Our /your key
happens in the womb via water/hydrosol/mineral water baths
All creatures great and small go to SPAs or
into water to be restored. This has been happening for tens of
thousands of years. When we are overworked, stressed, exhausted,
our skin starves for nutrients and hydration. The most important
nutrient is the hydration of the skin through water/hydrosol.
A SPA as a place
should be more than a destination point, it should also be considered
a health center, a place to transform your life nurturing both mind
and body by better eating habits and exercise as well as education.
Mind/Body/Spirit - the integration of the whole..
The origin of
the word SPA is Salud or Salve Per Aqua or "health through water".
This phrase was found in a Roman bath as an anonymous graffiti 2000
years ago. A Spa has one main ingredient
and that is water. Hydrotherapy,
using water for healing, is an important part of any SPA
philosophy. Some SPAs such as Rancho La Puerta are well-known
for herbal wraps that use the local plants infused in hot mineral
water, using linen cloths soaked in these herbal waters and then
wrapped around the clients for various health benefits. The
client is then wrapped in a rubberized sheet to contain the heat and
allow the mineralized herbal water to penetrate the skin.
SPA is both an
ancient body of knowledge as well as a place to regenerate and find
harmony in nature. To make full use of a SPA, I believe that
one should consider the water more, what type there is what type of
minerals are in it naturally and using or making your own specialty
soaps. Good herbal and aromatherapy soaps can be purchased
from a company that makes handmade soap from herbs and essential
oils. Such companies as Woodspirits and Sweet Violet make
fabulous soaps and specialty spa treatment products. You can
incorporate hydrosols into all the hydrotherapy treatments, scrubs
and into the herbal wraps and into all skin care products and
Rosemary grows all over the world and provides many benefits.
Local and dried herbs are also useful. These can all be
distilled, particularly the Rosemary. Any local herb that is
locally distilled will produce hydrosol and some essential oil.
The best hydrosols are those that are locally grown from the correct
type of plants, picked at the correct time for the best chemical
components and distilled using a copper still or at least a copper
gooseneck or condensing coil. Rosemary hydrosol is rejuvenative
and anti-aging and can be added to many products and to many
treatments, while the essential oil could be used in locally made
soaps and skin-care products. Rosemary has a wonderful odor.
It should be harvested just before or during full flowering (not
after) for the most cineol content and least camphor and for the
hydrosol it must be distilled when freshly picked. Good
essential oil will also result.
made, is a wonderful addition to the home and in treatment areas.
Rosemary soap, in particular, smells good and is invigorating.
You can also have a soothing or relaxing soap by using the essential
oil of Artemisia ludoviciana which is a good substitute for
the more expensive Roman Chamomile. I believe that teaching
local women quality soap-making skills will enhance and follow the
mission of any Spa Project to help poor women and their families by
teaching them new skills. The art of soap-making as well as
how to set up a soap-making factory can be taught by many especially
such a soap artist as Barbara Bobo of Woodspirits.
The hydrosols and aromatic oils
that would be produced in local areas would be used in treatments
and could be sold at the market, in the salons and the health
centers. This in itself would be a wonderful addition to any
As a visitor
to many a Spa over the last 30 years, I have listened to a
variety of guests who have all made it very clear to me that if a spa
produces a quality product they will buy it. It being anything
in the product line that is wholesome and organic and that the guest
has experienced at the Spa. They have always been particularly
excited about hydrosols, especially the Rosemary hydrosol that I
bring and demonstrate. Guests also mention that the soap
available in the rooms should be special, should smell good and
should be luscious and handmade. Good soap, mineral water and
quality hydrosols are or should be always available at a top of the
Herbal Wraps using water, herbs and linen are well-known treatments. SPAs should rethink their methods and return to the older system of
group wrapping (lots of women in a large room together) in a heady
steam-filled room that will enhance the process. The herbs
that have been used in the past have been very herbaceous and heady
with scent, the steam filled with scent and healing. Flowers
can also be used in these 'herbal' wraps. Currently, spa's
seem to think that strongly scented herbs are not to be preferred.
They also seem to prefer individual wrapping in a private room.
This diminishes the over-all effect and reduces the amount of
therapeutic herbal steam. A mineral water rinse before or
after the herbal wrap or with your own hydrosols would be very
cleansing to the skin.
Day Spas and week-long Spas should most certainly offer extensive
water treatments, a more healing and nurturing environment and
services where the Spa goer can completely unwind. Also a Spa
should be free of the artificial, free of extraneous noise, free of
nasty or chemical odors, it should de-stress, scents should be
plant-based and natural, soft music or no music with natural sounds
predominating are best. Scent is used to relax the person and
decrease the amount of pain sensation while one would use medication
to sedate a person; sound, especially nature's sound or good music
(not necessarily NewAge) helps clients think more clearly.
Many of these
Spa treatments can be made and used at home, in the company of
friends or simply by yourself.
BATHS - See individual listings for different baths. A
simple bath is the infused herbs of any fresh ones that you have
available with 10 drops complimentary essential oils. i.e.
Citrus peels infusion plus citrus and Patchouli [1 drop each
Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, 3 of Neroli + 4 drops Patchouli].
