Amazing Health Benefits of Bath Meditation
Since it happens to be Mental Health Month, we’ve made an effort to discuss important mental health topics including stress, anxiety, and depression, and how to cope with issues such as these. To help you deal with stress and anxiety, we’ve recently talked about the ways in which you can create a spa-like detox bath at home, and now we’re going to take a minute to discuss the benefits of bath meditation.
Bath meditation differs from traditional meditation (or meditation without the use of water), but in my opinion, bath meditation is more effective for someone like myself who deals with the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety (especially symptoms such as muscle aches, stomach pains, migraines, tension headaches, etc.). One popular form of bath meditation which you may be familiar with includes the use of sensory deprivation tanks (or float tanks). One of my best friends swears by float tanks, and it’s something that I’m eager to try in the near future, especially since I enjoy bath meditation so much.
My Experience with Meditation
A couple of months ago, I attended a meditation workshop through the Science of Spirituality Meditation Center in Minneapolis, MN. The workshop was free to attend and it sounded interesting, so a couple of my friends and I decided to give it a try. The concepts we learned were interesting, but we were turned off by how limited this approach to meditation is. This organization uses the Jyoti method, which according to the organization, is defined as the following:
“Jyoti meditation is a technique taught by Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj that introduces people to the simplicity and beauty of meditation. In Jyoti meditation we sit in a relaxed position and still the mind by repeating any name of God with which we feel comfortable. With eyes closed, we concentrate our attention within at the third or single eye, between and behind our eyebrows, where we experience a sense of calm and peace. Shabd meditation, meditation on the inner Light and Sound is an advanced technique taught by Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj at the time of initiation.”
During the class, we learned that the Jyoti meditation method encourages participants to refrain from using outside tools – such as water, float tanks, or even controlled breathing. Also, the practice encourages you to repeat a single word in your mind as you sit meditate on it. Unlike the practice of yoga (which my friends and I are all very familiar with), you aren’t concentrating on your breath during the Jyoti method, but instead focus on the word you choose to repeat in your mind. For the three of us, this method was far too limiting and wasn’t what were looking for in a meditation practice.
However, I will say that my favorite part about this organization’s approach to meditation was that it brought a variety of religions and cultures together to practice meditation in one calm, peaceful environment. The workshop taught all attendees to meditate with one another and to enjoy each other’s presence, regardless of religion or personal beliefs. In a world so full of hate, this was quite refreshing.
Bath Meditation Benefits
Now that you know about my experience with Jyoti meditation, let’s discuss my favorite type of meditation – bath meditation!
Bath meditation is similar to traditional meditation, except it’s far more relaxing on the mind and body. Instead of sitting upright in the Lotus pose, bath meditation allows you to soak in a tub of soothing, warm water. Not only does bath meditation help to ease sore, achy muscles and tired bones, but it’s also incredibly calming and stress relieving. Plus, bath meditation is excellent to your health, just as traditional meditation is.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH), multiple studies show that meditation helps to control certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and even gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis. Meditation may even help smokers to quit smoking more quickly!
However, I truly believe that the biggest benefit to practicing meditation is the ability to reduce stress, and therefore, reduce your cancer risk. I truly believe that stress is a big contributor to the development of cancer (whether it be physical, emotional, or psychological stress – or a combination of the three) – and too much stress may cause cancer.
Scientific American confirms this belief, explaining that stress may weaken the immune system, and therefore make the body more susceptible to tumor growth and metastasis. As a survivor of ovarian cancer, my greatest advice to anyone looking to stay cancer-free is to keep stress levels in check.
How to Meditate
Bath meditation is easy to master – much easier than Jyoti meditation (in my opinion, anyway).
Here’s how to do it:
- Set aside 15-30 minutes of uninterrupted time.
- Keep your phone on silent or place it in another room completely.
- If there’s any distracting background noise, play soft, calming music.
- Add about a cup of Epsom salts to your bath and allow the tub to fill with water.
- Get in the tub, relax, and focus on your breathing. Breathe deeply and slowly.
- Focus on the ways in which the water makes you feel. How does the water feel against your skin? How warm is the water? How does the surface of the tub feel beneath you? How does your neck feel as you lie back?
- If you notice your attention slipping away to work, school, your kids, family, etc., redirect your attention back to the present moment.
- If you have trouble focusing your attention on your sensations, try incorporating a bit of the Jyoti approach. Focus on a single word or mantra and repeat it in your mind. However, do your best to not overthink the phrase or the meaning of the word you are focusing on. This is difficult for me, as I’m always trying to figure out the deeper meaning of things and can never seem to shut off my mind (thanks, anxiety).
Are you interested in giving bath meditation a try? Check out our easy tips for creating a meditative detox bath at home!