No water, no life. No blue, no green.
Bathing has long been said to be good for our physical health. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that diabetes patients who spent thirty minutes in a tub of warm water lowered their blood sugar almost thirteen percent. Japanese research revealed that a ten-minute soak can improve the health of men and women. Bathing is good for the immune system and it decreases stress.
There’s a long history of using bathing medicinally. The term “balneotherapy” relates to spa treatment, hot baths and natural vapor baths. Resorts add minerals or essential oils to naturally-occurring hot springs. Balneotherapy is used for illnesses like arthritis, skin conditions and fibromyalgia. The term “hydrotherapy” is a part of medicine that uses water for pain relief and treatment. It uses the temperature and pressure of water therapeutically, to stimulate blood circulation and treat symptoms. Hydrotherapy often includes water jets, underwater massage and mineral baths or jacuzzis.
Four years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Triple negative breast cancer and I had to go through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation for 8 months. This was a challenging period and it brought a few things into clear focus for me: my self-care, my need for continued relaxation and a newfound desire to connect daily to Spirit. This was challenging as a busy psychologist and mother of two kids under 4 at the time. At first I could not take hot baths after radiation but after I started to recover, I was able to take regular baths again.
I found that the one place that my husband and kids left me alone, was in the bathroom. I was able to train them to give me 25 minutes of silence in there. This became my, ‘me time’ to integrate visualization, prayer, meditation and more. I developed this daily ritual and came to call it sacred bathing. This was a regular healing time and dream time.
Today most of us are under chronic stress, especially those of us with chronic illness. It is so important to take this time out for yourself. A sacred bath is your spiritual and emotional hygiene.
To create a sacred bath, clear your bathroom of extra clutter, light a candle, put in some Epsom salts, essential oils and an appropriate crystal into your bath water. You call in Spirit (whether that’s your Higher Self, God, the Goddess or your angels) to receive guidance while in the sacred waters. Then you make a prayer and state your intention. You relax in silence, do a specific meditation around your intention and listen for guidance. Afterwards, you journal about any inspiration you receive. This normally takes 25 minutes.
Below are 7 ways that taking a sacred bath can help you when you are experiencing chronic illness:
- It Connects You to Spirit So that You Feel Supported: When you feel lost or alone it can be helpful to connect to your Spirit and Higher Self. This wise part of you can see the bigger picture. It moves you beyond your ego and limitations so that you reconnect with your essence and remember that your Spirit is stronger than your body. This may not be true for everyone but it was very helpful to me. If I had a difficult surgery it would help me to know that my angels were with me. You can regularly connect to your Divine team through meditation and prayer.
- It Helps You to Be Present: Your sacred bath is a place to just be. In this sacred space you leave the past and future behind. You don’t have to think about that next doctor’s appointment or procedure. You can just relax, luxuriate in the essential oils and Epsom salt and surrender to the moment. When you practice this regularly in your sacred baths it can carry over as a reminder to be really present in each moment, outside the bath too.
- It Shifts You from Fear into Love: When you have chronic illness you can spend a lot of time in fear. When I was undergoing a lumpectomy surgery, chemo and radiation I was often concerned about getting an infection, being tired or in pain. Each procedure had a variety of complications. I knew that it wasn’t good for my immune system and mental health to spend a lot of time in worry. So, taking a sacred bath can be a time to wash all that fear down the drain and focus on soaking up the unconditional love of Spirit. You can use that time to focus on all the love in your life and what you are grateful for. Again, this practice can later be carried over into your days as well.
- It Shifts You Into Your Healing Nervous System: Often we handle stressors while in our Sympathetic nervous system, which handles “fight or flight.” We prepare for defense, followed by exhaustion. In contrast, our Parasympathetic nervous system rebuilds our body, stimulates digestion and aids physical and emotional healing. We enter this nervous system when we relax, like when we take a sacred bath. We can practice making this shift regularly in our sacred bath and then notice which nervous system we are in during our daily lives as well.
- It Washes Away Limiting Beliefs, Centering You in A Positive Frame of Mind: We all have fears, limiting beliefs and moods that stop us. In a sacred bath you picture all that negativity going down the drain, so that you’re only soaking up love around your intention. This energetic shift often leaves you feeling peaceful and inspired. This allows you to feel more hopeful instead of focusing on what might go wrong.
- It Connects You to Your Body: When we are going through chronic illness often we feel angry at our bodies for inconveniencing us and causing us pain. We may feel disconnected from our bodies and feel like doctors and people are working on them from the outside. But, no one affects our body more than us. Your sacred bath is your time to connect to your body and to ask it what it needs and listen for guidance. Sometimes we don’t make this time to slow down and listen. You can create regular time to hear and meet your body’s requests for more play, sleep, laughter, nature etcetera. You can also picture yourself being healthy, radiant and energetic and anchor those feelings in your body.
- It lets You Experience Pleasure & Relaxation Instead of Pain: Again, when you are chronically ill you may have to undergo surgeries, shots and painful procedures. Sometimes you may generalize this and feel like your whole life is about pain. Taking a sacred bath is pleasurable and sacred time for you to love yourself and your life again. You need to put in time for self-care, for dreaming positive things about your future and to look forward to on a regular basis.
I hope this process that has helped me will also be helpful to you. Remember that you are the hero/heroine of your story so you need to take good care of yourself and keep moving forward.
My Best in Love,