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Call it aromatherapy, call it sensory infusion, call it “Honey! Who hung this junk in the shower?” Whatever you call it, it is marvelous. Everyone knows about bath bombs — those colorful, concentrated balls of natural whatnot that dissolve in the tub like an enormous aspirin, spreading skin-healing magic through the water and making the place smell like a garden of earthly delights. Can you do something like that in the shower? Uh huh. Think about it.
Don’t Waste That Steam
That blast of hot water from your low-flow shower head has you adrift in a warm, wet fog, belting out Adele like you’re in a follow spot at Madison Square Garden.
All that rich, roiling steam rises rises rises all around you, opening pores, wowing your circulation, lowering your blood pressure, and making you feel like the subject of a Maxfield Parrish painting. What else can we make all this yummy steam do for us? Funny you should ask.
A Shower Bouquet That Becomes Part of You
Excuse me … shower bouquet? Makes about as much sense as “dance tractor”. The words don’t go together. Oh, but they do, they do. What better way to immerse yourself in natural, healing delight than to exalt your shower experience with an infusion of floral loveliness? Yes, it’s a very leading question. What, exactly, does this mean?
It means gathering a fistful of fresh herbs, mildly crushing their leaves to encourage release of the essential magic inside, tastefully tying the herbs together and hanging them from the shower head. You can place them in a diaphanous sachet, if you like—as long as the material allows the free exchange of steam-borne natural goodness. And thank you for the opportunity to type "diaphanous".
The pillowy clouds of steam will do the work of drawing the essential oils out of the herbs, atomizing and giving them warm flight until the barrier between you and the fragrant vapors surrounding you disappears.
If there is a better way to literally immerse yourself in the essential alchemy of the plant kingdom, we haven’t heard of it.
Here’s a short list to get you started, but the point of this is its DIY nature. Study your herbal essences and have at it. You and those herbs emerged from the same primordial process. This is your reunion.
Eucalyptus for Internal Healing
Eucalyptus seems like a no-brainer, with its reputation as a pleasant decongestant and purifier of your mucus-fouled airways (sorry there isn’t a more incense-scented way to say that).
But eucalyptus has other healing tools at its disposal, namely its reputation in the biosphere as a potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Breathe deep and luxuriate.
Bay Leaves Bring It
Like other members of the plant kingdom, bay leaves have been used for centuries by practitioners of trad medicine to heal skin disruptions, arthritis, and a host of other health issues.
Today we know that the oils in bay leaves have anti-inflammatory properties, and antioxidants like vitamins C and E. Bay leaves have also been shown to have an analgesic (pain relieving) character, and even to mitigate the absorption of alcohol into your system.
Chamomile for Real
The chamomile flower is a quaint little thing whose image your grandmother might embroider on a demure throw pillow.
This delicate little bloom, though, packs the healing punch of an on-call medical staff.
Rosemary, Baby! (Not to be confused with the 1968 horror classic)
But did you know these Rosemary metabolites are also thought by researchers to have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties?
Wrap yourself in Rosemary steam and you are doing yourself a host of favors.
Lavender: a Calming Bag of Natural Chemicals
Though researchers are still studying the mechanism, Lavender seems to have a marked effect on anxiety, and has developed a traditional medicine reputation over the centuries as a non-narcotic relaxant.
Lavender in the lab has yielded even more secrets — namely antibacterial, anti-fungal, anxiolytic, antidepressant, analgesic, and wound-healing properties. For such a beautiful little life form, lavender packs a healing punch.
A bouquet of lavender in your steamy shower is going to inundate you with waves of the natural pharma to which your body has been acclimated for thousands of years.
Some of us absolutely have to have a shower every morning — to pierce the veil of soma and ease us into an energized day among the wakeful and focused. How much natural pharma you want to add to your beloved morning ritual is up to you.
When you turn your shower into a life-size diffuser—literally immersing yourself in the plant-based therapeutics for which Mother Nature has long been known—you will leave the launch pad on a serene column of fire.
Be prepared for your workmate to pull you aside. “Something seems different about you today. Where’d you get all this mellow, focused energy? What are you taking?”
Answer by turning to your omnipresent audience. “I’m taking steam; with a pinch of floral magic.” Don’t forget to wink.