BRINGING BACK AIRBATHING • Healing with the VITAL FORCE
There’s hardly anything more soothing and energizing as fresh air. A morning dose can rise me from bed as desperately as a mug of warm coffee. I can't think of a practice that connects one with their intuition more than this (and it's free). In natural medicinal practices, fresh air is known to contain the essence of life, what we call the VITAL FORCE or CHI. It possesses a symbiotic relationship with the movement of all physiological processes within our bodies: blood circulation, homeostasis, excretion, immunity, and all other processes that keep us alive and healthy. We, in turn, nourish the VITAL FORCE within us and promote its own circulation through movement and breath.
We beg this VITAL FORCE into ourselves constantly with each inhale and exhale, yet the most potential and essential interaction we can have with it is through our largest, most involved organ: our skin. Our skin which we disguise in make-up, seal-off with tight jeans, and cover nearly entirely each day, in turn seriously restricting its interaction with the VITAL FORCE, fresh air (especially during these winter months).
When our skin is covered, it can no longer release toxins, lactic acid, and dead skin cells. Instead, our skin reabsorbs them into our system. Blood flow struggles to circulate through our surface level capillaries with its necessary vigor. Over time, we can begin to feel the lack of VITAL FORCE through a weakened immune system, fatigue, dry and less-elastic skin, difficulty sleeping and high levels of toxins in our blood.
AIRBATHING – as abstract as it may sound – is a wonderful way to restore vitality and balance. Benjamin Franklin was a great proponent of this healing method. This practice allows the skin to interact with cooling air currents, which stimulate the skin’s pores and capillaries to contract. The body’s natural response to cooling skin temperatures is to activate the circulatory system to send warming blood to the surface – appropriately named a warming reaction. This causes the pores and capillaries to now dilate. Contracting and dilating exercises the skin and all physiological processes within the body, improving circulation, oxidation, and elimination of toxins. This must occur for an AIRBATH to be effective.
How to AIRBATHE
The first step is stripping. It’s best to remove anything that will restrict air flow to your skin: make-up, any clothing, and even lotion. AIRBATHS are most effective outdoors, however, this is often impractical (hello, neighbors!). If you have windows that can provide enough ventilation, that works just fine.
The AIRBATH can last anywhere from a minute to an hour, but it is most important to be mindful of your own body’s sensitivity. Do not allow yourself to feel cold, or chilled. As soon as you feel your body may need assistance in warming itself, stop the bath and activate your circulatory system by rubbing a towel over your skin and dressing. A warm bath with essential oils and salts can also follow to provide further relaxation and release of toxins.
In warmer months a RAINBATH can be incorporated during your AIRBATH. This involves a sprinkling of cool water during your AIRBATH. Again, most effective during an actual outdoor rain.
Our skin also offers a window into the health of our bodies. Respecting its signals and tuning into our intuition can often guide us to what may be ailing us. Our attempts to hide these signals (think skin rashes, dryness or overly oily skin) pushes us further out-of-tune with our bodies. Respecting our skin and providing it with doses of the VITAL FORCE with AIRBATHS can also tune us back into ourselves. The health and energies of our body and mind are all interconnected and fed by the VITAL FORCE.