Special to CSMS Magazine
Ice packs, hot and cold compresses, medicated baths and other forms of water therapy were mainstays of folk medicine for centuries. Today, high-tech medicine has eclipsed water-based treatments. Yet these treatments—safe, inexpensive and easy to use—remain valuable tools for easing discomfort caused by common ailments.
We all know how relaxing a warm bath can be. But not everyone realizes that even greater benefits can be reaped by adding natural ingredients to the water.
- Apple cider vinegar. Add a cup to bath water, and splash a handful over your shoulders, back and chest. That will invigorate you when you’re fatigued. This technique also helps restore the skin’s germ killing natural acidity, which is continually washed away by bathing. To soothe poison ivy or sunburn, add two cups of vinegar.
- Bran. A bran bath eases itching, soothes dermatitis or other skin irritations and eliminates scaly patches. Sew several handfuls of wheat or oat bran into a cheesecloth pouch. Soak the pouch in hot water for several minutes, then place in a tub filled with tepid water. Squeeze the pouch until the water turns milky.
- Pine extract. One capful in warm bath helps open clogged pores, speeds healing of rashes and relieves muscle fatigue. Pine extract is available at drugstores and health-food stores. Do not confuse it with pine cleanser, which will irritate the skin.
This energizing technique tones tissues, relives stress and fatigue…and can help you ward off a cold. Sit on the edge of a tub filled with warm water. Pour salt into a cupped hand. Slowly add water to the salt until you make a thick paste. Using firm, circular motions, rub the paste over your body. Then rinse off the paste a brief soak in the tub…or sponge if off with cold water. Be careful not to rub salt onto sores, cuts, etc.
To ease writer’s cramp, soak hands in hot water. To warm cold hands, soak them alternately in hot water (three minutes) and cold water (30 seconds). Repeat several times, ending with cold water.
Caution: Don’t leave hand in cold water for more than a few minutes at a time.
To prevent or relieve headache pain, fold a washcloth in half, dip it in ice water and wring it out. Place it on your head or neck. Continually keep it wet every few minutes to keep it cold.
To relieve a sore throat or laryngitis, fold a cotton cloth in thirds, wet it with cold water and wring it out. Wind it once around the neck and fasten with a safety pin. Over the cloth, wrap a wool scarf.
Note: Ivanette Monsalve lives and works in Charlotte, North Carolina.