File under “W+G trivia”: The first Roman and Greek bathhouses—where sacred ritual baths became a thing—were so large, they included lecture halls and art galleries. That might make your 50-square-foot bathroom pale in comparison, but no worries—you can still live large when it comes to the ancient art of bathing.
If you’re wondering what exactly a ritual bath is and if you need one, Reiki master and energy healer (not to mention licensed psychologist) Paulette Sherman can help. Her new book, The Book of Sacred Bath Rituals, is all about channeling the ancient, cross-cultural practice and applying it to your tub sesh. She’s adamant that the process is a sacred oasis for mental, emotional, and spiritual maintenance (AKA the modern woman’s trifecta).
“Rituals usually take a normal thing and elevate it to make it special,” says Sherman. “A bath ritual is your time to spend 25 minutes getting clarity and setting intentions for different aspects of your life—and let everything negative go down the drain.”
Unlike your typical post-workout dip, these baths don’t involve soap and a shave; Sherman calls for specific essential oils, crystals, and other high-vibe components that match what you’d like to amplify in your life, whether it’s your career, love life, or self care. (In fact, she has 52 different “recipes”.)
“You pick an intention for your bath, light a candle, and put matching essential oils into the bath, as well as a crystal to decrease stress,” says Sherman. Once you’ve got that set, she then recommends that you meditate or visualize what you’d like to achieve.
Do it on the reg and you might be surprised by the results. “The ritual element of your bath really bridges your inner and outer space to make it sacred,” explains Sherman. “It can make you feel more connected and allow you to see the meaning or connection in everyday moments.”
Basically, it’s validation for carving out some you-time and turning your bathroom into a healing oasis—and, considering the rise of nesting (staying in with Netflix as opposed to going out), this is very necessary.
Keep reading for the five elements that’ll help take your baths to a sacred ritual level.
Crystals each have their own vibration and healing properties, which are “said to attract different things,” Sherman explains. “In sacred baths, you can put a crystal in the bath water that matches your intention and it will amplify it. For example, rose quartz is said to attract love, and Celestite is said to reduce stress.” To figure out which one’s perfect for you, check out these seven healing crystals and how to use them.
2. Essential oils
Just as different scents have their own specific mood-boosting powers, each essential oil has its own affect over your senses. “Some say that essential oils are the highest frequency known to man,” says Sherman. “Different essential oils are said to attract different things, so you can choose essential oils for your sacred bath that match your intention.” She notes that lavender is good for reducing stress, peppermint is energizing (which aids with assertiveness and success), and sandalwood can attract focus.
3. Colored candles
Though it’s not revolutionary to light a candle as you draw a bath, Sherman says it’s not just about the scent—the hue of the wax can serve its own purpose. “Candles can be used to represent the changes that you’d like to make,” she says. “The color of the candle has its own electromagnetic energy, which has powers over your mood and the vibe of the room.” For example, Sherman recommends pink for self love and white for peace.
4. Herbal teas
“Some say herbal teas have different energies,” says Sherman, who recommends brewing yourself a cup after the bath to continue amplifying your intention. “Drink an herbal tea that matches your bath’s goal.” She notes that lavender tea is good to promote calm, rose-hips promotes self love, and patchouli tea helps attract your dreams.
After achieving a meditative state post-bath, Sherman says it’s the ideal time to gather your thoughts. Whether you were visualizing goals or meditating toward an intention while in the water, she suggests writing out everything that comes to you (while you’re drinking the tea, natch). “It’s good to journal for five minutes about the clarity you received during your bath,” says Sherman. “This then allows you to try to incorporate it into your life—jot it down and hold yourself accountable later.” Clear mind, can’t lose.
Looking for other modes of self care? Listen to this healing sound bath recording or try one of these three self-care rituals that are easy—but powerful.