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These healing bath routines take self-care to the next level

Bathing Rituals

When you hear the words “bath ritual,” a glass of wine, candles, and a bubbly soak may come to mind. But bathing rituals have been around for centuries, taking on various forms over the years. Ancient Egyptians, Israelites, and Indians all soaked in rivers to promote healing, and ancient Greeks introduced the concept of taking thermal baths to achieve therapeutic aims. And, of course, numerous religions also have traditions that connect bathing to purification that exist today.

Healer Deborah Hanekamp, or “Mama Medicine” on Instagram, was struck by the potential of bathing for self-healing while she was training to become a shaman in the Peruvian Amazon. At the end of a particularly tough period of the training, Hanekamp’s teacher guided her through an experience involving a waterfall. Upon completion, “all of the darkness I had been living in washed away,” writes Hanekamp in her new book, Ritual Baths: Be Your Own Healer. “I stepped out of the shadow that I had been carrying, not just for those intense few days, but since my childhood. I finally found true light.”

Now, Hanekamp prescribes a self-healing bathing ritual at the end of every medicine reading she provides and shares bath “recipes” with her followers on Instagram. (BTW, Medicine readings are a healing practice that Hanekamp created in which she reads clients’ auras and provides guidance for self-healing.) For Ritual Baths, she’s compiled 57 recipes along with a breakdown of how to work with aura colours (aka a coloured energy field surrounding a person), moon phases, and astrology when planning a self-healing bathing ritual. The how-to’s incorporate elements such as salt, crystals, herbs, mantras, and breathing exercises, and each includes a suggested tea pairing you can sip on throughout the bath. You can make the bathing ritual as long or as short as you’d like; the book also includes optional opening and closing practices for when you have more time on your hands to spend soaking.

For a taste of how to use your bath time for self-healing, check out three of the recipes included in Ritual Baths below.

Creativity Bath

If you’re dealing with a creative block, Hanekamp suggests making small changes in your daily life to break up any monotony (such as repetition from working a nine to five) and to try this routine.

Tea pairing: Chai tea with basil

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 3 oranges, sliced into rounds
  • Leaves from 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • A pot of chai tea
  • One 8-ounce (225 grams) can of coconut milk
  • 10 drops each of vanilla and sweet orange essential oils
  • Citrine, moonstone, and carnelian crystals, or, ideally, vanilla bean orchids and a sapphire crystal

Routine:

  1. Place all the ingredients in the bath at a temperature of your choosing.
  2. Light a candle.
  3. Cleanse your aura with a selenite wand.
  4. Step into the bath and dunk your head underwater.
  5. Place a sapphire or moonstone crystal on your third eye (the centre of your forehead).
  6. Place a citrine on your belly.
  7. Take ten deep powerful breaths, inhaling the scents of your bath and exhaling.
  8. Release your jaw.
  9. Feel the energy, the pure energy, in your heart.
  10. Let that energy travel up your throat and out through your mouth, releasing the sound of your heart.
  11. Bathe in this sound. Bathe in the water.
  12. Ask all that you are soaking in and the light you carry within to send you creative inspiration.
  13. Soak in the medicine you’ve created.

Money Bath

Hanekamp believes that being grateful for what you have is key to improving your relationship with money. This bath “is designed to give you a moment to celebrate exactly where you are and reap the fruits of what you have sown,” she writes in the book.

Tea pairing: Tulsi tea

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Epsom Salt
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup peach juice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 3 fresh peaches, sliced
  • Pink rose petals
  • Moss agate, malachite, emerald, and citrine crystals

Routine:

  1. Place all the ingredients in the bath at a temperature of your choosing.
  2. Light a candle.
  3. Create a smudge using a cinnamon stick by putting it in a nonflammable tray of some kind and igniting it. Waft the smoke around your body using a feather you have found.
  4. Step into the bath and dunk your head underwater.
  5. With your head above water again, close your eyes and place both hands on your belly.
  6. Take a deep breath and, in your mind’s eye, see yourself exactly as you are sitting here in this bath, soaking in the water, with all these beautiful plants [basil leaves, peaches, rose petals] and stones around you.
  7. From that big beautiful heart of yours, send a wave of gratitude out for this moment. Breathe into that feeling.
  8. Then travel to the unseen aspects of this moment for you. Your home, the money that you do have, your belongings, your work, your family, your plants, and your precious animals. From that big beautiful heart of yours, send a wave of gratitude out for this moment. And breathe into that space.
  9. And again.
  10. And again.
  11. Sit and soak in the medicine you’ve created.

Judgment Release Bath

This bathing ritual was created to help you let go of unfair judgments about yourself, originating from within yourself or from others.

Tea pairing: Eucalyptus tea

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups Epsom salt
  • Fresh or dried eucalyptus
  • Pink rose petals
  • Polished celestite crystal
  • 10 drops of rose absolute essential oil

Routine:

  1. Place all the ingredients in the bath at a temperature of your choosing.
  2. Light a candle.
  3. Step into the bath and dunk your head underwater.
  4. Place the celestite crystal on your heart.
  5. For a moment let yourself hear your judgmental mind, even speaking judgments you know you have out loud.
  6. Feel the vibration those words have created.
  7. Then ask the saltwater to cleanse your spirit of the pain those judgments have caused.
  8. Dunk your head underwater again.
  9. Get out of the bath immediately.
  10. For the next few days after your bath, watch your inner dialogue very closely. Notice how much you judge throughout your day. Try to put yourself in check and keep repeating this bath until you find this powerful moment: When you go to voice your judgments, you don’t hear a thing.
  11. Then sit and soak in the medicine you’ve created.

Excerpted with permission from Ritual Baths: Be Your Own Healer by Deborah Hanekamp, published by Morrow Gift ©2020.

This story first appeared on www.shape.com

(Main and Feature Image Credit: Courtesy of Ashley Glynn)

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