Many people have had the pleasure of bathing underneath the warm rays of the midday sun. In fact, sunbathing is so common it hardly turns any heads these days. But what about moon bathing? Yes, you read that right — moon bathing. Good news: No sunblock is required.
Moon bathing is actually an ancient practice that stretches back centuries. It draws its main inspiration from traditional herbal medicine, specificallyin Ayurveda.
This Ayurvedic practice is used for calming the pitta dosha, which is believed to be a fiery temperament within the body. This well-respected practice is closely tied to the moon’s cycle (also known as the lunar cycle).
Moon bathing follows a similar premise as sunbathing.
It involves soaking up lunar energy instead of sun rays. Aside from taking a bath under the light of a full moon, moon bathing typically involves the use of herbs as well. Let’s take a closer look at the connection between moon bathing and herbalism, as well as some of the many health benefits.
Herbalism and the Moon
Moon bathing and herbalism are both practices that are deeply rooted in ancient traditions, with the main connection being nature.
For example, moon bathing involves receiving the nourishing lunar energy from the moon, while herbalism uses the medicinal properties of plants. When they come together, they form a holistic approach to overall health and well-being.
Also, it is important to understand that in traditional herbalism, the phases of the moon have been carefully observed while planting, harvesting, or collecting plants. It was believed that the best phase to harvest was just after the full moon when the sap was high, and the energy had turned downward. Some herbalists have even taken this practice one step further and take care to plant, collect, or harvest during specific moon phases, as they have learned that these phases can impact the quality of the plants.
At this time, the fluids in the plant are drawn to the roots, which makes them easier to dry for herbal formulas. Many herbalists also crafted herbal extracts during this same moon phase, as they believed it made them even more potent. This deep herbal knowledge about the health-supporting properties of the different plants was developed over countless generations as remedies were tried, proven, and passed on to later generations.
Moon Phases & Moon Bathing
Moon phases refer to the moon's changing appearance as it orbits around our Earth. It takes roughly 29.REF#1131 days to complete one cycle of phases.
There are eight phases, including the new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, and finally, the waning crescent. Due to these phases and cycles, the moon has been linked to feminine energy in times past, mainly due to its connection with menstrual cycles.
When it comes to moon bathing, the practice typically occurs during the full moon or new moon phase. This moon bath ritual simply involves finding a quiet, peaceful outdoor space where one can bask in the moon's energy.
The waning moon is generally associated with releasing and letting go, making it an ideal phase for moon bathing. On the other hand, the waxing moon (which occurs after the new moon) is typically associated with growth. So this phase may be better for those wanting to embrace a growing or learning energy.
With all this in mind, the lunar calendar is a handy tool to track the moon's phases and is popular in herbalism and other nature-based practices. As mentioned, each moon phase is believed to have a unique energy and influence on the natural world and the body’s systems.
Discover Moon Bathing
Moon bathing refers to time spent basking in the moonlight and is a traditional treatment prescribed to help people keep cool in the summer. It is also believed to help promote relaxation, manage stress and anxiety levels, and even help regulate a woman’s cycle.REF#1127
Additionally, moon bathing can help balance your circadian rhythm if done right before you go to sleep. This allows you to remove yourself from any artificial light sources and stay at peace in the dark, signaling to your body that it is time to prepare for rest.REF#1128
Are There Other Benefits of Moon Bathing?
When it comes to moon bathing, remember that it is a holistic practice that is best used with other treatments. However, some potential benefits are based on a combination of anecdotal evidence and traditional beliefs. Let’s take a look at a few.
