We don’t think there’s a better feeling than finally slipping into a hot bath, it’s like waves of stress, anxiety and soreness leave your body. You feel rejuvenated and at peace. After a long day at the office, chasing kids around, or whatever it is that keeps you busy - it's a dream to take a long hot bath (and pour a glass of wine, depending on how your day was)!
In fact, Joyce Walsleben, PhD, associate professor at New York University School of Medicine states, “if you raise your temperature a degree or two with a bath, the steeper drop at bedtime is more likely to put you in a deep sleep”.
Without getting too scientific, the circadian rhythm – which controls our waking, sleeping and eating cycles – is incredibly attuned to our body temperature. As our bodies cool down after finishing a warm bath, our circadian rhythm is signalled to begin making us sleepier. The drop in body temperature causes our body to slow down our heart rate, breathing rate and digestion – getting our bodies into the perfect rhythm for optimal sleep.
From East to West, bath rituals are practiced all over the world. We took a look at some of the hard hitters who know bathing.
In Turkey, bathing is a semi-religious ritual in which purifying the body goes hand-in-hand with purifying the soul. Mohammed himself enthusiastically endorsed sweat baths around 600AD, and hamams (as Turkish baths are known) are a kind of annex to the mosque, often featuring elaborate domes and ornate architectural elements which emphasise an atmosphere of sanctity and reflection.
The centrepiece of the hamam is a hot stone slab where bathers loosen up and undergo a five-step purifying ritual: the warming of the body, an extremely vigorous massage, the scraping of skin and hair, soaping, and finally, relaxation.
In Finland, it’s not a bath, it’s a sauna - the Finnish have always been a little different. Finland is home to the sauna, or, “sweat bath”; they’re fundamental to Finnish life – a means of mitigating the brutally harsh climate and preventing colds, relieving muscle aches, alleviating depression, and cleansing the skin.
It’s said that sauna is the Finnish pharmacy. The ritual begins by warming and breaking into a sweat while inhaling löyly (brich vapor) and “whisking” one’s body with birch branches. The bather uses the whisk to beat himself lightly, raising blood circulation in the skin and upping perspiration. After an extended sweat, the bather may take a soap-less, lukewarm shower; cool off in the open air; roll in the snow; or take a dip in frigid waters.
Japan’s bathing culture originates in its topography. Named onsen, the country’s 25,000 natural hot springs include bathing customs that date back thousands of years. Soaking, steaming, dry heat – the same attention, care, and consideration applied to food, tea, and transportation are brought to bathing, which is treated as a leisurely, meditative, and sensual daily ritual, generally taking place in the evening before dinner.
The typical Japanese bathing room has a deep cypress tub; a window for contemplation of nature; a handheld, wall mounted “shower”; and wooden buckets and stools. Japanese bathing is unique in that the bather is clean before dipping a toe in the tub. The ritual begins with a soapy scrub while sitting on a wooden stool to rinse away dirt, followed by immersion in the tub for a leisurely soak to open pores, followed by another rinse and a final, longer soak.
So, ready for bath? Feel the full effect of relaxation with our Bath Soaks, filled with magnesium to relax muscles, bicarbonate of soda to assist cell regeneration and the incredible aromatherapy benefits of lavender or rose.