DEEP SPA BATHS or HOME BATHING with Hydrosols - Hydrosols in
the bath water will keep your skin young and beautiful looking.
They are anti-aging.
Run a deep bath. Add herbs or not,
add 4 oz of any hydrosol, add milk, add anything. Soak for at
least 20 minutes. Try to air dry. Then dress. Here
are some hydrosols to use and what they can be used for -
Hydrosol is gentle, balancing, a toner,
anti-inflammatory, cooling to the skin, hydrating and great for all
skin types, especially oily and sensitive skin.
Hydrosol is anti-viral and can be used for herpes or
as an antifungal. Use it in the bath, the foot bath for
athletes foot or for a child's bath. One ounce in a child's
bath is plenty.
Hydrosol is the consummate bathing hydrosol. It
smells good and regenerates the skin while it 'balances' the oil
glands. It is good for dry skin, men love it in the bath and
it even is good for bathing dogs.
is the anti-aging hydrosol. Drink it, bathe in it, use the
herb, use the hydrosol, use the essential oil and use all
combinations of these for a variety of herbal/aromatic anti-aging
delights. If you use it to wash your hair, it makes the hair
so strong that it will be difficult to color or perm.
Hazel Hydrosol is astringent, has little to no odor
and heals all sorts of skin problems.
DRINKS/HYDROSOL BATH -
Hydrosols: These are the natural
products of specialized distillation. They contain all the
natural plant-based properties and nutrients as well as the small
therapeutic micro-drops of essential oil. Hydrosols are mildly
acidic, about 5.5 which is the same pH as the skin. [if the pH
is more than this, then you probably bought water and it isn't a
true hydrosol] Hydrosols can be used as facial sprays, in all your
water-based products, in drinking waters as a tonic, in baths,
compresses, poultices, creams, lotions, foot baths, foods, etc.
Just add them to everything, one tablespoon to drinks up to 4 ounces
to the bath.
MUD BATHS -
Umm! - I love mud baths, volcanic ash
baths, Moor mud baths. Mud baths as they are done in various
SPAs of the world such as those that exist in Calistoga, CA, can
only be taken on site. One of the best in Calistoga is Indian
Springs Spa (707/942-4913) which uses only the natural volcanic ash
that is dug from the ground where it was deposited ages ago.
Relaxing in a mud bath is detoxifying, healing, pain-relieving and
cleansing to mind/body/spirit.
In the home
spa, you might try Moor Mud made from the natural Moor Peat from the
Neydharting Spa of Austria. Moor is the result of the slow
decomposition over thousands of years of 1,000 herbs, plants and
flowers that were nurtured by glacial waters and pure air and
sunlight. The pH is mildly acidic like human skin. It is
a remarkable substance with many therapeutic properties. It
can improve the skin, aid in weight loss and breakdown of cellulite.
Moor baths are also helpful for people who have trouble sleeping or
who have chronic pain. It is available in 35 oz containers,
just enough for 7 - 5 oz baths taken on alternate evenings as a
detoxifying agent. One should take 21 of these baths (42 days)
for a complete treatment.
There are many
types of mud baths, mud treatments. These include the Moor
Bath and the volcanic ash treatments already mentioned as well as
the various cold and hot treatments using the healing force of
natural peat. Muds can be used in full-body baths, in
full-body or partial applications, compresses with other herbs and
hydrosols as well and in face masks, in baths with salts, milks,
whey or with cream applications.
SALT BATHS -
Salt baths are
the easiest to take. Precede the salt bath with a salt scrub.
Stand on a towel outside of the tub and using handfuls of salt to
exfoliate the skin gently scrub the skin - from neck to waist and
from toes to neck; always moving your hands in a circular rotation.
If pure salt is too gritty, mix it 1~1 with oil (Olive or Almond).
Concentrate on the knuckles, elbows, knees, feet, and fatty parts
such as the love handles and butt. Run a hot bath. Add 1
cup each of sea salt, baking soda and epsom salts. Get in and
soak for 15 minutes. Rinse. Air dry. Wrap yourself
in a big fluffy towel, lay in the sun or take a rest in warmed
blankets. This may be followed by a massage or blanket wrap.
Scented Salt Baths - To every pound
of mixed salts, add 5-10 drops of your essential oil mixture.
Mix it together thoroughly, let it age at least two weeks before
using. For a real salt bath, use the entire pound of scented
salt per each bath. There are many excellent mixtures of
essential oils that one can use in the scented bath, check out table
1 and 2 of either The Herbal Body Book or The Aromatherapy
Book for some good ideas. The citrus oils are a particularly
SEAWATER BATH or SEAWEED BATH
- I have taken a variety of baths
using fresh and dried seaweed. Since fresh seaweed harbors
millions of tiny creatures, my suggestion is to only use dried
Seaweeds with no creatures. Use a Seaweed that doesn't break
up like Dulce or giant Kelp. Simply put a dried piece in your
bath, add rubber duckies and cute play toys, watch the Seaweed grow
and expand in the water until it gently unfurls and wraps around
your body. Turn out the lights and contemplate the great
oceans of the world. You can also collect gallons of seawater from
the ocean, bring it home and add to your bath.
