Flower baths: Beneficial ritual or mere myth?

The pleasing fragrance and vibrant colours of flowers render them therapeutic in flower baths.

23 Mar 2024 08:00pm
Photo for illustrative purposes only. Bernama FILE PIX
Photo for illustrative purposes only. Bernama FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - Despite frequently appearing well-dressed in public, Nurul, a 26-year-old fashion model, still struggles with confidence in her appearance, to the extent of changing outfits multiple times before stepping out of her home.

She has explored various avenues, including seeking advice from image consultants, but has not found a satisfactory result until a close friend recommended she try mandi bunga, or a flower bath, to boost her confidence.

Although initially sceptical, Nurul found herself rejuvenated and more self-assured after trying it, leading her to believe in the efficacy of flower baths.

"I believe every flower has its inherent benefits and will provide advantages to our body.

"Flower baths are not new, and our ancestors have practised them. I usually do them twice a year,” she told Bernama.

According to Prof Dr Rusea Go, a botany expert at Universiti Putra Malaysia, the pleasing fragrance and vibrant colours of flowers render them therapeutic in flower baths.

"These elements can indirectly have a positive effect on mental health and emotions by stimulating nerves in the nose, thereby enhancing mood and sensory perception.

"Furthermore, the release of endorphins induced by these scents promotes happiness, instils a sense of calmness, reduces stress and fosters a positive aura,” she said.

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However, Rusea said that the benefits of flower baths may not be fully realised if the proper method isn’t followed, adding that using warm water is crucial to extracting essential oils and natural fragrances.

Echoing Rusea’s sentiments, joint and nerve massage expert Nurimah Nuredin said the type of flowers used is a key factor in determining the effectiveness of every flower bath activity.

"It is recommended to choose fresh and fragrant flowers such as ylang-ylang, hibiscus and pandan leaves. When flowers lose their scent and vitality, it affects the bathing experience as we seek to absorb the energy they emit.

"It is also necessary to add limes to the bathwater to purify the body of negative elements while maintaining skin moisture, given their richness in vitamin C and antioxidants,” she said.

Nurimah also cautioned against using flowers with thorns and advised that the bathwater should be mixed with salt to help absorb negative energy.

Meanwhile, psychology expert Assoc Prof Dr Shazli Ezzat Ghazali said that individuals’ belief systems regarding the benefits of flower baths can significantly impact their health outcomes.

"The placebo effect illustrates that if someone believes that a particular treatment or medicine can cure their ailment, their condition may improve.

"However, if doubts persist, even numerous baths may not alleviate the pain,” he said.

Therefore, he said the mindset of individuals who practice flower bath rituals plays a significant role, alongside the impact of social support. - BERNAMA