Clay baths are not the stuff of expensive spa trips: you can treat yourself to regular clay baths at home, easily and cheaply!
Our green swelling clay (technically of the ‘calcium bentonite’ denomination) is also milled to a very fine gauge: if you are picturing a thick bubbling mess to clean up, you will be pleasantly surprised to only have to rinse the bath lightly afterwards. Too easy!
WHY CLAY BATHS?
Our bodies absorb both nutrients and toxins from the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the cosmetics we use. If you diet is high in processed and pre-packaged foods and you use a lot of beauty and cleaning products from supermarket shelves, you would be absorbing a lot of artificial additives and chemicals via digestion and through the skin.
We are pretty smart machines and break down a lot of these additives and chemicals, but sometimes we need a little extra help to prevent toxins from accumulating in our tissues and organs over time, which can result in signs of ageing or diminished health. A few clay baths do wonders in helping to get rid of excess impurities.
WHAT TYPE OF CLAY SHOULD YOU USE FOR A BATH?
Good quality unprocessed green clays are best (getting technical, the smectite group is ideal, because of its high mineral content) – but to get maximum benefit out of the bath, you should use or include at least 50 to 75% of green swelling clay. Swelling clays have optimal drawing power, which means they can painlessly extract toxins from deep within the body, while you are quietly soaking away.
Of course we are happy to recommend our green swelling clay for baths: we use it ourselves to wonderful results. However here are some tips for you to select a good suitable clay for baths:
- Check the clay is finely milled and not gritty (to get technical, we are talking about a ‘screen-mesh’ over 325). The higher the screen-mesh number, the finer the clay particles and the better it will dissolve in the bath (our green swelling clay is a 350 screen-mesh, whilst for example French green clay is 200 screen-mesh – not as easy to use in a bath).
- Is the clay capable of absorbing positive charged ions? To get technical again, toxins and impurities are positively charged.
- What is its drawing power? The higher the ratio (expressed in a value of – for example – 20:1), the more capable the clay is of strongly drawing out impurities (our clay has a drawing power of 33:1 – mighty strong!).
- Check that the clay is a swelling clay: a good swelling clay can absorb 3 times its volume in water (1 cup of clay to 3 cups of water).
- Choose a clay with a pH of 9.8 or above: the clay will act as an alkalising agent and help detox acidic tissue in the body (healthy tissue is slightly alkaline – when its pH falls in the acidic range it becomes prone to accumulation of toxins and disease).
- Clay should be mined and processed in a clean environment to avoid contamination: please check into the source or supplier to make sure it is reputable.
HOW MUCH CLAY SHOULD YOU ADD TO A BATH?
It is a good idea to start off slowly with 1 cup of clay at the most (about 250 grams). As you take more and more clay baths you can build up to 2 or 3 cups of clay.
We can offer another option! You can start off with a few tablespoons of our Rejuvenating Bath Mix, which contains green swelling clay, as well as macrobiotic sea salt and magnesium bath flakes – this will be a very gentle introduction to clay baths.
SHOULD YOU ADD OTHER INGREDIENTS TO A CLAY BATH?
Sea salt has long been known to reinforce the action of clay and contains many minerals of its own (read the works of Raymond Dextreit to find out more – a well known French naturopath who experienced with sea salt baths and clay at the beginning of the last century).
We conveniently combined all three in our Rejuvenating Bath Mix, but you can also combine all three products yourself using the guidelines below.
Dosage of clay, sea salt and magnesium flakes:
- 1 cup of clay
- 1 cup pure sea salt or more (we have written about the benefits of sea salt baths and have given guidelines on how much to use)
- 1 cup magnesium bath flakes
We would not recommend adding any other ingredients to a clay bath: swelling clay can react with organic compounds and cause their oxidation, which would render the bath and detox less effective.
GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR BATH: HOW HOT? HOW LONG?
Taking a very hot bath is never recommended: this can raise blood pressure, and make you feel flustered and uncomfortable – resulting in a shorter time spent in the bath. One of the benefits of taking a clay bath is its ability to help the body detox – in order to achieve this, you should spend at least 15 minutes soaking, and if the water is too hot you might not be able to tolerate staying in the bath for this long.
We suggest making the water tepid or just warm, particularly in the warmer seasons. You could slightly increase the temperature of the bath in cold weather or once you have taken a few clay baths.
You can stay in the bath for longer than 15 minutes, as long as you feel comfortable. If you start to feel fatigued, you should get out of the bath. If you start to feel cold but are otherwise feeling fine, you can add a little more warm water and stay in the bath for longer.
Please be conservative and remember it is better to take a few shorter clay baths per week, rather than one long bath less often (especially if you experience discomfort or transient tiredness by staying in the bath too long).
Note: Purists and clay baths enthusiasts often instal a tap fitting that filters out chlorine and fluoride (which are sometimes added to treat water, depending on where you live). This is however not compulsory.
HOW TO PREPARE A CLAY BATH
Start filling the bath with warm to hot (but not too hot!) water. Sprinkle the powdered clay over the surface of the water slowly, avoiding build ups in any one area (this will cause the clay to clump). If you are getting build ups, you can use a whisk to disperse the clay.
Once the bath is full turn off the water and allow the clay to set and expand in the tub for 10 to 20 minutes (this will also allow time for the water to cool down). Slowly get in the bath – we actually recommend putting a non-slip mat in the bath as the clay could make the bath slippery. Adjust the temperature of the water if it is too cool, taking care not to make it too hot.
You can also pre-mix the clay by hand or in a blender, to a very liquid consistency. Measure the amount of clay first and mix it with 5 to 6 times the amount of water. Mix gently by hand with a wooden spoon in a large ceramic or glass bowl, or in a blender. Poor the liquid clay mixture under running water as the bath is filling.
We find this method to be much easier.
During your bath, if the clay settles at the bottom of the tub, gently agitate with your hand or feet to re-mix.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU TAKE A CLAY BATH?
This is entirely up to you! If you are new to clay baths and are trying to encourage your body to detox, please start off slowly by taking one short bath per week for a few weeks. You can then increase the frequency of your baths and the time spent in them as you have gotten used to the effects and benefits of the clay.
If you are a seasoned bather and are well used to the clay, you can take baths on demand.
WHAT ABOUT CLAY FOOT BATHS?
For those who don’t have a bath, or who are hesitant to take a full bath once or several times a week, a clay foot bath is an excellent alternative.
Simply sprinkle 1/2 cup of clay in a small basin filled with tepid to warm water, then agitate to mix. Soak your feet for 15 to 30 minutes, or longer if you wish (as the release of toxins will be slower with a foot bath, there is no need to monitor the time as closely as with a full bath).
CLEANING THE BATH AFTER USE
If you have used no more than 2 cups of a good quality fine-milled clay (with a screen-mesh higher than 325), you can simply let the bath drain, and have no fear of clogging your pipes! Simply rinse the bottom of the bath with cold water to get rid of any residue.
If you have used more clay, or a grittier clay, you should put down a piece of fine mesh under the stopper and make sure it stays in place as the bath drains. Then dispose of the residue clay and rinse the bottom of the bath.
Store your clay between uses in a completely sealed container (either glass or a good quality food grade plastic).
Our green swelling clay interacts with and can absorb metal particles, so we recommend avoiding prolonged contact of the clay with any metal (spoons or containers for example).