If you have a bath, the chances are you don’t use it very much. Most of us are in a hurry and so jumping in the shower seems much more efficient. But going through cancer treatment is a time when you need to focus on your wellbeing 100 percent. Before the chemo started I wanted to be able to use the bath as a refuge, somewhere to relax and unwind – something which I’d forgotten how to do. Bathing in the water is really good for the body and the mind – I needed its restorative powers as I went through what was going to be a really challenging time.
I knew I was going to have zero energy after my chemo started, so I made sure I cleaned the bathroom, and set it up as a little bathing retreat. My friend Clare bought me a little headrest pillow, I got the tap fixed (the thermostat had been broken for about four years) and I made sure the fluffiest towels were at my disposal.
The bath become a place to relax after each hospital visit to literally clean out the toxins mentally and physically. Before getting into the bath, I would use a dry skin brush on my body, to help flush out the nasty chemicals and to improve my skin.
When you have a cancer diagnosis you need to be very careful about which bathing products you use, as you don’t want anything which contains harmful chemicals. I used natural soap to clean my face, and that was it – skin has a tendency to dry with chemo, so it’s best to guard whatever natural skin oils you have, not strip them away. I used to put Epsom Salts in the bath, which are are great detoxifier help after each chemo session to flush out the chemicals in my body. Epsom Salts are from England, but any natural bathing salts will probably have the same effect. They also have the added benefit of softening your skin – as the chemo progressed, I had an itchy rash on my head, where the hair had fallen out, and also on my body, particularly on my arms. Before cancer, I would regularly put moisturiser on my body after having a bath, but during the treatment I wanted to keep all my pores open without any blockages, so using these salts really helped to keep my skin soft.
I also put a little Bluetooth speaker in my bathroom to listen to music and guided meditations. Spotify have lots of meditations, including Deepak Chopra’s. They help you to relax, think more positively, and help with sleeping, which was becoming a real problem for me. Part of the meditation also includes breathing exercises, so you’re really oxygenating your body too which helps with the healing process.
This is just a little something to help to get you through a really awful process. I’d forgotten to take care of myself, and the simple pleasure of lying in a bath really helps you to relax, and also clean you out your mind, body and soul.