Have a good bath, feel the difference

The grind through which the human body is put every day is something that few understands. The body needs rest and care to recuperate and recapture its energies. And what best other than a good wash and good night’s sleep to achieve that? Have a good bath and it’s a new world that you deal with.

Ayurveda, the holistic science of wellbeing, emphasizes Sadviitha, ie. daily routine to maintain good health. If a person follows strict dinacharya (daily regimen) and ritucharya (seasonal regimen), s/he will live longer without any dreadful diseases, say classical Ayurveda texts. And, unavoidable in a good dinacharya is good bath.

Sage Sushruta 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. It also improves the vitality of the body.

Due to their ignorance, people usually do not 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 use of water and soap. The quality of water, whether it is cold or hot, quality of soaps, the ingredients in the soap, are all crucial.

Ayurveda concept

Ayurveda says the skin is governed by three lesser doshasvyana vata, brajaka pitha and shleshaka kapha. 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 lesser doshas.

Calling for equal attention is the avabasini layer (first layer of epidermis), which gives lustre and colour to the skin as it contain melanoblasts ie., 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 age-groups. 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 bath water enhances the quality of water and aids better absorption and detoxification of the skin and acts against bacteria and fungi. Herbs can be added depending on the requirements of individual body. For example, siddarthaka snanam is indicated in kushta. If a person has excessive sweat and bad smell, spices are used.

For healthy people

For a healthy person, Ayurveda texts advise therapeutic baths using petals of rose, milk, honey, sandal and turmeric, and persons with ailments should bath with medicinal herbs such as vitex negundo (nirgundi), azadirachta indica (neem) or ricinus comniunis (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.

For the aged

Aged people should have bath every day, weather permitting. In winter, it is better to skip bath. Ideally, they must have a bath in water in which nirgundi leaves are boiled, as it prevents not only early ageing but also gives good relief to muscle and bone disorders and other health problems like arthritis, spondylosis, slip disc, sciatica and paralytic conditions.

In Panchakarma

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.

Bath for different body constitutions:

•       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 the skin, increases lustre and tones and enhances blood circulation.

•       Pitha type: In this type, use the plants and leaves of azadirachta indica (neem), vetiveria zizani oides (usheera), sandalwood, nibia 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, increase blood circulation and cure skin diseases.

•       Kapha type: In this type, instead of oil massage, it is beneficial to undertake udwarthana, i.e. external powder applications like kolakuluttha choornams, pancha kola choo-mams, yava choonams and shonti powder. By doing this, fats and excessive toxins will be expelled from the skin layers.

•       Kapha-Pitha: In this type of constitution, amishna sheeta, i.e., not too hot or too cold, quality products can be used. They are red sandalwood, layang, giloya, azadirachta indica (neem), cassia fistula (aragvadha), etc. These are beneficial for skin allergies, bums 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, certainly not after food.

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