formula is to take 1 oz each of Dulce, Bladderwrack and Irish Moss
and add to your bathtub along with 1 cup of seasalt. Have a
nice soak. Rub your body all over with a pumice stone or with
the inside of an Avocado peel. This will exfoliate off the
dead skin. After 20 minutes, have a rinse, wrap in a big linen
towel and give yourself a facial or foot massage with gentle herbal
Hand made, hand-crafted aromatherapy soaps
are the best way to incorporate an aromatherapy treatment into your
daily schedule. A good crafted soap retains all the glycerin,
does not dry the skin, moisturizes, and uses pure essential oils not
fragrance for scent and therapy. A soap formula should use
about 8 oz essential oil/32 pounds of soap. This is
approximately 1 drop per personal application and is a truly
therapeutic aromatic treatment. There are many choices and
many producers. My favorite soaps are listed at the end of
WATER/HERBAL WRAPS - Herbal wraps
are used to help detoxify the body, reduce water weight and for
cleansing. My favorites use heavy old-fashioned linen sheets
rather than cotton sheets.
The wrap in
its simplest form is used as follows: The sheets are
dipped into an herbal infusion using any
herbs that grow nearby or that can be obtained. The sheets are
then wrung out using a wringer and then while still hot wrapped
around a person. The person is then covered with a water-proof
sheet and then swaddled with blankets.
There are some
fine points. The best herbs are fresh or freshly picked and
would include wild Sage, Camomile, Lavender. A communal room
is best where 5-10 women are being wrapped at the same time.
This contains the steam and keeps the room steamy and cozy.
The tables/beds should be hip high as a comfort to the attendant.
A medium firm 3-5 inch mattress is used, covered with a rubberized
cover and then a water-proof sheet. The hot herbal sheets are
laid on this base, then the person, then the sheets are brought up
and around the person. Two-three hot sheets are used per
After the 20
minute hot herbal wrap, the woman puts on her thick terry cloth robe
and goes to the cool down room where she is wrapped in a warm
blanket for 20 minutes and allowed to rest and cool down.
During the wrap process, cold Cucumber slices or cool Camomile tea
bags are placed on the eyes, and mineralized water is given to
The water used
is the most important part of the process and should be clean and
pure. Hydrosols can be sprayed on the woman before the wrap,
as well as after the wrap for a refreshing change.
Mask: To make a clay mask or pack:
simply take a bit of clay (1 t.), add water/hydrosol, enough to mix
using a non-metal mixer or your finger and apply. Let it dry
and then remove with plenty of water and a spray of hydrosol.
Sugar Scrub: EXTERNAL MASSAGE: Standing in the bathtub, rub
yourself all over with Sugar Scrub.
70% by weight
sugar, gritty sugar like Turbinado
30% by weight
oil such as Calendula Infused oil or any vegetable oil.
2% by weight
of essential oils
This translates to 2-1/2 oz or 1/3 cup
of a nice gritty sugar like Turbinado
1 oz by volume of oil
25 drops of essential oil blend (I have used 12 d. Lemon + 12 d.
Water/Herbal Wraps: Use 1 lb. of herbs to 5
gallons of water. An easy way to make the hot herbal infusion
is to add the herbs to a mesh laundry bag, add the hottest water
from the tap, put it through a short cycle without a rinse cycle to
get a strong infusion. Add the sheets at the end of the wash
cycle for 3 minutes and then wring the sheets through a hand
wringer. Then the herbal infusion can be used again for the
next set of sheets.
Jeanne Rose has been teaching, researching
and using natural remedies for 33 years, beginning with her first
book, Herbs & Things, now in it's second edition.
Sixteen books followed this seminal work. To get in touch, to
purchase the books, to understand aromatherapy, herbalism, hydrosols
and essential oils, to sign up for the in-person Seminars with
Jeanne Rose, visit her website at
Jeanne Rose also teaches a distance learning program, home-study
courses both in Herbalism and Aromatherapy. She is Executive
Director of the Aromatic Plant Project and can be reached at
You may also call 415/564-6785 for a catalog and calendar of events.
Hydrosols: Aromatic Plant Project -
415/564-6785 or Kneading Wellness - 717/626-8182
Moor Mud: Available at many places,
here's one - 604/878-0812 and fax 604/228-1827
Soaps: There are many handcrafted soaps
available. Try some from your local health food store.
Rose, Jeanne, 375 Essential Oils and
Hydrosols, Herbal Library, 1999
________, The Aromatherapy Book,
Applications & Inhalations. North Atlantic. 1998
________, Herbal Body Book,
Frog, Berkeley, CA 2000
________, Herbs & Things, Last
Gasp, San Francisco, CA 2001
________, Kitchen Cosmetics,
Frog, Berkeley, CA 1976
The above mentioned books can be
www.JeanneRose.net or Aromatic Plant Project 415/564-6785
of Aromatic Studies, 219 Carl St., San Francisco, CA 94117:
415/564-6785, FAX 415/564-6799; E-Mail
This article is used by
permission from Jeanne Rose
reproduce without permission in writing. August 31, 2003)