I had great plans for last weekend. Hiking at a beautiful state park, brunch with a local friend, and tea with a friend visiting from out of town. I had it all planned, from a cute new hiking outfit and reservations at an amazing brunch spot. I was very excited about the perfectly warm weather and looking forward to barring some skin. But, life happened and I spent the weekend in bed with the covers pulled over my head. What I initially hoped was allergies turned out to be a cold or a mild flu complete with body aches and the desire to do nothing by lay in bed.
After three days, my body was slowly getting better, but I hurt. Everywhere. The body aches were awful. I felt like my mattress, was beating me up so I moved to couch. The couch beat me up so I moved to the floor. The floor was…the floor, so I literally got up and started pacing in the hallway, hoping that improving my circulation would ease my pain. Just as I was wondering how much pain medicine I could safely take, I remembered the ginger detox bath.
I keep ginger on hand because it’s one of my favorite flavors. I use it in my oatmeal, my world-famous apple spice muffins and many other dishes to add a warm and cozy flavor. Because warm and cozy is a flavor. Ginger also has amazing detox properties. In the Ayurveda tradition, its used as an anti-inflammatory. I’d heard ginger come us as an ingredient in detox baths several times in recent months so I figured now was the time to give it a try.
I filled my bathtub up with hot water and added my usual Epsom salt soak and baking soda. After there was a fair amount of water in the tub, I tossed in several tablespoons of powdered ginger. Once the tub was full, I grabbed some water, a book, turned off the lights and waited for the water to cool to a temperature I could stand.
Initially, I was turned off by the color of the water. It was the yellowish-brown tint you’d expect after you just put ginger in there but it wasn’t a color I was excited to soak in. Also, some of the ginger made its way to the inner edge of the tub creating a ring so I felt the need to periodically re-incorporate the bits into the water. After a few minutes, I began to sweat and carefully recall if I’d drank enough water in the recent days. After about 10 minutes, my body began to relax and I was sweating profusely, also not different from any other hot bath I’ve had.
After about 35 minutes, I had finished about 12 ounces of water and was ready to get out. I rinsed off, wrapped up I’m my fluffiest towel and got back in the bed, which ironically, wasn’t beating me up anymore. Then, once I heard the bathtub drain completely, I went back to rinse out the yellowish-brown ginger bits because eww. I didn’t scrub it though. I promise. I was sick. Scrubbing could wait. Then I got back in bed, completely dry by this point. About 5 minutes after I laid down, I noticed that although I had completely dried off, I was still sweating. I was sweating enough for my skin to feel damp to the touch, which was not something I’ve experienced with my unusual Epsom salt soak. Though my skin was moist, I was relaxed comfortable enough to comfortable sleep for a few hours. When I woke up, I took a proper warm shower to wash away dirt and toxins.
So, did it work? I guess that depends on how we define ‘work’. I sweated a lot so there was some level of detoxification. My skin was super soft and I could relax enough to get through the evening without the misery of an aching body. Did get rid of me the virus? Nope. No amount of detox bathing is good enough to rid the body of a virus that’s already settled in. The bath did provide some temporary relief to the body aches and the general feeling of being sick. So, I’d describe it as a way to treat cold or flu symptoms, not as a cold or flu remedy. Would I recommend it? Sure. If you are cleared by your doctor, I’d recommend you consider adding the ginger detox bath to your wellness arsenal. At the very least, you get the benefits of a good sweat and that alone might be worth the price of admission.
Here is the recipe I used:
1/2 cup Epsom salt soak (Epsom salt and a few drops of jasmine essential oil)
1/4 cup baking soda
3 tablespoons of Indian ginger powder
Have you tried any other detox baths? How did they work out for you?