The advice I offer has been vetted through personal experience. When my life collapsed in 2009 and I finally made the decision to try to claw my way up out of the darkest sludge-filled hole, towards a single strand of hope (sounds dramatic but it was true), I enlisted a number of healers to help me.
Not all at once, but one by one, I opened my mind, heart and body to different healing modalities and practices. This exploration was beyond enlightening and to date, I've only scratched the surface of the richness and diversity of healing modalities that are available today. I am alive because I made the choice to live, to take tiny steps forward, to commit to healing.
My grief journey was long and arduous and my goal for YOU is to bypass the YEARS of suffering I endured. So the bottom line is, if you want to start feeling better, heed this advice.
From Shamanic healers to Chiropractors and many professionals in between, there is a common counsel that always comes back around to meet me: Epsom Salt Soaks. This information is a gift from my own experience in healing to you. This is a Critical Step 1 addition to your pet loss healing journey and here are all the details.
First, please know that I was reluctant to take the advice myself! We are so good at making excuses when things are a bit outside of our comfort zone.
Who can relate to these excuses?
- "A bath?? Ugh, more work than it's worth."
- "But then I have to scrub the tub."
- "I don't have a tub (or a decent/clean tub)."
- "I'll be wasting water."
- "Such a small step/why does it even matter?"
- "I have no energy."
But let me tell you, there are BIG reasons for this advice. There are also BIG reasons you feel resistance in your body around this advice (keep reading).
Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral that was discovered in the 17th century bubbling up from an underground spring. The mineral received its name from the town of Epsom in Surrey, England where it was first discovered. Although this mineral is called Epsom salt, it is not actually salt at all, but rather a pure mineral compound of magnesium, sulfate and oxygen. Studies have shown magnesium and sulfate are both easily absorbed through our skin—making the associated health benefits of Epsom salt accessible to all.
Epsom salt has numerous health benefits:
Eases stress and relaxes the body
Calms the nervous system (with grief, your sympathetic nervous system is activated)
Relieves pain and muscle tension
Helps muscles and nerves function properly
Eliminates toxins from the body
Helps produce serotonin (!!!)
Helps you sleep (also !!!)
Detoxifies your "energy body"
Magnesium plays a number of positive roles in the body such as reducing inflammation, helping to produce serotonin (a mood-elevating chemical) which creates a sense of relaxation and calm, reduces irritability by lowering the effects of adrenaline, improves sleep and concentration and helps muscles and nerves to function properly.
Sulfates help to improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, ease muscle pain and eliminate harmful substances from the body.
Epsom salt added to your bathwater, your skin being a highly porous membrane, absorbs the minerals and starts a process in your body called reverse osmosis. This process in turn pulls salt from your body along with harmful toxins.
Because Salt conducts electricity, the electrical discharge will further release through osmosis in the salt water, clearing away any last bits of energetic residue stirred up in the field and released at the cellular level.
My pet loss grief clients are highly sensitive people. 99% of the time they fall into the EMPATH category. That means you unknowingly absorb the energy of others passing by, or really anyone you engage with. This is not a bad thing, it's an energetic boundary thing. One way to clear stuck energy that doesn't belong to you is to take an epsom salt bath. One way to start learning what YOUR energy really feels like, as opposed to clouded energy, is to start here.
It's uncomfortable for you to put yourself first. Most of my pet loss grief clients identify with the role of caregiver. That means they put others before themselves, and while this is a wonderful and loving trait, caregiving comes at a cost to self. In order to heal, you HAVE to finally put yourself first. Carving out 10-15min per day to soak in a bath is equally about addressing the grief within your body and energy body, and creating a self-care routine.
My pet loss grief clients often have physical ailments like chronic pain conditions and old injuries. THESE BATHS WILL HELP YOU!!!
Rituals are EVERYTHING when we are healing from deep loss. Make this a ritual in honor of your baby. They loved you SO MUCH (and still do). Do this for them. They want you to be able to take all of the wonderful lessons they taught you, and use those lessons to thrive.
Solutions for excuses:
- "A bath?? Ugh, more work than it's worth." You can reframe your thinking. Allow this 10 minute bath to become as routine (and important) as brushing your teeth. You can also choose to make this a fun activity by adding dried tea leaves, flower petals, essential oils, lighting candles and really treating yourself.
- "But then I have to scrub the tub." Enlist a family member to clean it, hire someone or do it yourself over a few days. Think about how the end result will make you feel.
- "I don't have a tub (or a decent/clean tub)." No Problem! Soak towels and wrap your body with them. Use a plastic bin and soak your legs/feet instead of your whole body. You can also stand with your feet inside the plastic bin, soaking, while you shower.
- "My state is in a drought and I'll be wasting water." Feel free to save the water for your garden plants. They love magnesium too.
- "Such a small step/why does it even matter?" See all of the reasons above.
Listen, if taking a bath has the possibility of increasing your serotonin levels naturally, why not give it a shot!?
- "I have no energy." Got it. When we are depressed or ill, that's normal. Enlist help for someone to draw the bath and help you get in, or prepare the foot soak for you. The people around you don't want to see you suffer. They feel helpless...they want to be of assistance to you and here is an opportunity for them. It's a pretty simple ask and imagine how wonderful it will be for you and them when these baths help you.
- Baking soda is the ‘secret ingredient’ that cleans out lingering and negative energies from our aura and softens and smoothes our skin.
- Apple Cider Vinegar supercharges the epson salt absorption.
- Add fresh flowers, herbs from the garden or essential oils like lavender
- Set a timer. You don't have to hate this for longer than 15min!
- Light a candle
- Set an intention for the next 10-15 min: This can be in the form of an affirmation or simply say "For the next 10min I am going to rest my brain and focus on healing."
If it feels difficult to do this for yourself, try talking to your Soul Child, "Rosie, I'm going to do this treatment in your honor." Make your healing about THEM.
- Practice a simple breathing exercise to rest your brain while you sit. (look up square breathing)
I feel so strongly about this, AND see such incredible results from this one, simple step, that I'm making it a mandatory practice for all of my grief coaching clients.
Here are ACTUAL QUOTES from two recent clients who were initially resistant:
" WOW! These baths REALLY WORK!" (M.D. had multiple excuses at first).
"For a long time I had negative associations with the bathtub because I used to lay in the bath when I was depressed and feeling hopeless. Because of this I avoided taking baths. I gave in to Cara's advice and something really cool happened...I was actually able to
change my association from negative to positive. Baths are now a daily essential self care practice. This was the game changer for my grief journey." (K.S. states exactly why she was resistant at first.)
I have to add for additional punctuation that both of these clients graduated with me after
5 hours of grief work. They both experienced a marked difference from the epsom salt bath rituals.
Sending you all so much love and strength for your journey ahead. <3 Cara
I'd love to hear your bath breakthroughs! Send them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org