One potential benefit of moon bathing is that it is said to soothe feelings of stress. When left unchecked, stress can affect things like blood pressure and heart rate and may even contribute to migraines.REF#1132
In short, moon bathing may help support relaxation and a sense of calmness. In fact, studies have shown that exposure to natural environments, such as the moonlight, can help soothe feelings of stress and support overall well-being.REF#1129
Another potential benefit is improved sleep. This may sound odd, especially since we tend to be already catching our zzz’s when the moon is in full bloom. Even so, moon bathing may help regulate sleep patterns for some people — this is most likely connected to the sleep-wake cycle and the body’s natural circadian rhythm.*
Moon bathing may also have some positive implications when it comes to energy and vitality. In fact, some studies have shown that moon bathing may actually help support a person’s energy and vitality, specifically alertness levels.REF#1130
How and When to Take a Moon Bath
Similar to the popular forest bathing practice, moon bathing provides solitary time in nature to meditate and simply be in the moment. It is commonly practiced in one of three ways: going outside in the moonlight, opening the blinds so the moonlight can stream indoors, or physically taking a bath.
If choosing to practice outside, moon bathing should be done for at least 30 minutes. And even if you don’t believe in the spiritual effects of the moon, this time still offers moments of reflection, meditation, and relaxation in the great outdoors.
If the weather is bad outside, you can also moon bathe indoors and still reap the benefits. All you need is a space that offers silence and privacy, plus a window that allows the moonlight to pour in.
Drawing yourself a bath during a new or full moon is believed to enhance the benefits of moon bathing. Taking a moon or salt bath can be beneficial for you whenever you need it, but may serve a higher purpose during a full or new moon. A new moon is when the moon is barely visible in the sky, and this time is perfect for cleansing and setting intentions.
A full moon is when the moon is at its brightest and most full, and this is a great time for inner healing and reflection on the intentions you set during the new moon.REF#1131 Did they succeed? Did they fail, and if so, how can you make these goals more attainable? Setting aside time for self-reflection is important for internal growth, as this form of personal analysis allows you to bring your life into alignment with what you wish it to be.
When drawing the bath, add Himalayan or Epsom salt for a cleansing bath or steep some herbal tea, such as Sleep & Relax Herbal Tea, for a calming experience or our Sleep & Relax supplement with a calming combination of Passionflower, Lemon Balm, and Chamomile. This is also an opportune time to set the mood in the space by lighting some candles or incense to help you unwind and enjoy this reflective moment.
Add in some herbs like rose petals or lavender to your bath water to support feelings of relaxation. You can also add essential oils if you don’t have any herbs on hand. A moon bath is also a wonderful opportunity to practice skincare by adding soothing oils like coconut oil or sweet almond oil to nourish your skin.
What Should You Do After Moon Bathing?
After moon bathing, it's important to take care of yourself in order to maximize the many potential benefits of this ancient practice. For example, make sure you hydrate and drink plenty of water to help replenish any fluids.
Also, make sure you make some time to reflect on your experience through journaling or meditation. The point is that you’re able to capture your feelings and experience during the moon bath to help you gain better insight and clarity.
Lastly, take time to rest and relax. This can allow your body and mind time to recover after the experience.
How Often Should I Moon Bathe?
The frequency of moon bathing depends on you. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference and comfort level.
How Can You Tell If Your Moon Bath Was Successful?
The success of a moon bath is certainly in the eye of the moon bather. The success of a moon bath can feel pretty subjective. However, some common signs of a successful moon bath could include a feeling of being grounded, calm, centered, and a deeper connection to oneself — and nature.
Living by the Light of the Moon
According to renowned American herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, "Our inner balance comes to us from our relationship to the moon," so taking a moon bath, if nothing else, can be a gentle reminder to slow down and take care of yourself. With each new or full moon, consider taking it as an opportunity to center yourself, reflect, and restore a sense of calm.
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- 5. Hannah Roberts et al., "The Effect of Short-Term Exposure to the Natural Environment on Depressive Mood: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis", Environmental Research (Elsevier BV, July 24, 2019). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31362251/ 5 5. Hannah Roberts et al., "The Effect of Short-Term Exposure to the Natural Environment on Depressive Mood: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis", Environmental Research (Elsevier BV, July 24, 2019). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31362251/