To be sure, detox bathing is a less important practice during the summer months. The increased sweating of the body from the warmer weather better facilitates the release of toxins and impurities.
However, it is still a good idea to continue the habit at least once every week or so. Keeping the detoxification channels open particularly if you are stuck in an air-conditioned environment most of the day is a good practice.
Ginger Baths Use Lukewarm Water
If you’ve never tried a ginger bath before, you will be happy to know that it is best enjoyed in lukewarm rather than hot water! Hence, it is the perfect cleaning ritual to try when the weather outside is sultry and humid.
The Benefits of Ginger for Cleansing
If you’ve ever eaten a dish or beverage made with ginger, you have no doubt observed that it has an immediate and very cleansing effect. Sinuses open up, tastebuds tingle, and an upset stomach tends to settle down in a hurry. Your face may even start to perspire slightly.
One of my favorite ways to clear congestion from a cold is a power shot. This green juice blends 2 ounces each (59 ml) of fresh wheatgrass and ginger juice.
Ginger is closely related to turmeric and as such is a powerful herb used for millennia by ancestral cultures. Medicinally, one of the most traditional applications is temporary relief from the nausea of morning sickness. It is helpful for the dizziness and headaches from motion sickness or pain from menstrual cramps as well.
The primary reason ginger is so helpful when taken internally is due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties and the encouragement of blood circulation. Numerous scientific studies since the 1970s have verified that ginger’s phytonutrients. Known as gingerols, these substances exhibit strong antioxidant and anti-microbial properties on human tissues.
In one of many examples, the Journal of Medicinal Food published an article that identified ginger as an herbal medicinal product that shares pharmacological properties with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), affirming the use of red ginger as an analgesic for arthritis pain in Indonesian traditional medicine (1).
Ginger Bath. Sweating without the Heat
While ginger’s benefits can be experienced in a wide variety of ways when this herbal root is consumed, most people never consider that soaking in a bath infused with ginger can also be wonderfully therapeutic.
Ginger is so very powerful when used in a cleansing bath because it opens up the pores, increases the speed of blood circulation, and encourages sweating. Sweating is one of the most important ways the body eliminates toxins and other impurities via the skin, the body’s largest organ.
Some of the most well known and popular ways to encourage sweating for detoxification is via infrared sauna or steam bath. However, many of us don’t have convenient access to this type of therapy on a regular basis without a pricey spa visit.
In those situations, a ginger bath is an effective and inexpensive stand-in.
You will not believe how much you will sweat from a ginger bath! You will start feeling it within about 5 minutes of relaxing in the bath, and the sweating will typically continue for at least 30 minutes afterward and possibly up to an hour or two. So, don’t take a ginger bath before going out for the evening and be sure to drink plenty of water!
A ginger bath is a wonderful complement to a sensible work-out regimen as it encourages sweating without risk of injury or overdoing it. In some ways, a ginger infused soak is similar to the sweating effect experienced by a fever bath, but without the hot water temperature.
Ginger Detox Bath Recipe
To prepare a basic ginger bath, fill a standard sized bathtub with hot or lukewarm water. If you are taking your ginger bath in the summer, I would recommend water that is comfortably lukewarm. This will help avoid the potential for overheating.
Ginger has a warming effect on the body as opposed to herbs that cool such as peppermint and sage.
Fresh Ginger or Ground Powder
Once the tub is full, add 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) of freshly grated ginger, preferably organic. If using ginger powder, measure out 1-2 rounded teaspoons and add to the bath stirring in with your hand. I use this organic ginger powder packed in glass jars as I have found it to be more potent than others I’ve tried in the past.
Eczema? Test Skin First
If you have sensitive skin or a rash like psoriasis or eczema, do a test on a small patch of skin first. I suggest an arm or a leg.
Rub on some freshly grated ginger or a paste made with a small amount of ginger powder and water. If no irritation occurs within a few minutes, you are good to try the full body bath.
How Long to Soak
Soak in your ginger bath for 15-20 minutes, then rinse with cool water and towel dry. You may wish to stay in your robe for a few minutes afterward until the sweating effect ceases.
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
Some people may find that their first few ginger baths don’t make them sweat much if at all.
This can occur when the elimination pathways become congested or clogged due to toxin overload. People who are chronically constipated sometimes find this to be the case.
This same experience happens for some people who start to sauna for the first time. It may take multiple sessions before they start to sweat and release toxins freely as they should.
If you find that a ginger bath doesn’t make you sweat, keep at it! Your body needs to “learn” to sweat again. A regular habit of ginger detox baths may help facilitate this effect. It is best to enjoy just one cleansing bath (of any kind) per day.
Cautions and Contraindications
Try not to splash any of the ginger bathwater in your eyes as it might cause irritation.
If you are currently taking any anti-coagulant or blood thinners such as coumadin, consult your doctor first. This includes using ginger as an herbal remedy internally as well as externally.
A ginger bath is not recommended for children under the age of 2 years old.
Consult with your practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.