Aromatherapy and "Hip" Baths


What is a Sitz bath?

A Sitz bath, from the German word ‘zitzen’, meaning to sit, is often referred to as a hip bath. In the mid 1850’s, a sitz tub was made out of tin and lined in “linen damask, think bird’s eye diaper, or white huckaback” towels to protect the skin from the tin’s heat. The water was warmed by the tub. Depending on why and the skin condition, in the past bathing experts would suggest vigorous toweling after the bath to promote blood circulation and to remove dry skin or, if sores or lesions existed, then air drying was recommended. Although created for medical purposes, people found that they really enjoyed it at leisure as well.


Although to date there is no evidence that a warm bath will ease pain and discomfort, personal experience has proven otherwise. Despite this lack of evidence, physicians often recommend the use of a warm bath to ease discomfort. Skin healing essential oils, when used properly, can also help ease symptoms and lessen the healing time. Here, I will explain how these can also be beneficial in your bath.


Today, a bath can be done by obtaining a kit from a medical supply, pharmacy or online that fits right over the toilet seat that comes with a cord and bag to disperse the warm water. Some physicians may recommend the use of Domeboro powder, depending on a patient’s condition. These kits include the powder. However, it can be purchased separately. The powder is the advanced version of Burow’s Solution, developed by plastic surgeon and anatomist named Karl August Burow. He created it to relieve the itching and inflammation of minor skin irritations. Dr. Burow s’ wound healing techniques are still in wide use today.


You may choose to use your bath, since sitting in your tub in warm water may bring greater relief. This will require the tub is thoroughly cleansed and bacteria free.

A sitz bath is a great way to cleanse and relieve discomfort, pain or itching of the perineum, which is the space between the rectum and the vulva or scrotum. Whether recuperating from surgery, hemorrhoids, or various other discomforts, a sitz bath can bring a huge comfort.


If you choose to use essential oils, taking steps to use them safely ensures that you don’t add to your discomfort. Prior to adding to your water, essential oils should be added to a carrier (fixed) oil and into the powder or if using Epsom salts, added to the salt. This ensures proper dispersmant of the essential oils, so they don’t adhere to any skin, especially tender skin. If you’ve recently had surgery, birth or