The ancient tribes of Northern Europe used steam baths with herbs, whereas the Romans preferred large pools of water, continuing the thalassotherapy (hydrotherapy) of the Greeks, who learned it in turn from the Egyptians. 2 The Romans created public baths wherever they went; there's a town called Bath in England built upon a natural springs. The tribes in the United Kingdoms long revered natural springs as nature spirits and usually, female deities. Water was revered as the source of life and health with magical properties. Springs and rivers with particular minerals and constituents were (and still are) renowned for their healing properties.
Renaissance bath party: I want a singing minstrel at my next bath party!
Several things led to the aversion to bathing remarked on in Medieval Europe: climate change to a cooler climate, the Church, with their aversion to anything pleasurable to do with the body (they were so much fun), and the plagues that swept through Europe, which gave people a healthy fear of sharing germs. 3
Public bath houses were still around, and the main resource for city dwellers to bath, but with the Church's influence of associating them with ungodliness, they acquired a reputation for being shady. The upper classes took over the hot springs and mineral springs, which became spas until the world wars and later have kept this upscale connotation.
Luckily, most people have tubs in their own homes these days, albeit, not the soaking tubs we might long for.... oh, how I wish to have a big soaking tub someday! Even if you only have a shower, you can enjoy a cleansing bath by preparing a salt and herbal mix in a large pot on the stove, straining it, and sponging it on in a shower.
Herbal Salt Bath
There are so many combinations of salts and herbs that can be used to make a healing bath.In footnote 2 below, Herbalgram has quite a list of baths for particular plants and conditions.
In my blend I chose three different salts; Himalayan Pink salt, Epsom salts and Baking Soda to nourish and soften the skin as well as clear impurities from the skin's pores. (Did you know Baking Soda was a salt? Look at the box; Sodium Bicarbonate). For my herbs I chose dried and crumbled Bay leaves 4,5 and Western Red Cedar, both of which are known for their antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory topical uses. I added a few drops of Lavender eo and Lavender flower essence and mixed well. Flower essences are lovely added to everything!
If you don't want to have to clean a bunch of gunk out of the tub afterward, the bath can be put into a muslin cloth or even old sheers that are then dunked into the water, or prepare in a pan on the stove and then strain into the tub or a bowl if doing a sponge bath.
I'd recommend not using anything that would be bad for the environment, as it goes out with the waste water; for example, I've stopped using glitter in my bath bombs.
If you want to try out this mix I have it available in the shop section of the website.