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Recipes for Healthy Winter Baths

Posted December. 26, 2005 03:12,   


Many people plan trips to hot springs for the New Year’s holidays. They want to relax, recover from fatigue, look back at the year, and plan for the upcoming year.

Hot springs offer a wide variety of baths such as sagebrush, iris, peppermint, pine, brown mud, and medical herb baths. According to oriental medicine, such therapeutic baths are good for chronic pain and arthritis.

Modern medicine has a different view, however. The reason why pain is alleviated in such therapeutic baths is not because of the medical herbs, but because the blood circulation becomes better in warm water, loosening the muscles and easing pain. The herbs, in fact, might cause infections if they get into existing wounds.

So what about taking care of your health while taking a bath? Let’s take a look at some healthy winter bathing methods.

Saunas and Hot Baths Aggravate Skin Aging—

Unlike summer, excessive bathing in winter leads to dry skin. So one should not take more than two to three baths a week in winter, and they should not last more than 15 minutes.

Many people enjoy saunas and sizzling hot baths, but they should be aware that the heat damages the skin’s protective layers and accelerates skin aging. Lukewarm water is good when washing the face, and using cold water before finishing up is also recommended.

When taking a shower, it is better to rub soap in your hands and then apply it to your body, instead of using shower sponges or towels to do so. In addition, soap only needs to be used in areas with lots of perspiration such as armpits, groin, and chest, while the outer sides of the arms and legs can be just washed off with water.

A Massage While Bathing—

After soaking in the bathtub for about five minutes, apply massage cream to a soft towel and make foam. Then gently rub the towel starting from the feet all the way up to the heart. At the buttocks, work the towel from inside out and around the bellybutton and chest. One should be standing up straight when doing this.

Afterwards, use the shower head for a massage. Raise the temperature and water pressure, applying it upward from the legs. Focus on massaging the soles of the feet, behind the knee joints, an inside the elbow and arm joints.

When massaging with a shower head, draw circles around the stomach, up and down around the chest, and slant the water from the sides to the stomach in the waist area.

Lastly, using cream, remove dead skin flakes and rinse the body with 40 degree Celsius water, and finish off with a cool 20 degree rinse to give elasticity to the skin.

Use Natural Ingredients: Cucumber for Acne, Carrots for Rough Skin—

Rose petals in the tub will relax the body and mind with gentle scents. If one has acne, try using cucumbers in the tub. You can just chop them up, but they work better when squeezed into juice. The skin will greatly improve after taking three to four baths with two to three cucumbers mixed into the water.

Carrots are for rough skin. Chop the carrots and boil them with two cups of water. Put that water into the tub and float the carrot clumps in a cheesecloth bag. After three to four baths, the skin will become smoother.

People with oily or itchy skin should try dipping a cheesecloth bag filled with finely shredded seaweed in the tub. If your skin has lost its elasticity, dice a lemon, put it into the tub, take a shower while the lemon spreads around the tub, and then immerse. Lemon helps the skin contract and loosen.

People who perspire heavily or have strong body odors should use a fistful of dried green tea leaves in their baths. Green tea eliminates toxins in the body and has a soothing effect on the skin.

Sang-Hoon Kim corekim@donga.com