Sink in, drops out: why a bath decongests better

What’s that old saying? Feed a fever, starve a cold? Well, it’s time to revise that old remedy to ‘soak a cold’ or soak away congestion. A stuffy nose and congestion can hit any time of year, whether from germs that a work mate shares or are floating in stale air, or from pollen in the wind.

Before you head to the drugstore to stare at shelves full of boxed, blister-packed remedies, head to the tub instead for a natural, detoxing and decongesting bath.

The Romans were on to something. No, not the togas, although they’re awesome, but those soothing soaks. Baths are restorative, calming and, with the right mix of essential oils, healing.

Next time you feel congested, clear your mind and nasal passages by adding the following to a half-filled hot (yes hot, but not scalding) bath:

  • 1 cup epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 4 tbsp ground ginger
  • 4 – 6 drops Kick Stick oil using the built-in dabber (menthol, eucalyptus & camphor)
  • Under 120 lbs? Add less epsom salt & ginger; over 175 lbs? Add a bit more.

Swish it all around to dissolve then continue to run the water till the bath is full.

Time to add the most important part – you! Get in and sink down in the soothing water up to your neck for 20 – 40 minutes. Now, relax and breathe deeply, taking in the soothing, clearing vapours.

For the first 20 minutes toxins from pollution and processed foods are extracted from your skin. During the last 20 minutes minerals are absorbed. All that nose blowing and disrupted sleep can add puffiness, so take that down a notch by placing a slice of cool cucumber over each eye as you float.

What exactly is happening as you soak?

  •   Sulfate – (in epsom salt & baking soda) is absorbed by the skin and sends toxins packing
  •   Ginger – a natural decongestant with anti-mucus properties, it will help you sweat, enhancing the detox process
  •   Menthol – a soothing essential oil that clears congestion in the nose, throat and lungs
  •   Eucalyptus – rejuvenates with analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties
  •   Camphor – a natural, calming germicide that relieves congestion and inflammation

Now that you’ve taken that all in, you’re ready to get out. Towel off, put on some light clothing and rest for about 30 minutes, followed by a quick rinse in the shower. You’ll continue to sweat for about an hour, so drink plenty of water with a little vitamin C-boosting lemon in it for good measure.

Before you try any home remedy, check with your doctor. And if you’re pregnant or have a heart or liver ailment skip it altogether.

Enjoy this relaxing, detoxing and decongesting bath one or two times a week till your stuffiness and sniffles are gone. And if congestion lasts more than a week it’s time to see a doctor. Yes, the Romans had those too!

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