Why You Need A Spiritual Bath In Your Life (+ Exactly How To Draw One)
If there's anything better than a nice, hot bath, it's a bath that's been upgraded with intention and a ritualistic touch. Here's what spiritual baths are all about, plus how to draw one for yourself, according to experts.
What is a spiritual bath?
The key to drawing a spiritual bath, according to healer and author of Ritual Baths Deborah Hanekamp, is to couple bathing with intention. "Simply put, a ritual bath is submerging the body—even just the feet, hands, or head into water—plus intention," she tells mbg.
Humans have had a spiritual connection to water for generations, she adds, "and creating ritual around that connection is one of the many universal practices that most of us carry within our lineages dating back to ancient times."
Whether it's visiting a spring for healing, submerging yourself in water as a dedication to faith, or drawing a bath with salts and stones, Hanekamp says, these would all qualify as spiritual baths.
The history of the practice.
Again, as Hanekamp explains, many of us feel a subconscious pull to water. We need it to survive, yes, but it's also energetically healing—something many cultures have understood for centuries.
From Ancient Greece to Ancient India, Egypt to Israel, to modern-day baptisms, and more, bathing has had a long-standing place throughout human history1.
And the nice thing about spiritual baths is that you can make them your own. Infusing your bath with intention, and whatever spiritual tools you like to work with, is not a closed practice but rather something accessible and soul-nourishing that anyone can do.
The purpose of a spiritual cleansing bath.
Think of a spiritual bath as a bath that refreshes not only your body but also your soul. As Hanekamp puts it, "We all understand that you feel one way before you take a bath and another way when you get out of the bath. This sense of feeling cleansed goes beyond the physical body and into the mind and spirit as well."
The "purpose," if anything, is determined by you and your intention. But in general, you could say the purpose is to give yourself the time and space to be present with yourself and your body so you can work through the internal and energetic healing that comes up in that space.
And therein lies the benefit. "Cleansing is healing, grounding, and inspiring; all of life intuitively knows this; maybe this is one of the reasons why all of life needs water," Hanekamp explains.
Rituals used in a spiritual bath.
According to Hanekamp, there are a lot of different approaches to ritual baths, depending on what you're looking for. Here are a few ways to infuse your bath (or shower or foot soak) with intention:
While a spiritual bath isn't the same as a sound bath, you can also incorporate sound into the ritual whether using chimes or a singing bowl before or after your bath to clear the space.
Reflect on how you feel before and after.
Hanekamp adds that acknowledging how you feel before and after the bath can also help you reflect on and seal the experience.
Add in essential oils or herbs.
If you're into fragrant essential oils or plants, you can incorporate those into the bath. Not every oil is safe to use in a bath, though, so check out this guide first.
Do chakra work.
Debra Haugen, founder of Gemstone Organic, previously explained to mbg that spiritual baths can also be great for chakra clearing and healing. In that case, you could incorporate different things related to whichever chakra you're working with, for a chakra-focused spiritual bath. If you need a refresh, here's our primer on the seven chakras and how to work with them.
Ingredients you can add.
You're welcome to add any ingredients you'd like to your bathing experience, but this list from Hanekamp and Haugen can serve as inspiration:
- Water that has been blessed (seems obvious, but the blessing/intention is key)
- Organic, plant-based scents
- Bath-safe essential oils
- Stones or crystals
- Himalayan or Epsom salts
- Tea bags
- Moon water
- Mood lighting (not exactly an "ingredient" but worth the mention)
- Music (again, not an ingredient, but good tunes can certainly enhance the vibe)
How to do it:
- Begin by setting the mood. Turn off any artificial lights. Darkness, candlelight, or natural light will support the experience. Light your candles or incense if you're using any, and turn on your music of choice if you're opting for music.
- Set your intention: Ask yourself what it is you'd like to get out of this bath and what your body, mind, and spirit need. Set the intention that this bath will help facilitate healing and peace for you.
- Get in the bath: When you're ready, get in the bath. And remember, simply soaking your feet or dunking your head in water counts, too. Whichever you're going for today, get in the water.
- Allow yourself to be there as you are: As you soak, focus on your breath. Hanekamp suggests giving singing a try. Start to become an objective observer of how you feel, allowing what comes up to move through you without judgment or resistance.
- Notice where healing is needed: As things come up for you, notice where healing is needed, and then imagine that healing occurring right there, in the bath. This is a great time to do any visualizations or meditations you may find helpful.
- When you're ready, close the ritual: Sit for as long as you need, and when you're ready, close out your spiritual bath. Thank any guides you may have worked with, if you do so. Seal the ritual with gratitude, and acknowledge the healing that took place. As long as it isn't filled with synthetic soaps, you can also offer some of your water back to the Earth (or your houseplants), if you like.
Taking a bath is never a bad idea, and a spiritual bath is sure to make it that much more rewarding. You can opt to customize it with your favorite spiritual tools, but at the end of the day, all you really need is you, water, and your intention.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.