Friday, February 5, 2010

Hydrotherapy at Home

Taking a bath has not always been my idea of a good time. Sounds boring and germy, really. But just this last week, I've discovered the zen of tubbing.

I took baths when I was a kid. I'm sure there is more than one naked photo of me in a tub floating around, and it probably includes more than one of my cousins as well. Bath time used to be a sort of playtime. There were toys, and bubbles, and the world of pretend was inspired by the expanse of water before me. Somewhere around puberty baths became boring. I lost the art of pretend and never could be convinced to bring my books in the tub. Then I started getting chronic UTIs and was told to never, EVER take a bath again. It turns out it's not a good idea to soak your girly bits in bubbles and germs anyway. So, my already non-interest in bathtubbing became a strong distaste and I hadn't sat down in a tub for twenty years.

It was too long, my friends, too long.

Last week was a bad head week. Two separate, full-bore migraines, one after the other, had left me so weak, so sore and stiff, and so irritable and exhausted. My boyfriend suggested taking a shower, but I really couldn't stand that long. He suggested a bath and I made a face and he laughed at me, "You don't know what you're missing."

So, I considered the pros and cons of taking a proper bath vs showering. Soaking in bodily muck vs. being clean. Sitting vs. standing. Water caressing and floating my poor, exhausted muscles vs. water flowing down the drain SO wastefully. And I convinced myself.

I think the key to the girly bits is showering first. I don't know if this is irregular in the bathtubbing world, since I'm such a newb, but I find that washing up quickly before filling the tub makes it feel less like a bacteria-soak. Once I am clean, I flip the stopper switch and the tub slowly starts filling. Then, I just lay down in the tub as it fills, letting the shower pelt me with hot rain, and the rising waters buoy me. Add in a little meditation and this is the most relaxing experience I have ever had. The tub fills, I get lighter, my muscles unclench, and I just breathe. Once the tide is in, the water goes off and I soak for as long as I can. Sometimes I get up within a few minutes, other times I lay there until the water is cold.

I've got to admit, I do worry about wasting water. I grew up in a drought, it's always in the back of my head when a tap runs for more than is absolutely necessary. Bathtubbing will never be daily thing for me, or even weekly. But damn, is it soothing when I can get over my germ issues and wastefulness aversion long enough to get in a good soak.

"There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them." -Sylvia Plath


WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Every once in a while, I use Epsom salts in the water for a soaking bath...relaxing and bouyant!

Glad you found something that helped...

Stephanie said...

Thanks so much for this suggestion! Who knows how long it would have taken for this to occur to me had you not said anything. Seriously, I need a baths for dummies book. Hah!

Heather said...

I completely agree with you on the germ and water conservation issues, which is why I also avoid baths. However, I stayed at a hotel one time with a really nice bath tub and had been hiking all day so I took a bath and LOVED it. Maybe I'll take one tomorrow. I have Epsom salts so that might help my pain. Thanks for the idea!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, Epsom Salts baths are so fabulous because we absorb the magnesium and the sulfate through the skin. We need those compounds! There are so many benefits, just visit the epsom salts council site. They are part of my regular therapy. I conserve water in other ways and a few germs ain't gonna scare me!


Annie said...

I have always loved that Sylvia Plath quote...I feel absolutely miserably right now and might drag myself to lay in the bottom of the shower too. Thanks for the suggestion!

I hope you feel better!