Here we are, it's officially summer, July begins tomorrow and to my (and my friend's) amazement, Isaac and I still haven't installed our air conditioning. This is in part due to a) the fact that we live in a teeny but unusually well ventilated and airy parlour floor apartment b) a couple of unseasonably cool days (hurrah) and c) my reticence to part with a precious window and a pretty view in order to accomodate the hideous and gargantuan and rumbling behemoth that is an air conditioning unit. I have a love/hate relationship with AC, each summer carrying a sweater in my tote bag to defend myself from the sub-zero temperatures of cinemas, office lobbies and subway trains, and longing for the moment I can pass through the revolving doors and feel the scorch of summer kiss me all over. I hate being cold. But still I know the heat is coming, the weeks that don't venture, day or night, out of the 30's (Brits) 90's (Americans). The days that, stacked upon each other, fill the walls of old buildings like ours with a heavy warmth, when even the birds sing slower and sleep/sanity becomes near-impossible. I know it's coming, and our ugly air conditioner, which I have faux-affectionately nicknamed The Hulk, is waiting patiently on the rug for the handy man. But I'm hoping that we can hold out one more week, especially as I am armed with a secret weapon- the very subject of this post, the perfect summer shower.
On the warmer days in recent weeks I've found that twice-daily super cold showers do wonders for keeping my body comfortable, and though a cold shower usually brings to mind am image of foreboding British boarding schools and brutal military barracks, I've found a way to turn mine into a legitimate spa-like experience. Enter, the wonderful, inexpensive, natural and nasties-free Olbas Therapeutic Herbal Bath. Olbas oil, a Swiss blend of six botanicals, is a very well known medicine cupboard staple in the UK, primarily used in the fight against bunged up noses and Winter colds. The problem with traditional Olbas though is that you can't really use it topically, which is why discovering the herbal bath, which is happy placed directly on skin, feels like a revelation. Each morning and night I put a few drops of this on my loofah, mixed with my regular soap (I've been using this one, which is a beautiful compliment) and lather myself from head to knees to toes in water as cold as I can stand. The incredible scent makes you feel like you're in a fancy spa, and the botanicals tingle and cool down your skin's surface. Tip: the longer you stay in the shower the more tolerant you'll be to the cold water. Ease yourself into it by adjusting the temperature as time goes on, perhaps even finishing with an icy blast down your back. Get out and tell me you don't feel incredible! So hold out on that AC a little longer and grab yourself some Olbas. Think of your electricity bills, the polar bears, that icky recycled air, and crank that shower down. It's an at home spa-experience that can't be beaten.
Some more on the health benefits of cold showers here