Milk, Mud and Hay Baths...
After a long day of work or travel many relax at a spa with a mud bath or body scrub but not in southern Italy. The current hottest trend in Italy is to relax with a Hay Bath. First thing that comes to my mind when thinking of a hay bath is a stinky barn yard. So what exactly is a Hay bath? Who ever thought of it? And what exactly does it do?
A hay bath is “a traditional well-being experience, designed to soothe away your aches and pains.” In Italy hay baths are becoming a very popular spa ritual in some of the elite spa’s in Southern Italy. The hay baths range from the body being wrapped and soaked in a hay to a mixture of mud and hay rubbed into your skin, your body wrapped up and then soaking in a warm bath. Many of the Spa’s in southern Italy offer some kind of treatment involving hay, there are even spa’s that send you out on hikes to collect your own Hay!!!
The concept of the hay bath was an accidental discovery years ago when servants would sleep in the barn on a bed of hay and wake up rejuvenated and more powerful then the day before. Amazingly the hay was the reason behind that. So how does something as simple as hay do this?
Grass carries many nutrients, especially in high altitudes with pure air and freshness. It is picked and then dried turning it into hay. And through the treatments and mixtures of the hay with other products the hay baths do wonders or the body. On Southtyrolbudget.com they give a description of this process “The grass – which contains such medicinal herbs as Thyme, Arnica, Silverweed, and Gentian – is harvested only from unfertilized meadows, and always either early in the morning or late in the evening, so that all of the essential substances are preserved. And then it's dried as quickly as possible. Body warmth causes the hay to release the numerous active ingredients (including essential oils), which are absorbed by the bather via his skin and respiration. But for this to happen, it has to first be moistened.”
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