I am a big proponent of how our ancestors used to live. I think they had the secret to healthy way of life. Every single method they followed had some scientific meaning attached to it. We think we are closer to science but I think we have uprooted ourselves from our roots into a world of contrived and factitious living.
Anyway, getting back to the post! The best way to provide a healthy bath to our kids is the age old way of “oil bath“. This is the Ayurveda way and whenever I give this kind of bath to my son, his skin is soft like a fresh rose petal. And of course he smells like a fresh breeze from a beautiful summer garden.
An oil bath is when you apply oil to the body and the head and then take a shower with water. I use coconut oil, since that is the best conditioner for the skin and the hair.
Start with the hair first. Apply oil generously and massage gently. Then move on the little one’s body. Lather it with oil (and be careful when you handle him/her after that…they are slippery :)). Leave the child in this oiled state for 2-5 mins. If the child is older, then you can leave them longer, but toddlers and younger, get cold easy. So use your judgement. On a sunny day, I leave my 3 year old for upto 10 mins.
For the shower, don’t use soap or shampoo. Use Mung bean or green gram flour. This is best for kids because even if they ingest the flour by mistake, Mung Dal flour is extremely gentle on their stomach. Make a paste of the finely ground bean flour and use that for removing the oil from the hair and the body. You can add a pinch of ground turmeric to this to get a completely authentic Ayurvedic oil bath.
The benefits of oil bath:
- Coconut oil detoxifies the body and acts as a stress reducer
- The oil cools the head and controls excess body heat
- The mung bean flour acts as a mild scrub and exfoliates the gentle skin
- No harsh chemicals or abrasions from the flour
- Turmeric is an antibacterial and kills all the harmful bacteria on the body and hair
- Finally Coconut is an excellent conditioner and leaves the hair and body silky soft
Since he was 3 months old, I have been giving oil bath to my son. I give it to him atleast once in 15 days, although I strive to do it weekly. The only piece of caution is to avoid this when the child is very sick. You can benefit from an oil bath if it is mild cough and cold…but beyond that, you should avoid giving an oil bath.
Although I have written the formula above for kids, even adults can benefit equally from an oil bath. This is a known recipe for better health. Use our ancestor’s wisdom generously and flourish.