When you hear the words “bath ritual,” a glass of wine, candles, and a bubbly soak may come to mind. But bathing rituals have been around for centuries, taking on various forms over the years. Ancient Egyptians, Israelites, and Indians all soaked in rivers to promote healing, and ancient Greeks introduced the concept of taking thermal baths to achieve therapeutic aims. And, of course, numerous religions also have traditions that connect bathing to purification that exist today.
Healer Deborah Hanekamp, or “Mama Medicine” on Instagram, was struck by the potential of bathing for self-healing while she was training to become a shaman in the Peruvian Amazon. At the end of a particularly tough period of the training, Hanekamp’s teacher guided her through an experience involving a waterfall. Upon completion, “all of the darkness I had been living in washed away,” writes Hanekamp in her new book, Ritual Baths: Be Your Own Healer. “I stepped out of the shadow that I had been carrying, not just for those intense few days, but since my childhood. I finally found true light.”
Now, Hanekamp prescribes a self-healing bathing ritual at the end of every medicine reading she provides and shares bath “recipes” with her followers on Instagram. (BTW, Medicine readings are a healing practice that Hanekamp created in which she reads clients’ auras and provides guidance for self-healing.) For Ritual Baths, she’s compiled 57 recipes along with a breakdown of how to work with aura colours (aka a coloured energy field surrounding a person), moon phases, and astrology when planning a self-healing bathing ritual. The how-to’s incorporate elements such as salt, crystals, herbs, mantras, and breathing exercises, and each includes a suggested tea pairing you can sip on throughout the bath. You can make the bathing ritual as long or as short as you’d like; the book also includes optional opening and closing practices for when you have more time on your hands to spend soaking.
For a taste of how to use your bath time for self-healing, check out three of the recipes included in Ritual Baths below.
If you’re dealing with a creative block, Hanekamp suggests making small changes in your daily life to break up any monotony (such as repetition from working a nine to five) and to try this routine.
Tea pairing: Chai tea with basil
Hanekamp believes that being grateful for what you have is key to improving your relationship with money. This bath “is designed to give you a moment to celebrate exactly where you are and reap the fruits of what you have sown,” she writes in the book.
Tea pairing: Tulsi tea
This bathing ritual was created to help you let go of unfair judgments about yourself, originating from within yourself or from others.
Tea pairing: Eucalyptus tea
Excerpted with permission from Ritual Baths: Be Your Own Healer by Deborah Hanekamp, published by Morrow Gift ©2020.
This story first appeared on www.shape.com
(Main and Feature Image Credit: Courtesy of Ashley Glynn)
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