Korean spa experiences are famous the world over for their super-cleansing and calming effects, but did you know that creating your own Korean spa bath at home can also work wonders when you are coming down with something? With flu season in full swing, try a Korean spa bath to promote immunity and and maybe just kick that bug to the curb.
How to make your at-home Korean Immunity Bath Soak:
One: Drink plenty of liquids before and after your bath. Ginger tea is a good option, or try boricha, a detoxifying tea made out of roasted barley, which is the traditional choice.
Two: In a Korean spa, bathers typically start out in a sauna. If you happen to be lucky enough to have one, bake in there for a while first. If you don’t, go right to the next step.
Three: Draw a hot bath and soak in it for at least 20 minutes. You can add Epsom salts for detoxification benefits, if you want. A sauna and hot bath mimics a fever, which is the body’s way of attempting to kill off invaders. The heat will also promote lymph movement and circulation, which will help your body’s natural immune response.
Four: After you soak, rinse off and complete whatever your usual showering ritual is. Then, you will scrub yourself vigorously - and I mean vigorously - with a Korean scrub mitt called, interestingly, an “Italy towel”, which is a very rough exfoliating pad. If you don’t have one and don’t want to buy something new for the experience, you can use a loofah or rough cloth. Just make sure to put some elbow grease and time into the process! You are aiming to remove all your dead skin, which will be way more than you likely expect. This process not only makes your skin soft and glowing, but also helps detoxify the skin, and promote even more circulation and lymph movement which is essential to immune system function.
Five: You can utilize hot-cold therapy during this process as well. In the shower, alternate between hot and cold water. Or, in the bathtub, try the traditional Korean method of submerging the body only up to the belly button in hot water, while keeping the rest, including the arms, out in the ambient room temperature. This creates a contrast in temperatures between the two halves of the body which achieves similar circulatory effects.
I prefer not to do hot-cold therapy when I am already sick, because it feels like too much for me, but it’s a great preventative option. Part of the process of bathing is tuning into your body and how it feels right here and now, and what it needs, wants, and works for it as an individual. This is part of the calming and grounding process of bathing that is so beneficial as well.
Six: After you get out, finish your Korean immunity bath with hydration inside and out. Drink more tea and apply a hydrating oil or cream to your freshened-up skin. Make sure there are no toxic ingredients in your product that will soak into your body and undo the effects of your bath. I prefer to use a pure oil so I don’t have to worry about an ingredients list, like Biossance’s 100% pure squalene oil (https://biossance.com/products/100-squalane-oil) It’s not greasy and it’s easy to apply, super moisturizing, and not sketchy.
That’s it! Incorporate this ancient bathing technique into your flu-season routine to make your body a less hospitable hangout for pathogens, while calming the mind and cleansing the body at the same time.
* Take care - Please consult with your doctor before testing out any new bathing therapies!