Bath is said to increase appetite, life span and sexual desire. It strengthens the sense organs. It also removes itching, sweat, dirt, drowsiness, burning and sin too.
Ayurveda, the holistic science of well-being, emphasizes Sadvritha, i.e. daily conduct to maintain good health. If a person follows strict dinacharya (daily regimen) and ritucharya (seasonal regimen), he will live longer minus any dreadful diseases, say classical Ayurveda texts.
Sage Susruta has said that bathing eliminates heat, fatigue, sweat, itching, and thirst. Apart from this, it strengthens the heart and cleanses the sense organs. It removes drowsiness and helps improve blood circulation and energy. And it also improves the vitality of the body.
Usually people, due to their ignorance, don’t give bath its due. . That is one of the reasons for their getting entrapped in diseases. Several things have to be kept in mind when we have a bath, especially regarding using water and soap. The quality of water, whether it is cold or hot, quality of soaps, the ingredients in the soap, etc are crucial.
Ayurveda concept Ayurveda says the skin is governed by three subdoshas- vyanavata, brajaka pitha and shleshaka ka pha. Vyanavata controls circulation, brajaka pitha governs the metabolic and biochemical activity of the skin and shleshaka kapha is responsible for maintaining moisture balance. The cleansing material should not aggravate any of these subdoshas.
The avabasini layer (first layer of epidermis) gives lustre and colour to the skin as it contain melanoblasts i.e. skin colour pigments.
How to have bath?
Ayurveda prescribes many ways of bath for different body constitutions and, depending upon the health conditions of various agegroups. Generally, abhyangam (oil bath) is the ideal option, as it is beneficial to the body in many ways. For example, a hot bath will eliminate the toxins accumulated in the body through the skin pores.
Adding herbs to the bathing water enhances the quality of water and aids better absorption and detoxification of the skin and acts against bacteria and fungi. Herbs are added depending upon the requirements. For example, siddarthaka snanam is indicated in kushta. If a person has excessive sweat and bad smell, spices are used.
For healthy people
The Friday oil bath with the application of turmeric was sacred for South Indian women, as it helps in having a beautiful skin and hairless body.
For a healthy person, Ayurveda texts advise therapeutic baths using petals of rose, milk, honey, sandal and turmeric, and for patients bath with medicinal herbs such as vitex negundo (nirgundi), azadirachta indica (neem) or ricinus communis(eranda).
For women The practice of women using turmeric for bath is centuries-old. The juice of raw turmeric, added with water, increases the glow of the skin. It is also believed that regular bathing in water containing turmeric reduces the growth of body hair. The Friday oil bath with the application of turmeric was sacred for South Indian women, as it helps in having a beautiful skin and hairless body. A bath with fragrant herbs is indicated before sex because smell plays a very important role in sex.
Aged people should have bath everyday, weather permitting. In winter, it is better to skip bath. Bath with water in which nirgundi leaves are boiled is ideal, as it prevents not only early ageing but also gives good relief to muscle and bone dis- orders and other health problems like arthritis, spondylosis, slipped disc, sciatica and paralytic conditions.
After every Panchakarma therapy, a bath in lukewarm water is advised for good absorption of the oil and strengthening of the body. Mix shikakai, hibiscus, rita and amalaki powder in equal quantity with water to make a paste and apply it on the head. It gives a soothing effect to the head and generates a positive attitude.
Bathing should start from the head. Pouring hot water on the body below the head is strengthening, while pouring it over the head diminishes the strength of the hairs and eyes. Bathing should not be done without wetting the head, with very little water or with very cold water. How long should one bathe? As long as one feels comfortable. The individual body type determines the ideal pressure, flow, temperature and ingredients. The determining factor is that one should feel good during and after the therapeutic bath.
- Vata type: Hot water boiled with the leaves of vitex negundo (nirgundi), eranda, shigru, rasna bala, etc, can be used. Prior to this, warm oil massage over the body is needed. This instantly relieves body pain, tiredness and dryness and smoothens skin, increases lustre and tones and enhances blood circulation.
- Pitha type: In this type, use the plants and leaves of azadirachta indica (neem), vetiveria zizanioides (usheera), sandalwood, rubia cordifolia (manjishta), cynodon dactylon (durva), cassia fistula (aragvadha) and petals of rose or lotus flowers, etc. Besides, have oil massage with neem, sandalwood, ksheerabala, Indian gooseberry, etc. This will improve the lustre, glow and cooling effect of the skin and blood circulation and cures skin diseases.
- Kapha type: In this type, instead of oil massage, it is beneficial to undertake udawarthana, i.e. external powders applications like kolakuluttha choornams, pancha kola choornams, yava choornams and shonti powder. By doing this, fats and excessive toxins will be expelled from the skin layers.
- Kapha-Pitha: In this type of constitution, anushna sheeta, i.e., not too hot or too cold, quality products can be used. They are red sandalwood, lavang, giloya, azadirachta indica (neem), cassia fistula (aragvadha), etc. These are beneficial for skin allergies, burns and other skin infections.
- Vata-Kapha: Here, hot water boiled with leaves of eucalyptus, onion and garlic and yavani is much beneficial. And the main benefits are instant relief from tiredness and weakness, and getting of relaxation and improvement in body strength and power.
- Pitha-Vata: chandana, pittapapada, patola, neem, chameli, aragvadha, manjishta, etc. can be used. Bath is not advisable for people suffering from facial paralysis, disease of the eyes, mouth and ears, diarrhoea, distension of the abdomen, runny nose, indigestion and soon after eating food.
Use alternative to soap
We can avoid soap by preparing a powder of rice, yellow dal, green gram powder, lodhra and manjishta and neem. It can be applied daily.This helps in softening and glowing of the skin, also helps in preventing the ageing too. The skin looks young and gets nourishment through proper vasodilatation and removal of free radicles from the body skin body.
Powder of methi seeds, moong dal, kulthi seeds and sarshapa seeds also can be used for applying over the body, which helps in removing fats from the skin.This also helps in exfoliating the dead tissues over the body and enhances the circulation. Applying ramacham and thalli also is very useful.Bathing after taking food is restricted as it will aggravate kapha dosha and slows down blood circulation. Moreover,the body needs a little rest and relaxation after taking food.