Detox Baths: How do they work and how to achieve them with simple, home ingredients

Navigating the modern world can sometimes feel like navigating a minefield: from deciding what to eat every day, to determining how to clean our homes without poisoning ourselves, to choosing personal hygiene products, to deciding what to wear that won’t irritate our skin—and then there’s the air you breathe! If you live in a city like New York, you are constantly bombarded by other people, pollution, germs, and who knows what else. If you stop and think about all of it, you might just hole up and give up! But please don’t! Take a breath, turn on some relaxing tunes and make yourself a bath.

 Detox baths are a great way to recharge, reset and cleanse ourselves of all those multiplying toxins that build up over the course of the day. Dr. Jockers, a certified doctor of natural medicine, explains how detox baths work: “Just as your skin perspires to remove toxins through your pores, these same pores also allow minerals in.” And part of the way this is encouraged to happen in a bath is through heat. The Healthy Home Economist cites famed nutritionist Dr. Hazel Parcells’ book, The Pioneer Nutritionist Dr. Hazel Parcells in Her Own Words, in telling us that the reason water as hot as can be tolerated is typically used is “because this initially draws toxins to the surface of the skin.” As the water cools down over the course of the bath, the toxins are then “pulled into the water via the principle of osmosis – the weak energy from the cooling water draws from the strong energy from the body heated up initially by the very hot water.” They recommend taking a detox bath 2-3 times per week. 

Dr. Axe, another certified doctor of natural medicine, corroborates these claims and recommends doing a bath for about 40 minutes to an hour. He writes on his blog that “The first 20 minutes will give your body time to remove toxins from your system while the last 20 to 40 minutes will allow you to absorb the minerals in the water and help you emerge from the bath feeling rejuvenated. Make sure to use hot water — it’ll help you sweat out impurities.”

One extremely common and widely recommended ingredient for detox baths is Epsom Salt. I LOVE Epsom salt and recommend it often to my patients. I see amazing results with patients recovering from injuries who, in combination with acupuncture, soak in Epsom salt baths. I also highly recommend Epsom salt baths for women who are suffering from painful periods as it relaxes muscles and can be an instant relief from the pain of menstrual cramps. The energy of salt is very grounding and I find soaking in Epsom salts simply a wonderful way to unwind and calm a monkey mind after a busy day. If you don’t have a bathtub, simply soak your feet in a warm bowl of Epsom salt water for 20 minutes or so to relax and calm the mind. 

Jockers raves that Epsom salts have been linked to improvements in many conditions associated with inflammation, including gout, athlete’s foot and other fungi, bruises, sprains, and sore muscles. He also states, “individuals struggling with a chronic illness can also find pain relief from Epsom salt baths. This is due to the natural ability of the salts to pull out harmful toxins, improving both mineral and sulfur balance in the body.”

Kerry Bajaj, a writer for Be Well, the blog of health specialist Dr. Frank Lipman, elaborates, telling us that an Epsom salt bath can help you enjoy the benefits of magnesium, which she calls a miracle mineral for its ability to combat constipation, relieve aching and soreness, balance the nervous system and help you sleep. And Deborah Burnes, another Be Well writer, says that when used as a bath soak, salts “do everything from help heal psoriasis and eczema, to help regulate the activity of more than 300 enzymes, flush toxins, relieve stress and revive you.”

 Other detox bath ingredient possibilities include Bentonite Clay, which Be Well recommends for its ability to “use a negative ionic charge” to “attract, capture and absorb” the many toxins in our body that are positively charged; Baking Soda, which The Healthy Home Economist says is “beneficial for exposure to irradiated food, swollen glands, sore throat or soreness of the gums and mouth. It is also beneficial for those with digestive impairment such as the inability to hold food in the stomach comfortably.” I would recommend adding grated ginger to the bath as well to ease digestive upset as ginger is powerful for harmonizing the digestive system.

Along with all the powerful benefits of detox baths above, detox baths are a great way to clear your energy field of negative energy you may have picked up throughout the day. If you are a highly sensitive person or empath you may be unknowingly picking up toxic energy from others, leaving you feeling exhausted, scattered or anxious. I find detox baths to be very effective at clearing away that toxic energy, leaving you feeling relaxed, centered and clear.

Here are a few detox bath recipes and ideas to get you started!

1. An Epsom Salt Bath Recipe:  from Kris Carr on Be Well.
Mix 2 cups of Epsom Salt, ½ cup of raw apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup of
Baking Soda and lavender in a warm tub and soak your cares away.

2. Baking Soda Bath from The Healthy Home Economist
Dissolve 4 cups of Baking Soda in a regular size tubful of
water as hot as you can tolerate.  Use more as needed if your tub is
oversized. Stay in the bath until the water has cooled which will take
approximately 45 minutes. Do not rinse after the bath – simply towel dry.

3. Mustard &  Ginger Detox Bath: from Hello Glow
Combine 2 cups Epsom Salt, 1/4 cup grated ginger, ¼ cup Baking Soda, and a ¼cup mustard powder. Run a bath of hot water and add bath detox recipe.
Submerge body for 30 minutes to an hour.

 I love Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath. A combination of mustard powder and essential oils. For more information on this mustard bath Read: WHEN YOU NEED TO DETOX, RELAX AND ALKALIZE, DISCOVER DR. SINGHA’S MUSTARD BATH AND MUSTARD RUB