Friday, November 11, 2016

Seaweed bath time

This week has made me crave hot showers. Even better is a seaweed bath. You can go to a spa, buy dried seaweed, or, if you live near a beach, get fresh fucus serratus, which is what we do occasionally. Afterwards we put it on vegetable beds in the garden as a fertiliser. This article about using seaweed and its miraculous properties in the garden also addresses how to collect it, as there are laws and rights (of course as individuals we only ever use a tiny amount, a small bucketful). It has become big business in the food, health and beauty industries, and it is important to harvest it in an environmentally sustainable way. During the Famine its consumption saved lives, and adding seaweed to meals is a simple way of upping your nutrients.

In a bath it is moisturising, extremely relaxing and soporific, healing and detoxifying, with a cocktail of vitamins and minerals. Some people feel squeamish about getting into the tub, as the seaweed is slimy, and while I do my best to avoid it when swimming in the sea (but more because of a fear of getting my legs entangled in it), I think it feels lovely to let yourself sink into it in a bathtub.

After scalding the fresh seaweed (or rehydrating the dried version for 15-20 minutes), it is added to the bath, which is filled with warm water. It releases its oils and also keeps the water hot much longer than usual. The body absorbs it easily, and your skin is wonderfully soft afterwards, and if you submerge your hair, it is better than any conditioner. Towards the end of the bath, which should take at least 30 minutes to get the full benefit, it is a good idea to scrub your skin with a handful of the seaweed. Apparently the seaweed can be reused, which makes the price tag of the dried seaweed  you can buy a bit less shocking (seaweed products tend to be expensive).

Baths are an absolute luxury, and we don't have them that often, as we try to be mindful of how much water we use. I am also strict about showers and never stay in there longer than necessary, turning the water off while applying products or exfoliating, so my hot showers are not of the wallowing type, but rather a short cathartic boost. Another (no waste) way of temporarily relieving a feeling of heaviness is doing this Yoga Rinse.

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