The heart & soul detox: pt. ii salts + soaks

Three days into my five-day prescription antibiotic

I found myself unable to eat, unable to walk, unable to think and shaking with tremors. I could not count. I could not add numbers. I could not feel my muscles and

I did not have health insurance.

The story is long.

I will tell the full of it another time and I won’t leave out any of the gushy details on the incoherent conversations, curses spewing from my mouth and confessing life sins in the ER room, like I was going to die or something.

But the story I want to tell you right now is about the ER doctors who would not listen to me—the ones who thought me either drunk, high or pregnant. They were not hearing that I had already taken 5 pregnancy tests for the nausea and that I’ve never swallowed an ecstasy pill, never rolled a joint, never inhaled that white dust, never shot thin needles.

They sent me home with no explanation, no answers. Just a crap ton of prescriptions for meds and more antibiotics that I was too paranoid to take, anyway.

Doctor to doctor,
test after test.

Nothing.

I gave up. Eventually stopped signing my name on the long waiting room lists and started playing connect-the-dots with whatever wits I had left—called my mom, talked it through, read labels, researched facts, until…I found it.

It was the antibiotic that made me sick.

I had experienced the rare, but very real, adverse reaction that is ever-so-carefully printed on the labels that no one EVER reads.

Oh, how I would have done it differently. So differently.

Research became my friend. My lifeline.

Through research, I was able to make the connection between my blood tests, which showed that my potassium was severely depleted, and my inability to walk. Though the list was LONG with symptoms, sensations, pain, sickness and triggers, at least I knew that I was able to start somewhere: my muscles.

Through research, I learned that potassium is a vital mineral used by our bodies to carry out the cellular processes that regulate nerve & muscle function. I grew convinced that my deficiency in potassium was directly related to my muscle weakness and inability to walk. I also learned that magnesium, another mineral vital for the body to carry out cellular processes and functions, was crucial and closely related to regulating levels of potassium in the body. I figured that my weak muscles were lacking potassium and that, to get my potassium up, I’d also have to get my magnesium up.

So I took baths.

At first, the baths only seemed to aggravate the muscle weakness and bouts of tremors. I would come out of my baths a stumbling mess and feeling worse than I did before—unable to walk and needing my husband’s help to get from the tub to the bed. But. I had to believe that the Epsom salt (rich in magnesium) was not hurting me; I had to believe that it was helping me.

Over the course of a few weeks, the twitching and the tremors began to lessen until, eventually, they subsided. This was the first symptom in my health battle to heal, although the recovery of regaining my muscle tone and strength was a longer process, which is another story that I will tell later on.

DETOX

Soaking in hot water raises the body’s temperature. It’s like working out—you get everything pumping and flowing inside. When the body heats up, it begins to sweat. You can think of sweat as the body’s built-in AC unit.

How do we sweat? Well, our skin has pores. Remember those little guys? When we sweat, the body’s pores open up in order to release the sweat. With the cells working so hard to get the body sweating, there are all kinds of things going on—blood flowing, heart pumping, water & waste (no matter how trace the amount of waste) releasing. This is good. Our bodies were made to work, to push, to be in process, to circulate—to flush.

DELIVER

Picture this—a child with outstretched arms, hands facing up and palms open. This child is in the perfect position to receive a gift. This is like the body’s pores—open, like the child’s hands, to take in whatever is readily available.

This is where salts & soaks come into play. Bathing with pure Epsom salt, sea salts and other bath soaks can deliver naturally occurring minerals (gifts!) that the body is not able to produce or obtain otherwise.

Potassium, Magnesium, Sodium, Calcium, Sulfur
just to name a few…

Though we were created to and are recommended to obtain these minerals through natural foods, it’s helpful to know that receiving them through a bath is an option. Example: when I was unable eat or drink ANYTHING (except for water and crackers) due to nausea, heat/cold intolerance, allergic reactions and triggers that took months to wade and wander through, it was soaking in Epsom salt that gave my body the magnesium it needed.

. . .

Along with delivering minerals, a bath also delivers so much more. Mentally, it can deliver peace, as it can be a quiet space for you to detox bad thoughts and moments from the day or week, and a place to take in truth and soak up healing.

I have grieved in the tub. Mourned in the tub. Dreamed in the tub. Released lies in the tub. Wrestled with myself and with God in the tub. Laughed in the tub. Accepted and forgiven myself in the tub. Prayed in the tub. Closed my eyes and found rest in the tub.

There is nothing magical or spiritual about a bath or a tub. But — there is something powerful about the act of making time & space with the specific intention of releasing and letting go. It is like journaling, or going for a walk or a hike — you go into it knowing that you are going to leave something behind.

SALTS & SOAKS TO TRY

Pink Himalayan Sea Salt & Black Lava Salt » as with all sea salts, these two contain naturally occurring minerals. Black lava salt is just a fancy name for salt that is mixed with charcoal.

Epsom Salt » not really a salt, rather it’s a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. It gets its name, Epsom,  from the spring in Surrey, England that it is named after.

Baking Soda » a common household product, so even if you don’t have a fancy sea salt, you can still get yo’ bath on. Baking soda is not only a great cleanser for the home, but it’s very cleansing and soothing for the skin, too.

Witch Hazel » a natural remedy of the Native Americans—it is useful as a topical for burns, insect bites and bruises. It is also a gentle astringent which makes it a great toner for the skin and face (I use it everyday!). When used as a bath soak, it can be healing and soothing to inflamed skin.

