If you’ve ever sunk slowly and lazily into a piping hot tub filled with the delicious, dreamy scent of lavender essential oil, or generously applied a rich, luxuriant lotion, after a bath, then congratulate yourself: you are taking part in a wonderful, storied tradition that dates back thousands of years in human history. For nearly 5,000 years, people have found that soaking in hot water, enhanced by the use of all natural bath and body products, is a fantastic way to invigorate, soothe, refresh, energize, or relax the body, and to do so safely and naturally.
One of the earliest recorded uses of all natural bath and body products dates from 2,700 B.C.E., when when the Peng-Tzao-Kan-Mu, the earliest known pharmacology publication, was published in China. This ancient book details the extraction, mining, and usage of at least 40 varieties of salt, including those used in hot baths.
The use of essential oils in hot baths also dates far back in human history. The ancient Egyptians were extracting oils as far back as 3,500 B.C.E., and priests in ancient Egypt would bathe using all natural bath and body products as often as four times a day, so as to cleanse and purify their souls. Indeed, in the Middle East of Biblical times, essential oils and fragrances would have been extraordinarily valuable, as much so as precious metals and jewels.
In ancient Greece and Rome, public baths were enormously popular, and with them, the use of natural plants and oils to scent and enhance the bathing experience naturally evolved.
Body lotions, likewise, have a long history of use by human beings. As far back as 10,000 B.C.E., in the Mesozoic era, people were smearing animal fats on themselves, so as to keep skin supple, and reduce chapping. Indigenous cultures, including those found in Latin America and Africa, have long used avocado and palm oil, respectively. The Sumerians, believed to be the world’s first civilization, created salves out of fat, wine, and tree oils, which were applied to the body. Cleopatra was known for applying both olive and sesame oil to her skin. In the Bible, there is mention of balms and lotions crafted from olive oil and spices.
Use of all natural bath and body products was common in Greco-Roman civilization; Greek women sometimes used an anti-aging regimen comprised of spreading milk and bread on their faces at night. Hippocrates, a pioneering Greek physician, claimed that applying honey to the face would moisturize, and give the user a “fresh look.”
Manufactured body creams and lotions began to rise to prominence in the 1800s. Advances in chemistry and technology allowed new ingredients, such as mineral oil, petroleum jelly, and lanolin to be added to creams and lotions.
Eventually, the use of bath and body products became commercialized. Hinds' Honey and Almond Cream, formulated in 1872 by a drugstore owner in Portland, Maine, saw national distribution in the early 1900s. The famed French perfumer Chanel was advertising scented bath oil as early as 1963. Since the 1970s, all natural bath and body products have seen a massive surge in use, and presently have millions of adherents the world over. Today, more than 80 percent of women say they use some type of lotion on a regular basis.
But, why use all natural bath and body products? Many lower-quality products are “extended” using synthetic chemical solvents, which can rob the user of the essence of the experience that nature intended. Some chemical additives can can cause oils and other bath products to irritate the skin, or burn less cleanly than all natural products. Additionally, some oils simply do not exist in natural form, such as honeysuckle and gardenia, and must be synthesized.
Natural lotions, likewise, bypass many hazards that come with synthetic lotions. Chemical additives and extenders can irritate and dehydrate skin (the exact opposite of what a lotion or cream should do!), clog pores, and cause allergic reactions and flare-ups.
For some wonderful all natural bath and body products, take a look at our Natrinia Organic Body Lotion
. This lotion goes on silky and smooth, and gently moisturizes skin, yet leaves no heavy, greasy residue. And since the “organic” label is federally regulated, you know that you are getting a lotion that is 100 percent natural, with no synthetic or chemical additives. Also, check out our Zen Body Lotion
, from a small, family-owned company. This lotion is formulated with an organic infusion of lavender, echinacea, green tea, and chamomile, as well as jojoba oil, grape seed oil, aloe vera and sea kelp extract, to help your skin flourish.
The next time you reach for a bath or body product, check the label, read the ingredients, and know what it is that you are using. How many of those ingredients can you identify, or even pronounce? If you aren’t using all natural bath and body products, remember: there is an alternative to chemical-laden lotions and oils. Synthetic options may be cheaper, but they are not only far less enjoyable to use, they are often far less effective. Choose an all natural product, and your mind, spirit, and body -- especially your skin -- will thank you.