Staying clean is vital for healthy living. People wash and have showers to clean sweat, dirt and accumulated oils, beauty products and other waste gathered on the skin. We asked Ayurvedic doctor D.D.A Hettiarachchi what forms of Ayurveda had to say about bathing
The best period to bathe is between 10 and 10.30 in the morning, if possible with moderately hot water. Early morning showers are usually colder and shrink the skin, disturbing its cleaning process. Therefore, they are suitable only for washing the exterior of one’s skin. During daytime, skin pores open up and discharge the waste collected and bathing will clean the body in and out. The body exudes heat through the head and the only way to cool down is by bathing.
Bathing in the sea is recommended at around 11 a.m as the immunity system is strongest at that time. Bathing five days a week is sufficient and one bath is enough for a day. Washing one’s body two or three times a day is necessary to stay clean. During pregnancy, women should avoid bathing on Tuesdays and Fridays; according to Indian Ayruvedic opinion.
Are soaps harmful?
Soaps can harm healthy skin through daily use. Soaps dry out the skin unnecessarily by washing out essential oils that are naturally found in skin. Natural fat layers are vital to protect the skin from external germs. Healthy oils in the skin attract germs, acting like glue. Overusing soaps can give easy access to germs as soap destroys the protective layer made of oil. Using harsh chemicals (shampoos) for the head also dries out the natural oils in the scalp.
Sometimes people cannot tell psoriasis and dandruff apart. People in the past used organic materials such as Sandalwood and Kokumagara for cleaning purposes. Rubbing these materials against a stone and producing a fine powder was the method and the powder was applied all over the skin; the natural substances in the powdery mixture stayed on the skin’s surface, hydrating the skin and controlling sweat.
Advice to patients
People prone to phlegm and suffering from wheeze are advised to use warm water for bathing and washing. Warm water benefits them rather than cold water.
Not at all at night
There’s nothing wrong in having an occasional and unmissable shower at night. But it’s not advisable for kids and the elderly due to the cold atmosphere at night. After bathing at night using warm water, dry yourself as soon as possible and get dressed to retain the heat inside. Warm water opens up pores; thus germs can easily enter. Therefore covering the body and going to bed is the best option. Nearly 95% of elderly people over 65 years have weakened hearts, and using cold water to wash at night can disturb their internal blood circulation.
Bathing in warm water is good for people with skin disorders and they should apply ointment to the affected areas to prevent the entry of germs.