Ginger, Mint, Rosemary » common herbs & spices that everyone has lying around the kitchen. When added to a bath, these herbs & spices can warm, soothe and invigorate the body. They are also aromatic, which can be clarifying to the mind, too.

I only take detox baths 1-2 times per week. I sometimes also bath with lavender buds and I always try to drink a cup of water before and during my bath.

Note: This blog post is solely based on my personal health experience. I am not a doctor, nor is the above post an attempt to diagnose, cure, or treat any condition or to provide professional medical guidelines for any person. Spices, herbs and salts are powerful agents and should be treated as such. Be safe, be smart: always seek professional medical assistance before using salts and other ingredients/recipes as soaking aids, especially if you are pregnant or have circulatory or heart problems.

TRUTHS TO MEDITATE ON

It’s not enough to try to take care of the body; the heart has to be taken care of, too. The heart is where our daily battles take place. It is home to our thoughts—it is home to who we are. To clean and beautify ourselves on the outside without doing the same on the inside is as effective as spreading thick a coat of paint over muddy boots:

you’re only covering up the mess; you’re never dealing with the root.

The following bible verses are powerful truths. Instead of mindlessly thinking (or dreaming, like I tend to do), try meditating on these verses. Break them down, repeat them over and over again, use them as points of self-searching. Check your heart, your motives, your thoughts, your anxieties and insecurities against these verses. And after all of that mindful thinking and meditating, ask God to help you to believe these truths and to apply them to the areas of your life where you lack belief in these words.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.”

— Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

“…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

— Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

— Proverbs 31:30 (NIV)

My next heart & soul detox post will come out next week, but I’d love to hear your heart and where you are in your health journey. Have you ever used salts or soaks in your baths or is it something you’ve been wanting to try? Do you think that a detoxing bath would help you more mentally or physically or both?

8 thoughts on “The heart & soul detox: pt. ii salts + soaks

  1. I love you. I love your heart. I love your transparency. I thank and praise God for your life and journey and I pray that it will continue to bless others, just like it has so greatly blessed mine <3.

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    1. I thank you for literally walking with me through this very journey. It was so not pretty. I was so not pretty. A big mess. And still you saw ME. Love you always and forever. Always ❤

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  2. Thank you for your heart and life outpouring! This inspired me to take a bath this evening. I went the baking soda route since that was most available. I have a rough history with baths. Two years ago, I was taking a rare bath, but in the middle of the bath — probably because it’s such a raw, quiet place — all of my fears started raging in my mind. It was too much, so I jumped out, terrified. I didn’t take a bath again for a long time, and, when I finally did, it was with an undertone of anxiety. Tonight has been a night of healing. Healing my heart and mind a little bit at a time. Learning to care for this body o mine. I didn’t take this bath with fear. I took it with your words infused in my brain, peacefully working out a different perspective of hope and grace. So, thank you. I love you.

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    1. And to think, this is only the beginning of your healing. What a joy that I get to be a part of this process. Naomi, I am blessed that my story and these words were able to help you see yourself in a different light tonight. You are brave for taking that bath, brave for giving yourself a second chance and brave for facing your fears. Don’t ever stop letting those words and the truth from filtering through your head — they will change your life, from the inside out.
      Hearing you share this part of your story made sharing mine all worth it.
      I am thankful for you and I love you too ❤

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  3. Thank you for always sharing so honestly. I loved this post as I definitely relate!Due to my Chronic Lyme Disease, I do detox baths as often as possible or when my body needs it (Which currently looks like 2-3x/week). I switch back and forth between Epsom Salts (sometimes with Baking Soda & YL Lavender Oil) and Himalayan Rock Salts. I definitely find that the Himalayan Rock Salts can sometimes be too much for my body so the water temperature can’t be too warm nor can I stay in for too long.I heard great things this morning from some other fellow Lyme friends who recommended ‘Barefood Venus Mustard Bath Salts.’ I’ve never heard of this but they are a Canadian Company (Yay for local!) and everyone had great reviews especially when it came to relieving pain or when congested or sick. So, it looks like I’ll be going to Costco this week to find myself some!I usually read while in the bath or listen to sermons from church. Those are all great verses to meditate on!

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    1. Charissa! I love you, girl – so much! I want to hear when and how you found out you had Lyme disease. I know of a few people here and there that have it but I never got to see up close their journey. I can’t believe Himalayan salts are too hard for you to handle, they are so dang awesome – but that just goes to show you how different it can be for each body. What happens when you use them?
      And yes yes yes! I’ve actually used some kind of mustard soak before, but it was more of an Ayurvedic mixture I believe! I enjoyed it and wanted to try it again to see if it did anything specific for me! Do try it and let me know how it goes!!! So stoked that we’re on the same page when it comes to baths & soaks sista!

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  4. I heart you . We have a Himalayan salt lamp and I would love to do more baths.
    It’s so sad how there arent many doctors that have a more holistic approach towards our medical concerns

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    1. I love you too! I’ve heard about salt lamps a lot recently and think I want to get one too! Have you noticed it help or make a difference for you?
      I agree with you on the part about doctors, too. That’s something I’ve noticed throughout the years, sadly due to my own needs…and I feel that it is something God is putting is finger on in my heart. Still trying to navigate through that one and if it looks like me pursuing holistic medicine or being an advocate for those in need of it, but either way – I totally hear you. God created such good things for our bodies to use and half the time we don’t even know about it. Love you Denissa – will say a prayer for you right now ❤

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