Don’t Have an Infrared Sauna? Try a Ginger Bath
To be sure, detox bathing is a less important practice during the summer months due to the increased sweating of the body during the day which serves to facilitate the release of toxins and impurities.
However, it is still a good idea to continue the habit at least once every week or so to keep the detoxification channels open particularly if you are stuck in an air conditioned environment most of the day.
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, which is why it’s perfect to try when the weather outside is sultry and humid.
The Benefits of Ginger
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 are opened 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 which blends 2 ounces (59 ml) fresh wheatgrass and ginger juice.
Ginger is closely related to turmeric and as such is a powerful medicinal herb used for millennia by ancestral cultures. Medicinally, some of the most well known uses are for temporary relief from the nausea associated with morning sickness, the dizziness and headaches from motion sickness, or pain from menstrual cramps.
The primary reason ginger is so helpful when taken internally is due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties and encouragement of blood circulation. Numerous scientific studies since the 1970’s have verified that ginger’s phytonutrients known as gingerols 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 instead of Infrared Sauna
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 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 so that you don’t experience an overheating effect. This is because ginger has a warming effect on the body as opposed to herbs that cool such as peppermint and sage.
Once the tub is filled, 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.
If you have sensitive skin, rub some freshly grated ginger or a paste made with a small amount of ginger powder and water on a test patch of skin. Ensure that no irritation occurs before taking the full body bath.
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.
No Sweating from the Ginger Bath?
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 like 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 and a regular habit of ginger detox baths (never more than one in a single day) is what may be necessary to facilitate this effect.
Ginger Bath Cautions
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 thinner medications such as coumadin, consult your doctor before using ginger as an herbal remedy either internally or 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, The Healthy Home Economist
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.