The art of bathing.

Monday September 16, 2013

Meandering around the small but charming Cavendish Shopping Arcade in Buxton, it's hard not to ponder about its history as a thermal bathhouse.

My Grandmother being Estonian, instilled in the family the love of 'a good sweat' in a sauna. (My father even built one for my nan in our cellar. It's a real sanctuary down there.) For my nan, growing up in Estonia, the sauna was ubiquitous, everyone had one. The weekly ritual of taking a sauna was as much about relaxation and well-being as it was about cleansing. (Although you don't have to be an expert in saunas to know that taking one regularly is a great cleanser both inside and out.)*

Thinking about the Romans and the Victorians in their bath houses or the Finns in their sauna's, the intention was the same: to relieve tension. It was a chance to escape the everyday troubles and tedium of life. In other words, it was therapy.

We can enjoy such healing every day in the privacy of our own home. In fact, it's arguable that it's the cheapest and most accessible form of therapy that we have.

Bathe mindfully; washing gently, limb by limb. Perhaps imagine our soap is as precious and as priceless as it would have been during the war years. Light candles, warm your towels, make this time beautiful.

Don't forget the wonder and alchemy of aromatherapy too. It's therapy in itself and makes for fascinating reading. Choosing the right essential oil for our mood can add a drop of luxury and provide comfort to our bathing time.

Yes, there is washing and then there is bathing.

*High on my 'bucket list' is to enjoy a sauna somewhere like Finland, where I can jump straight from sauna to deep snow, completely starkers!

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