Who would have thought that bathing your belly button in oils and herbs could treat health conditions? Well, according to Desi (Folk/ Native) treatments hand-me-downs they work, and it’s a tradition that needs reviving.
“I was around four years old when I had my first Belly Button bath. I suffered from awful constipation, so my mum arranged for Bibi, an elder in the local Indian community to heal me. ‘Desi’ remedies were our first calling before doctors and conventional medicine. Bibi poured a warm concoction of blended oils and herbs in and around my navel, allowed it to soak and then meticulously massaged my belly in strokes and circles. It tickled, it felt weird but it worked! A generation later, it is rare to find such a person with this knowledge because it was not passed down and rejected. I am keen to keep desi medicine alive because they provide natural simple solution.” – Reena Kumari
Why Bathe the Belly?
Our fluff collector embodies the beginning of life. It was once the plug for survival through our mother’s womb – and it’s the scar to prove it! According to Desi medicine, stimulation of the navel acts as a reset button to your entire health. This is because the belly button is anchored in the abdomen – the powerhouse and our second brain! The navel chakra is the source of energy and connection to the rest of our body. This region is home to a third of the blood supply in the body, 90% of the “happy” hormone, serotonin and 50% of the “joy” hormone, dopamine. Through belly bathing, the navel acts as the conduit in removing toxins, nourishing the organs and pumping nutrients around the body. It’s packed with thousands of nerve endings and veins, and it is connected to organs like bladder and liver, hence why belly bathing is linked to great results on the skin. It is the most powerful healing hub and can treats common ailments.
The Usual Dos and Don’ts!
- Before belly bathing it is important to thoroughly clean the belly button. Use a cotton bud to reach the folds in the navel to remove trapped dirt.
- Oils, solutions and herbs can be poured directly into the belly and abdomen and massaged in the direction of your digestion. Never put essential oils directly into the navel! They need to be diluted in a carrier oil first and preferably patch tested for allergies and irritations.
- Oils/solutions can be slightly warm but do not pour boiling or hot solutions onto the skin.
- Do not perform this on a full stomach. Allow a few hours for food to pass.
- Belly bathing is not suitable if you are pregnant.
- Belly bathing is not a substitution for major health conditions.
My Desi riches:
1. Heal Spots and Eczema
Neem oil and coconut oil mixed together or separately work as a skin cleanser and toner. A few warm drops in the navel, soaked and massaged around the belly for 10 minutes helps get rid of spots and acts as a great emollient for the skin. Do this a few times a week and notice the difference.
2. Rid the Face of Pigmentation and Uneven Skin Tone
Lemon oil carried in an almond oil base helps reduce pigmentation in the skin and evens out varied skin tone. Pour a bit into the belly button, leave for 15 minutes then wipe off. Try this once a week.
3. Treat Dry Skin, Hair and Eyes
Ghee (clarified butter) massaged in and around the navel softens hard dry skin, relives dry eyes and treats brittle hair. Mustard oil is also good for cracked lips and dry skin too. Try this a few times a week or more depending on the severity of dryness.
4. Pacify Period Pain and Endometriosis
Castor oil packs with applied heat can help reduce period pain and alleviate symptoms of endometrioses. Soak a cloth with castor oil press just below the navel and apply a hot water bottle for at least 30 minutes. A warm raspberry leaf, nettle and liquorice tea bag placed on the navel works wonder for both ailments, too.
5. Relieve Fever, Flu and Cold Symptoms
An old Indian remedy is to soak a cloth in brandy/whiskey and apply to the belly to treat fever and chills linked to flu. Castor oil drops in the navel also help alleviate cold symptoms and speeds up recovery.
6. Beat the Bloated Belly / Constipation
For a bloated tummy, try a few drops of peppermint oil in a coconut oil base in the navel. Allow it to sit for 15 mins wipe out. For constipation heat up fennel seeds and Asafoetida in some purified water, allow to cool and pour into the belly button. Soaked herbal tea bags act perfectly as tonics for relieving belly trouble, but ensure the tea bag has cooled down. A gentle massage in the direction of elimination also helps.
7. Aid Gut Infections
Alongside with prescribed medication, tea tree oil has anti-fungal and bacterial properties. Add a few drops in olive oil and belly bathe to help fight nasties. Do this until symptoms cease.
8. Sooth Joint Pains and Aches
A few drop of castor oil with ginger oil in the navel overnight helps lubricate the joints making you feel restored and creak free in the morning. Do this every other day.
9. Boost Fertility
Improve fertility and egg quality with organic olive oil that nourishes the uterus. Massage it in well around the belly. Castor oil also helps boost fertility. Do this after menstruation up until ovulation.
10. Ease Anxiety
A few drops of camomile and lavender essential oil mixed with a carrier oil aid feelings of anxiety and panic. Do this at the onset of anxiety and stressful moments. A gentle massage around the belly is very soothing.
Remember to always check safety measures before trying these methods. Happy Belly Bathing.
Author: Reena Kumari
Author Bio: My name is Reena Kumari and I am also known as Desi medicine woman. I am a UK born woman of the Indus Valley with a burning passion for Ayurveda natural remedies. I am holistic therapist and a Health and Lifestyle advisor that spends most of my free time making home-grown and organic cosmetics.