It’s well known that taking a steam or sauna at the beginning stages of a cold can be very beneficial. In my studies of holistic health and now Chinese nutrition, I’m learning just how important it is to sweat as soon as you feel yourself coming down with a cold.
In Chinese medicine diseases are classified into eight categories, the two that I will discuss today are described as external or internal. External diseases affect the areas of the body on the surface, the skin, mucous membranes, nose, throat and lungs. Internal diseases affect the blood, bones and internal organs. The common cold and the flu are the most wide-spread exterior diseases that are often easy to cure if we take action right away.
Typical signs of exterior conditions:
- Sudden onset of symptoms
- Sometimes aversion to cold or wind
- Runny nose, congestion, headache, fever, body aches, sore throat and cough
From the Chinese perspective one of the goals is to balance the condition. In order to create this balance it is recommended that we expand, taking the disease to the outer edges of our body. We do this by consuming foods that are expansive in nature (think fresh fruits and vegetables) and by opening our sweat glands. To open our sweat glands I like to use a ginger detox bath.
About the bath:
You can take this bath with fresh or powdered ginger. Ginger is one of my favorite decongestants and works well to open up the pores. I prefer powdered ginger because it works deeper and faster. The ginger will make your body super hot and you will sweat more than you would in a typical hot bath. Take your bath in the hottest water you can stand and try to stay in for at least 15 minutes. You will sweat a ton!
In addition to the ginger I use Epsom salts to draw toxins from the body and help soothe achy muscles. Sometimes I add a few drops of ginger essential oil as well.
A ginger detox bath will help lessen your symptoms and in many cases shorten the duration of your sickness. This bath will make you tired and you will probably sweat for a good hour after the bath. I prefer to take them late morning or late afternoon followed by a nap. Some people like to take them before bed but I don’t like to sweat all night. You can try them at different times and see what works best for you.
After your bath dry off and wrap yourself in a large towel and get right in the bed. Cover yourself with a blanket and try to stay bundled up for the next 45 minutes to an hour. You’re going to keep sweating. After an hour hop in the shower and rinse off.
If you own a dry brush it can be nice to do some dry brushing while your bath is running. Learn all about dry brushing here. This will also make your skin extra glowy and smooth. Be sure to brush gently in circular motions towards your heart.
Drink plenty of water after the bath to rehydrate!
Please note if you have a cold/flu and are already sweating a great deal, a detox bath is not advised. Also not a good idea if you feel very weak, if you tend to sweat without moving very much, are pregnant or have a liver condition. If you have any concerns please consult with your doctor.
Ginger Detox Bath
- 1 c. Epsom salts
- 3 Tbsp. ground ginger
- A few drops of ginger essential oil or other scent preference (optional)
- Fill your bath tub with the hottest water you can stand.
- Add the salt, ginger and optional oil to the running water and give it a good swirl to incorporate.
- When the tub is full submerge yourself up to your neck. It’s okay to do this slowly as it will be super hot.
- Try to stay in for 15 minutes and up to 30.
- When finished towel off and hop in the bed for an hour to sweat.
- Afterwards rinse off in the shower and continue to rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids
- This Ginger Detox Bath can be used when you feel a cold coming on or in the winter when you want to detox safely and warm up. As always, follow your intuition with these remedies and adapt them to suit your needs.