Why We’re All Over Japan’s Ritualistic Bath Time
Die-hard shower fanatics will always wax lyrical about the benefits of a stand-up wash over a wallow, but sometimes nothing hits the spot like a deep, hot, therapeutic bath.
In Japan, bathing is a cherished tradition with the beloved custom of soaking in an Ofuro – a deep, wooden tub – considered meditative, restorative and absolutely essential for health and wellbeing.
And it’s nothing really to do with getting clean, the Japanese believe that submerging yourself in hot water replicates the experience of bathing in one of the countries many hot springs, soothing the body and mind in a way that a shower just can’t.
So this ancient purification practice has plenty of body healing benefits, screams self-care and involves tons of time floating around in a sweet-smelling sanctuary – it’s safe to say we totally approve. Here’s how to fully get on board with the Japanese ritual of bathing.
Take your time
To enjoy Japanese style bathing, you can’t be in a rush. A lovely long full body soak should take anything from 30 minutes to an hour, and this is often done daily. In Japan you should also slip into your soaking tub squeaky clean, soaping, scrubbing and rinsing in the shower before you bathe so that once you get in, you’re not sitting in dirty water – a common complaint from the bath haters. No one said an Ofuro is a speedy affair, but that’s the whole point. Slowing down and absorbing yourself in the process is all part of this restorative ritual.
Create an oasis
If your bathroom has a bright overhead light, a chugging extractor fan and you can hear the TV blaring from the other room, you’re not going to have much of an ‘experience’. Give your space an overhaul to turn it into a bathing sanctuary that you’ll actually want to spend time in. You can’t go wrong with candles a-plenty. Stock up on hotel-style fluffy towels, and have some soft tunes playing as you lie back in the tub.
Pick your pamper products
Carving out the time for a spiritual soak gives you the chance to use all your fave bath products that build up in the bathroom cabinet. The Japanese bathing ritual relies heavily on products with medicinal properties – think natural oils and salts, along with soothing fragrances to create ambience and atmosphere.
Feel the benefits
If you need another reminder why it’s a good idea to lie in water for up to an hour a day, you only have to look to the health benefits. This ancient technique of total immersion in hot water is said to stimulate blood circulation and eliminate toxins, take away tension, ease stress, soothe muscular pains and ward off depression. Considering the Japanese top the global table for life expectancy, copying their healing bath time rituals can only be a good thing, right?