Japan has a long-standing love of hot baths. I’d like to think that this is partially due to the fact that the Japanese bath tubs are amazing. The average tub in a modern house is around shoulder deep, and it has a little display that controls all the functions of the tub. It fills the tub with the perfect amount of water and keeps it at a preset temperature with just a press of a button. You can usually reheat and refill the water with another push of a button. Once you get used to how marvelous it is, you can’t go back. Ever.
Many Japanese models or TV personalities will go on about how soaking is a key part to their beauty and health routine. The general advice you will get from women’s magazines for the ultimate bathtime will usually will include the following 3 rules:
Massage: Focus on your calves and arms to get your circulation going. It can help relieve swelling and muscle pain. If you sit all day during work, then this will help improve your circulation.
Water Temperature: 39-40℃ is said to be the best temperature to soak. If it is too hot it will damage the collagen in your skin (AKA you are cooking yourself). Your body will gradually warm up, so it doesn’t need to feel that hot initially. The tub will keep the water at a stable temperature, so it is not going to cool down.
Time: Soak for at least 15 minutes. Bring a glass of water in with you to sip so you don’t dehydrate if you are in for more than 20 minutes. You want to gradually heat up and start sweating just a little bit, but not overdo it.
When you are done get out and rinse down real quick.
In order to get the most out of soaking it is usually not good to take a bath right after eating a big meal or drinking. It is also recommended to be out of the tub at least 2 hours before sleeping.
That’s about it.
Naturally there are a wide variety of bathtime goods to add to the water! There are so many varieties of salts, bath bombs, and powders, it would probably take a year of trying new things everyday to get through the majority of it. Each product boasts some different sort of beauty or health benefit, so it’s fun to pick up something to match your mood. Some of them carbonate the water to relax muscle pain, while others contain caspian or ginger that encourages your body to heat up faster- kind of like what happens when you are in a sauna. Some are like a type of aromatherapy to help relax you before bedtime.
Beauty benefits vary from who you ask and what your regimen is, but it can be used to control weight, achieve more restful sleep, and help with skin problems. I think in the very least it helps lower stress and gives you a more restful sleep, which would make anyone more gorgeous in the long run. There are literally shelves dedicated to bath diets and bath beauty regimens at the bookstore, so this is only scraping the surface.
Ever since coming to Japan I’ve become addicted to soaking. It is my favorite thing to do to relax. I can quit any time I want though. I swear. ノーお風呂・ノーライフ