As some of you know, I am currently in the middle of an anti-viral drug regimen. One of the more “difficult” side effects is a drug rash. This rash can drive people right out of treatment when the itching or rash becomes unbearable. And drug rash I have. Most of the time, I can tune it out, but come the wee hours of the night, I’m wide awake, itchy, and want to jump out of my skin. Imagine the sensation of bugs crawling on you and every now and then they all decide to bite at once. Descriptive enough?
My girlfriends, Donna, Jackie and Jen, got me a gift certificate for the Roosevelt Baths here in Saratoga Springs. Though I have tasted all the effervescent healing waters from the springs scattered about the landscape, I have never taken in the healing baths. When I reported that I have a rash and should probably wait, Jen jumped right on it. NO, she said, YOU MUST GO NOW! IT WILL HELP YOU! She relayed her own story of being cured of a horrible allergic reaction to bug bites and then told me that a friend who had a rash from chemotherapy swore the baths got her through. Who am I to argue? I took the plunge, literally, and met my girlfriends at the baths Saturday.
I couldn’t have been more pleased and surprised. Though expecting to come away relaxed and ready for a nap, I couldn’t have imagined the results. Though the rash on my torso was still quite angry looking, the itching subsided for a full 24 hours. I hadn’t had that kind of relief from any home soak or remedy.
I made an appointment to return Wednesday. In the meantime, I spoke to my health care provider about the rash and the baths. She advised numerous over-the-counter drug store remedies. Having already tried many without any relief, I was skeptical. I talked more about the baths; she was skeptical and suggested that it was probably “just the hydration”. This is not the case, since I have been soaking in Aveeno baths at home daily. None of the OTC remedies did anything for me but aggravate the redness. The closest I’ve come to relief with topical application continues to be PURE Aloe Vera gel (not the kind from the drug store, but the 100% gel from the health food store), and Chrissey’s magic goat’s milk body butter (check it out at joyofthejourneyfarm.com).
Back to the healing waters. Despite the skepticism of my lovely nurse practitioner, who I truly believe has my best interest at heart, I decided to throw the list away of even more drug store topicals and make my investment in another bath.
Wednesday I arrived 45 minutes before my bath. I picked up a book at Saratoga Library written by a doctor who studied The Queen of Spas healing waters for decades. It seemed the perfect addition to my tea as I relaxed before a steam and bath. The tubs are in private rooms, relaxing music, soft lighting, candles, private bathroom. An attendant draws the bath water and comes to find me at the appointed time for my 40 minute soak. The water is deep, effervescent and brown! I can’t see my toes. I float like I’m in a warm sea. This time I visualize the toxins that are no longer needed to kill the virus easily and gently leaving my body. Drawn out by the healing waters, returned to the earth to be transmuted into harmless base. I stay with this visualization throughout my treatment. My bath attendant knocks after 40 minutes and brings me a heated towel. It’s all I can do this time to get dressed and leave the baths. I fantasize about returning on Thursday. I know I’ll be back soon.
There is a risk that I am mistaken. That this “water cure” that I firmly believe in now has no merit. And yet the thought of putting more chemicals ON my skin to relieve an itch and rash that is an allergic reaction to chemicals I’ve ingested just doesn’t make sense. Who am I to argue with thousands of years of tradition of human beings to take in the baths? And to the millions of people who have flocked to Saratoga for its healing waters. Who am I to argue with the dozens of people I see in lines at the springs each time I drive through the park? They aren’t just tasting the waters, they are filling bottles to take home.
This morning my husband reported that the rash on my back is no longer red and angry. In some places it is gone. My chest and belly certainly look better. The itch is subsiding. Now I lay in bed at night and let go of the discomfort. I ask the divine to take it away and bathe me in peace and healing light. I visualize the chemicals that I no longer need easily leaving my body with no allergic reaction. And I dream of my next visit to the baths!
I share this not just to convince you that there are natural healing waters available to us but to pose the following questions: How often do you ignore your intuition that invites you try something new? How often do you defer to the experts when your gut says NO, THERE’S ANOTHER WAY? How often are you afraid to take a risk because you might make be wrong, make a mistake or displease another? Trust yourself, be strong, take a risk. And next time you’re in Saratoga Springs, I’ll meet you at the Roosevelt Baths!