If you live outside Japan, chances are your home is not equipped with a Japanese style bath. Even so, you can still incorporate the essential elements of the Japanese bath ritual into your routine.
Cleanse, Bathe, Power Down
The Japanese traditional bathing is an tranquil ritual perfected through centuries. It is typically taken in the evening to scrub and cleanse — and just as importantly, to relax and let the day’s troubles melt away.
There are three basic activities in the Japanese bath ritual:
- First, you scrub and wash yourself thoroughly.
- Then, you soak in a tub of hot, clean water and relax.
- Last, after you get out, you make yourself comfortable and continue to deepen your relaxation.
Tips for Proper Bathing
If you have a separate shower, fill up your tub ahead of time. This way, you can step right into your tub when you are done cleansing yourself.
If your shower is inside your tub, clean your tub after taking shower and then fill it up with hot water for your soak.
Drop in an herbal bath pack if you wish. Otherwise, hot clear water is fine.
The water temperature should be comfortable to the skin. Most prefer a temperature between 38 and 40° C (100 to 104 °F).
Step slowly in your tub, feel the water envelope your skin and relax. Slowly splash some on your neck and shoulders. Listen to the sounds and feel the tiny streams run their way down.
If taking an herbal bath, breathe in the aroma calmly and deeply. Unwind and let your mind go of everything except the moment.
Typical soak time is 10 to 15 minutes.
After Taking a Bath
Japanese bathing ritual does not end in the tub. You continue to deepen your relaxation after your soak. Japanese call this yu-agari (湯上がり, after bathing).
Put on your favorite comfortable clothes, set your worries aside and relax in any which way you please. Have savories, take a nap, curl up with a book, listen to music, sip tea, play, groom yourself, or… do nothing at all.
This is your personal time. Let the world wait.