The original SPA was to detox and heal with the help of the curative powers of mineral water. In Egypt elaborate bath-rituals were acted out by the priests to cleanse themselves. The Romans and Greeks are widely known for their practice of baths and massages.The great Hippocrates (also called the Father of Medicine, doctors still take the “Hippocratic Oath“) once said; “The way to health is having a scented bath and a massage every day”. In Japan the bath-culture is a part of every-day life and in Arabic cultures there is the “Turkish bath” also called “Hammam”.
Essential oils, floral waters, herbs and oils have always been widely used for beauty and health within the bath-culture. Also used were honey, fermented milk and clays. Water-therapy was used; alternating the temperature of the water in specific patterns, also called Hydro-therapy.
Doing a SPA has plenty of benefits: It is detoxing, relaxing, up-lifting, helps with aches and pains and sleep-inducing. You don’t need an elaborate set-up with sauna, jacuzzi or pool to be able to benefit from a Spa-experience – all you need can be found in your own home. The recipes for the different products are listed at the end.
The first thing you need to do is disconnect the outside world – no phone, computer, television or radio. Put on some peaceful and relaxing music to set the mood. Make your bathroom beautiful; bring in some flowers and candles and make sure it is clean and warm. Float flower-petals in your bath.
Always start by drinking a detoxing tea, such as nettle-tea or green tea. It will start a detox-process in your body and also warm you up. The next step is to dry-brush your whole body (optional, but brilliant for skin and circulation.) you can also choose to do only the salt-rub. If you have sensitive skin choose only one option. The skin-brushing is to get your circulation going and is done cold. The salt-rub is to detox, since salt “pulls out” the toxins through your skin, and is done when you are warm and all the pores of the skin are open. The salt-rub will also peel away the top gray skin-layer, leaving your skin glowing. Don’t use salt-rub on your face or sensitive areas.
- If you have only a bath you now slip into the bath and relax for 10-20 minutes. Right before you get out is a good time to do your feet. Then you get out of the bath and rub your whole body with the salt-rub and rinse it off with tepid water, don’t use soap.
- If you have only a shower you shower first quickly with cold water (after body-brushing) and then as warm as you can. After that you rub your whole body with the salt-rub. Rinse it off with tepid water, don’t use soap.
- If you are lucky enough to have both bath and shower separated you start off by showering quickly with cold water after the body-brushing. Then you get in the bath and soak for 10-20 min. Right before you get out is a good time to do your feet. After bath, do the salt-rub and rinse off with tepid water, don’t use soap.
While bathing it is wonderful to use a face-mask and a hair-conditioner. Wash it off in the final shower. If you have only a shower, you do this before your treatment, leaving the mask and conditioner on until you rinse off the salt-rub.
Usually you don’t need any body lotion after the salt rub, since it leaves you smooth and “oiled”. But if you could not resist using soap, or you have very dry skin, you can massage lotion or body-oil into your skin. Pay attention to your feet! Do your facial care as usual; toner, oil and creme.
Now REST! At least 10 minutes. Put cool pads on your eyes, lie down – well covered so you stay warm – and allow yourself total peace and relaxation. Do your home-spa on days when you know that you will not be disturbed. Cleansing in this manner is exhausting to the body. You need time to allow your body to recuperate. Always finish with a nice cup of herbal tea with some honey and/or tepid lemon-water to strengthen your liver. Eat lightly; soup or steamed veggies are best. Stay away from alcohol, meat and bread-products. This way the spa-moment will give maximum benefits. As I said; The idea of the Spa is health more than beauty because HEALTH = BEAUTY.
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THE BATH:
- Relaxing: Lavender (lavandula augustifolia/l. officinalis), Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata), Cedarwood (cedrus atlantica), Orange (citrus sinensis/c. dulcis), Petit-grain(citrus aurantium, c. sinensis), Frankincense(boswellia carterii), Sweet Marjoram(origanum majorana), Rose-wood(aniba rosaeodora), Roman Chamomile(chamaemelum nobile), Vetivert(vetiveria zizanoides), Geranium(pelargonium graveolens).
- Detoxing, invigorating, strengthening: Lemon(citrus limon), Rosemary(rosmarinus officinalis), Pine(pinus sylvestris), Lemongrass(cymbopogon citratus), Black Pepper(piper nigrum) – careful if you have weak kidneys. Eucalyptus(eucalyptus globulus), Grapefruit(citrus x paradisi), Fennel(foeniculum vulgare).
Mix 5-10 drops of essential oils in 15ml (1 tablespoon) base: Honey, cream, unscented soap, vegetable oil, yoghurt. If you have sensitive skin, use a lower dosage. NOTE: If you seem to not smell the scents after a while, do not add more. Your nose has accustomed itself to the scent. If you leave the room for a few minutes and come back, you will smell the scent again.
SALT-RUB: You need to use high quality fine sea-salt. Cover the salt with vegetable oil; almond, apricot-kernel, grape-seed or a blend. For very dry skin mix in a bit of olive oil or shea-butter oil, they are heavier and will stay on the skin a bit longer. (Only use high quality cold-pressed veg. oils) Allow the salt to be saturated by the vegetable oil and then you can (optional) add essential oils; 5-10 drops/15ml (1 table-spoon). Lower doses for sensitive skin. The salt-rub will keep for up to 6 months. Don’t use salt-rub more than once a week. Remember that it takes the skin-cells ca 28 days to reach the surface; if you scrub (peel) to often it might cause dermatitis. (irritation or sensitivity)
HAIR-CONDITIONER: Make a blend of vegetable oils (see above) and add essential oils of choice; 2-5 drops / 15ml (1 tblspoon). Good oils for the scalp are: Dry hair: Lavender, Rosewood, Rosemary and Cedarwood, Geranium. Greasy hair: Use lighter vegetable oils such as grape-seed and Jojoba. Essential oils: Lemon, Lemongrass, Rosemary and Cedarwood, Geranium. Massage the blend into the hair and scalp, cover with a bath-cap or towel. When washing: Always put schampo in first, then rinse. Then wash as normal.
Clay: Green (greasy skin, acne), pink (dry skin, sensitive), white (allround). Mix with water and some vegetable oil, yoghurt and/or honey. Add essential oils if you wish; 2 dr/15ml (1 tblspn). It is better to use calming essential oils in a clay-mask: Lavender, Rosewood, Orange, Cedar, Roman Chamomile, Geranium. Apply the mask on clean face and let sit 3-10 minutes. Note: Clays are rather active and can create redness if left too long.
Pastes: Use your imagination; Banana, avocado, cucumber, oatmeal, green tea, vegetable oils, yoghurt, honey. Just mix your ingredients into a paste and apply. These masks are usually better to use if the skin is very sensitive. You can also add some clay for consistence.
If you are interested in more home-made beauty recipes please check out this great site: mybeautyrecipes.com.
Enjoy your home-spa, give yourself time-out and luxury without spending a fortune and be good to yourself. You will look absolutely stunning!