The practice of taking detoxification baths is based on the idea of drawing toxins out through the skin during a bath by putting substances in the water that are thought to draw toxins out of the body. Proponents of detoxification recommend ridding the body of toxins taken in through our food and environmental pollution. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, provides a naturally alkaline substance with a reputation for helping to remove toxins.
Chemicals in our foods, bottled water, the environment and products in our home bombard our bodies and sabotage our health, Brenda Watson, C.N.C., and Leonard Smith, M.D., assert in their book "The Detox Strategy: Vibrant Health in 5 Easy Steps." Bathing and sweating to remove impurities and promote healing are practiced in many forms by numerous cultures. Mineral springs, sweat lodges, saunas, foot baths and hydrotherapy help to promote improved well-being. Soaking promotes circulation, the removal of dead skin cells that can block pores, increased perspiration and relaxation. In addition to its reputation for drawing out toxins, adding baking soda to your bathwater leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth.
Baking soda provides an inexpensive detoxification bath ingredient that's safe to use. It dissolves fully in water and doesn't leave a residue. By contrast, essential oils added to bath water could contribute to injury by leaving a slippery residue in the bathtub. Baking soda is odorless and colorless and doesn't leave a bathtub ring. It's safe to use for people who need to avoid the chemicals and fragrances used in many commercial bath products. Baking soda's natural sodium content and alkalinity give the bathwater a silky feel.
Detoxification baths are intended for drawing toxins out of the body, according to Dr. Graham Simpson and colleagues in their book,"Spa Medicine: Your Gateway to the Ageless Zone." The authors describe a two-week series of detox baths that involve using a 1/2 cup of baking soda in a tub of water that's a comfortable temperature. The detoxification bath method consists of soaking in the bath for 10 to 20 minutes twice a week, with at least two days between each bath. The authors suggest combining Epsom salts with the baking soda after the first two weeks of detoxification baths.
Dry brushing with a body brush or loofah sponge helps to remove dead skin cells before your detoxification bath. Showering after a detox bath helps to complete the cleansing process. This involves using soap and a washcloth to remove any residue from the skin. Putting on clean clothes following a detox bath helps reduce exposure to further toxins. Regular baking soda sold in grocery stores is fine to use for detoxification baths. Some health food stores carry baking soda in bulk bins.
People with diabetes or high blood pressure should consult a doctor before attempting a detox bath. Maintaining a comfortable temperature in the bathwater helps reduce the risk of burns, dizziness or fainting. People under the influence of drugs or alcohol should avoid taking detox baths in order to prevent the risk of passing out and drowning. Consult your doctor about medical concerns before attempting any form of self-treatment.
- "The Detox Strategy: Vibrant Health in 5 Easy Steps"; Brenda Watson, C.N.C., and Leonard Smith, M.D.; 2009
- "Spa Medicine: Your Gateway to the Ageless Zone"; Graham Simpson, Stephen T. Sinatra, Jorge Suárez-Menéndez; 2004
Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.