The actual benefits of a regular water – bath for the body are described nowhere better than it Ayurvedic texts. Let us see what the old masters viz. the famous physicians ‘Charaka’ and ‘Sushruta’ have to say on the subject.
According to ‘Charaka’ bath helps to purify the body, increase vitality and sexual powers, promotes longevity, removes fatigue and sweat and it increases strength and brilliance.
In the word of ‘Sushruta’, the other celebrated authority on Ayurvedic treatment, “The bath destroys sleepiness, sweating, it cure pruritus of the skin and thirst. It is beneficial for the heart; it is the best astringent; it tones up all the external sensory organs; it removes drowsiness and cheers up the mind. It increases physical stamina and capacity to work; it purifies the blood stream and tones up the digestive process.”
Cold water bath helps to stimulate the appetite and increase the digestive power. However taking bath repeatedly during the day has adverse effects. It makes the skin flaccid and saps vitality. Taking bath is considered extremely harmful after the sex act or after the meals. How many people are aware of the harmful effects of bath after sex act? The great science of Ayurveda does not stop here. It goes on to set further rules on bathing. Some of these are mentioned hereunder.
- Excess of cold water bath is harmful for ‘Kapha’ prakriti (phlegm constitution) persons.
- Cold water bath is also harmful for persons suffering from catarrh, diarrhoea and fever and for old persons.
- Lukewarm water bath is considered to be best for ‘Kapha’ prakriti persons. However while bathing with lukewarm or hot water (as in winters); care should be taken to ensure that such water is not poured over the head. Pouring warm water over the head is harmful for eyes. On the other hand, pouring cold water over the head is beneficial for the eyes.
- Cold water bath is beneficial for ‘Pitta prakriti’ (Bile constitution) persons.
- Persons afflicted with bilious ailments mania, blood disorders and epilepsy benefit immensely from cold water bath.
- Persons suffering from inflammatory diseases of the eyes, ears and nose and from acute dyspepsia are also advised against taking bath. Finally, the aspect of hygiene may again be touched upon here. Allopathic school of medicine lays great emphasis on body cleanliness and hygiene so as to keep infection causing germs at bay. From this standpoint, it is considered important to take bath with neat and clean water. Chlorination is widely practised method of water purification especially in places of common public use like swimming pools and drinking water supply tanks. Dirty and stagnant water should never be used for bath, according to the Ayurvedic medical school. In this regard there is commonality between Ayurvedic and Allopathic schools.
Many of the above rules are commonsense based but, nevertheless, important.