How to Turn Bath Time Into Your Personal Wellness Ritual
There's just something about warm baths, with the right moisturizing ingredients and lovely scents, that makes us feel calm and relaxed, and helps us sleep better at night, but most bathers don't even know of those benefits—and even more don't take baths at all.
We wanted to learn more about the phenomenon, so we spoke to pursoma founder and bath expert Shannon Vaughn, for answers. In this interview, she told us all about her personal wellness journal through bathing, what baths do for the body, and why pursoma's innovative offerings are different from anything else on the market.
SweetyHigh: Can you tell us a little bit about your own story, and how it eventually led you to bathing as a respite from the worries of life?
Shannon Vaughn: I grew up with fairly unorthodox parents who were committed to immersing their kids in nature, so we were frequently exposed to the healing elements surrounding us from a young age. Years later, as an adult, I was facing infertility, anxiety and PTSD after surviving a bombing while living in Beirut, which compelled me to study different approaches to healing, ranging from Western medicine to holistic Ayurveda. The latter introduced me to detox bathing, and the mineral-rich bathing rituals that I adopted resulted in both physical and mental healing. I decided to share my healing experiences so that others too, could redefine the practice of self-care for themselves, not as an indulgence, but as a birthright. We all need time to unwind and decompress from our hectic lives but few of us feel enabled to give that to ourselves.
SH: What are the elements to putting together a personal bath ritual that works for you?
SV: I like to think of the bathroom as a sanctuary. Taking a bath requires that you intentionally set time aside to disconnect from technology and the environmental stressors around you in order to take care of yourself. My personal bath ritual begins with water. Hydration is key with mineral bathing, as it opens your pores and causes you to sweat, so bring a one-liter water bottle with you to the tub. I start with dry brushing while the tub fills with hot water; five minutes to dry brush my entire body, starting with my feet and brushing each limb and part of my body towards my heart center. Dry brushing is an ancient practice that is known to help stimulate the lymphatic system and gently exfoliate the skin.
Because all pursoma baths contain French grey sea salt, I choose my daily bath based on what my body needs—whether that is remineralizing clay, muscle-soothing magnesium, or a certain aromatherapy blend. I use my favorite washcloth to exfoliate my face while in the tub, sometimes make a clay face mask, and soak for 20 to 30 minutes to a pursoma Spotify playlist or a guided meditation. After the bath, I wrap up in a robe, recline in bed, and sweat and rest for several minutes before applying body oil. As a nightcap, I often have one of the pursoma herbal teas before bed.
SH: How do you feel that creating a bath ritual was a game-changer in your life? How have baths been healing for you? What benefits does it have, and where do those benefits actually come from?
SV: Hot water immersion has its roots in ancient healing rituals, and is still a powerful ritual that people adopt all over the world, from onsen baths in Japan to hot springs in California. When you add mineral-rich sea salt and clay, as well as soothing aromatherapy and remineralizing ingredients like seabed magnesium, green algae, and wild-harvested sea kelp, the bath experience is elevated to a higher level. Our pores open in the bath and the transdermal absorption of pure minerals is promoted. We say "you are what you eat," and it's a similar concept when bathing—you have both the benefits of hot water immersion, and the healing elements of the ingredients that you add to the bath. Personally, a regular regimen of detox bathing and meditation has healed my body and provided a solution to cope with PTSD. And regarding those infertility issues that I struggled with, I now have a 6-year-old daughter who is thriving.
SH: Has there been an uptick in bathing during the pandemic as a way to relieve stress? If so, why do you think that's the case, and why has it been so beneficial for so many people?
SV: Our culture lives like this: wake up, drink caffeine, eat carbs, sit at a desk in front of a screen where you're overstimulated constantly, eat easy food, and then try to get to sleep. That type of life means we are performing at half-capacity. I know that because I lived that way. Edging into wellness means adding in some balance. For example, if you sit in front of a screen all day, stop from time to time and have some conversation. Use a stand-up desk or sit on an exercise ball instead or take a five-minute walk every hour. Put your phone on airplane mode and take evening baths during the week.
Wellness went wrong because it became a trend, and it became very elitist. Take, for instance, someone who goes to a $45 yoga class and has a $12 matcha and eats a $7 avocado, but they wouldn't know the first thing about how to grow their own food. That's why our mission at pursoma is to produce the highest quality products possible without gatekeeping via price or retail placement. The wellness industry has become disconnected from the source, which is nature. People just need to have a connection to nature. Taking a walk and drinking enough water are low-hanging fruit and a great place to start. People have also realized that they have a healing vessel in their home—the bathtub—that can have substantial effects on their mental and physical well-being.
SH: Can you tell us more about your Cleanse Your MIND, Sweat It Out BODY and Digital Detox SLEEP products? What do each of them do, and what ingredients do they have that make for different soothing bath rituals?
SV: These baths are so exciting because we are offering an all-natural alternative to Epsom—which is not actually salt, it's factory-made magnesium sulfate. Our three 3 lb. soaks all have hand-harvested, mineral-rich French grey sea salt and incredible aromatherapy blends, all for just over $1 per bath. We did extensive R&D and testing to explore what problems our customers (and bathers in general) are looking to solve, and figured out that everyone is looking to sleep better, relieve a sore body, and feel mentally peaceful. So, we created our Sweat It Out BODY soak with ginger and blood orange for body recovery and relaxation; we created our Digital Detox SLEEP soak with lavender and vanilla to promote restful sleep, and we created our Cleanse Your MIND soak with mint and eucalyptus to clear the senses and calm a racing mind. All of the soaks leave your skin feeling hydrated and soft. The sea salt remineralizes skin with natural and unprocessed ingredients. It's been my goal to make pure, high-quality bath salts accessible to as many people as possible, and these $9.99 soaks are a huge step forward.
Feel like you need to disconnect and treat yourself? Click HERE for some of our favorite bath and beauty products to pamper yourself with this year.