The human skin, our body's largest organ, plays a crucial role in detoxification. Harnessing the benefits of this organ, detox baths have emerged as a valuable practice. Believed to draw out impurities through the skin, these baths offer not only a physical cleanse but also a calming and stress-reducing experience, ultimately lowering cortisol levels. The warmth of the bath encourages sweating, a natural mechanism for the body to eliminate toxins and impurities.
In this article, we will explore various detox baths suitable for those following the GAPS nutritional protocol during the body's healing process. Each bath comes with its unique benefits, promoting a holistic approach to well-being.
For beginners, it is advisable to ease into detox baths, starting with a modest soaking time of around 15 minutes and gradually extending it to 30-40 minutes as the body adjusts.
Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate) Detox Bath:
Commence with ½ cup of Epsom salt in a warm bath, gradually increasing to 2 cups as tolerated.
· Stimulates detox pathways and toxin removal
· Provides relief for sore muscles
· Alleviates body aches associated with viral infections
· Induces relaxation
· Boosts magnesium levels
· Assists in handling splinters and ingrown toenails
In the context of Epsom salt baths, the notable benefit lies in increased magnesium absorption. Magnesium deficiency, prevalent among GAPS individuals, manifests in symptoms like anxiety, depression, muscle cramps, stress, and sleep difficulties. While data on skin absorption is limited, Epsom salt baths contribute to raising magnesium levels, offering relief from these symptoms.
Additionally, Epsom salt's detoxifying properties are evident in its effectiveness against splinters. The bath reduces skin inflammation, and an Epsom salt paste aids in bringing the splinter to the surface for easier removal.
Baking Soda (Sodium bicarbonate) Detox Bath:
Initiate with ¼ cup of baking soda in a warm bath, gradually increasing to 2 cups as tolerated.
· Addresses issues like eczema, psoriasis, and fungal infections
· Eases symptoms of yeast infections
· Provides relief for diaper rashes
· Assists in urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other skin irritations
Research indicates that baking soda offers notable benefits for yeast-related problems, which are commonly encountered by GAPS clients. Its soothing properties alleviate itching and swelling, potentially expediting the recovery process. Studies have substantiated its antifungal activity, proving effective against nail and skin infections.
Moreover, a 2021 study demonstrated baking soda's ability to inhibit the growth of yeast infections. In a separate 2018 study, it was found that oral consumption of sodium bicarbonate may not only balance the body's urine pH levels but also effectively treat urinary tract infections, significantly reducing associated symptoms.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Detox Bath:
Begin with ½ Cup ACV increasing to 1-2 cups in warm water.
· Yeast & Fungal Infections (dandruff, athlete’s foot, etc)
· Eczema & Skin Irritations
· Bacterial Infections
A 2018 study confirmed apple cider vinegar's (ACV) antimicrobial prowess against various bacteria strains, including candida albicans, E. Coli, and S. Aureus, suggesting clinical therapeutic benefits (PubMed Central).
The research highlighted ACV's effectiveness in combating yeast at a 1:1 mixture with water and showed promise against bacterial infections like S. Aureus and E.Coli at diluted ratios of 1:25 and 1:50. This hints at potential advantages for UTIs and conditions like bacterial vaginosis. Oral consumption of ACV may also benefit UTIs by leveraging its antimicrobial properties in the urinary tract.
For eczema, the study suggested that ACV detox baths could relieve symptoms by potentially restoring the skin's protective barrier, balancing pH, and aiding in detoxifying pathogenic yeast (PubMed Central). Additionally, an ACV scalp rinse/detox is beneficial for scalp dandruff caused by a common yeast-like fungus, thanks to ACV's antifungal properties.
Bentonite Clay (sodium bentonite) Detox Bath:
If in dry form, mix 3-4 cups with warm water and pour into the bath. If in paste form, apply to the body, let it dry, then soak.
· Removing toxins from the body & skin
· Poison ivy and other irritations
· Diaper rash
· Oily skin and acne
Sodium bentonite clay, a volcanic ash, is known for its toxin-absorbing properties. Used as a face mask or in a detox bath, it draws out bacteria, dead skin cells, and contaminants.
Detox baths extend beyond the mentioned options, allowing for creativity. Essential oils, seaweeds, teas, and vitamin C can enhance any bath. Combinations are possible, and rotation is recommended during healing. Hydration is crucial, with filtered water or stock post-detox to counter dehydration. The benefits of detox baths are diverse, aiding the body's natural detox process and contributing to overall healing, making them a valuable practice for both physical and mental well-being.