole body bath or a foot bath soak prepare the herbs ahead of time. This keeps the drain from getting clogged and makes for simple clean up. Use cheese cloth bags filled with herbs like a large tea bag slung over the spout lets hot water release the properties into your bath. Or in a large pot filled with water place your herbs and let simmer over a low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and pour into your bathwater or into a large basin. Adjust the temperature with cold water. If using bath salts, simply add directly into the bath. Swish and enjoy.

    Taken From Flower Essence Repertory

    by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz:

    Calendula ( Calendua Officinalis)

    Positive qualities: healing warmth and receptivity, especially in the use of the spoken word and in dialogue with others.

    Patterns of imbalance: Using cutting or sharp words; argumentative, lack of receptivity in communication with others.

    The Calendula flower imparts a warm, golden light of healing for those souls who must learn to use “the Word” as a truly creative spiritual force. ….Calendula flower essence helps those whose innate creative potential to use the spoken word often deteriorates into arguments and misunderstandings…

    California Wild Rose (Rosa Californica)

    Positive qualities; Love for the Earth and for human life, enthusiasm for doing and serving

    Patterns of imbalance: Apathy or resignation, inability to catalyze will forces through the heart.

    California wild rose is among the most beautiful and fundamental of flower remedies, for it helps the soul to incarnate and really take hold of its responsibilities and tasks on Earth. It is often said that hate is not the opposite of love, only a distortion of it. Rather it is apathy which is the true polarity of love. The ability to really care and to give oneself to life, to others and to the Earth characterizes a truly loving soul. ….California Wild rose stimulates the love forces of the heart, so that the soul finds enthusiasm for earthly life, worldly tasks and human relationships.