Before electricity, running water, air conditioning or other of our many modern conveniences, the bath was a luxury within reach of many. Greeks and Romans alike would bathe themselves, the Romans even making baths into community centers for discussion, recreation, and cleanliness.
Today, bathing is a more solitary activity, but the health and cleanliness benefits still remain. Also known as hydrotherapy, time in the tub has well documented positive effects, including improved management of pain, reduction of anxiety, asthma relief and many other conditions, as reported by one study in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences.
Furthermore, herbal baths carry with them even greater health benefits than a pool of warm water. Known as balneotherapy, or the use of “tub tea,” this mix of hydrotherapy and aromatherapy uses the essential oils from herbs and flowers, like lavender, rosemary or stinging nettles, to aid in relaxation or create analgesic, antiseptic or sedative properties.
Other natural ingredients like oatmeal, can be used in these tubs, prized for its skin benefits for those with eczema or other dry, itchy skin conditions. This is particularly effective when ground into a fine powder, known by the name colloidal oatmeal.
For the cold months to come, baths, and specifically soaks with tub tea, can help with any of the above conditions , in addition to increasing your core body temperature when the cold creeps into your bones.
A quick search on tub tea will reveal that lavender is a part of a vast amount of these herbal baths—and for good reason. As a topical treatment, lavender is absorbed quickly through the skin. A combination of daily baths and the use of lavender oil, as is released through tub tea, was found to relieve daily stresses in a study of women by England’s University of Wolverhampton.
The setup for balneotherapy fairly minimal—simply run a warm bath, placing the tub tea bag in the water as it fills. The herbal sachet should steep in the water for about five minutes, at which point you can feel free to remove it or leave it in the water with you. Simply sink down, settle in, soak and enjoy every splendid second.
For those interested in trying tub tea for themselves, Belli Fiori carries our own blend of lavender, chamomile flowers, and colloidal oatmeal. Come by the farmhouse, try one of our seasonal pumpkin lavender muffins, bring a tub tea home, and take part in an age old ritual that nourishes body, mind, and soul.