You can make the essential elements of the Japanese bathing ritual a part of your daily routine, even if you do not have a Japanese-style bath at home. All you need is a place to wash your body and a warm, clear tub of water.
Traditional Japanese bathing is a tranquil ritual perfected through centuries, typically taken in the evening. For the Japanese, bathtubs are for soaking and relaxing only and are always kept clean. Washing and scrubbing belong outside the tub.
- Fill up your bathtub to about 2/3 full ahead of time to step right into your tub after washing and scrubbing. Most prefer a comfortable temperature, not to exceed 40 °C (104 °F). Water that is too hot opes pores unnecessarily and causes moisture loss.
- You can add a soothing herbal infusion, such as green tea or other herbs, to your bath.
- Rinse or wash your body outside the tub.
- 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 you take an herbal bath, breathe in the aroma calmly and deeply. Unwind and live in the moment.
- You do not need to spend a lot of time in the bathtub. Even five minutes will do!
- Pat dry with a soft towel and drink a cup of water to rehydrate yourself.
- Moisturizing after bathing is essential for keeping your skin replenished and supple.
The Japanese bathing ritual does not end after you dry yourself, and you can, and indeed should, continue to deepen your relaxation after bathing—the Japanese call it yu-agari (湯上がり, after bathing).
Put on some comfortable clothes and relax in any way you please. Have something to eat, browse, curl up with a book, listen to music, sip tea, take a nap, or do nothing.
It's your serenity time. Treasure it. The world can wait.