The Restorative Powers of a Good Bath

Written by Robin Caldwell

Finding rest, bliss, and healing in a bathtub is as old as ancient Africa

Dr. Carol, mother and muse of Poised publisher Audra Washington, has a cure for stressful days when hearing one’s own thoughts are imperative. She says, “Girl, you better go sit in some water!” As simple as Dr. Carol’s advice seems, it is probably some of the best advice ever for busy women prone to using the bathroom for everything but rest.

Black women and healing baths can be traced back to ancient Africa, where ritual baths were common for a multitude of reasons but with one common purpose to restore. The forms include post-partum baths, blessing baths (similar to riverside baptisms), relaxing communal baths, and the Sudanese steam bath called the “dukhan,” which is intended to both detoxify and beautify. In the United States and Caribbean, the ritual bath was utilitarian for slave women as privacy was not an option, but the ability to bathe and commune was important to women who lived under extreme duress.

24-1437727823-milkMany of us modern women live under extreme duress managing busy lifestyles. We, however, unlike our ancestors have the luxury of private bathrooms. We can go to lunch with our girlfriends for the sake of community, but we can use our bathtubs to commune with our higher power and listen to our own thoughts.

Most of us think of Faith Evans as this glamorous singer and media producer, but she is also a busy mother who has to manage her life like the rest of us. Like the rest of us, she too has to find ways to be restored. “My kids think I’m crazy, because I will take a bath 3 times a day sometimes just to have that peace and quiet,” she says.

Health and wellness expert Renee Wiggins of Results by Renee suggests that restorative baths for enjoyment be incorporated into a woman’s self-care regimen. “I enjoy baths because you have to take time to bathe, but you also have this opportunity to unwind. Pour a few drops of lavender essential oil into the water.” Wiggins explains that lavender is great for the skin as anti-aging oil but it also reduces stress and anxiety.

“Work to make your bath time an intentional time of restoration,” states pathologist and medical researcher Crystal Moore. “Turn off your smart phone, take the landline off the hook, close the bathroom door even if you’re the only one home, and make sure you honor that time as a gift to you.”

Do you need some ideas for turning your bath time into a personal time for pampering and restoration? Beauty blogger Afrobella offers information on medicinal bubble baths and the best bath recipes. If you have some of your own, please share in the comment section, and then go sit yourself down in some water.

Robin Caldwell is a veteran public relations counselor, concierge and practitioner. She has been self-employed from side hustle to business since 1998. She is the owner of The J Standard Media Group, LLC, and the creator of the PR concierge services Your PR Assistant and She Boom! Project.