Japanese Bath is one of the principal health routines among Japanese people
There is one daily routine that everybody says as obviously a principal routine for health, but Westerners don’t have in mind. A Japanese bath bathing habit. You may wonder how to take a Japanese bath at home, but it’s hard to do it without a dedicated facility, a bath room (not a toilet, but really a “bath” “room”), equipped with a Japanese style deep bathtub and a body washing space.
The cultural difference of sense may also be a challenge. It’s hard to replace the hot water by each person of a family in a day. It’s natural for Japanese families to use the same hot water within a family. But it may be uncomfortable for people from other cultures.
Benefits of Japanese bath
Before talking about how to take a Japanese bath at home, I like to review the health benefits of it.
Relieves fatigue and relaxes
When you take a Japanese bath, your body temperature rises, and your metabolism increases. It will efficiently discharge the waste products and fatigue substances accumulated from the body. The bloodstream carries oxygen and nutrients to every corner of the body. Hence, the body Feels refreshed, and fatigue is relieved.
In addition, when the body is warm, the tension in muscles and joints is relieved. Some people may suffer shoulder and back pain due to computer work at home, but we can say that these pains are likely to be improved by bathing because the muscles are tense.
In addition, when you take a bath, the function of the parasympathetic nerve becomes dominant. When it happens, it is easy to feel the relaxing effect, and it will solve the stiff mind and body, and you will feel more comfortable.
Metabolism improvement and skin improvement
When your metabolism increases by a Japanese bath bathing, your skin will improve. Most Japanese women feel their skin refreshed, like getting back younger every night by long bathing. Repeating it every day will keep up the healthy skin condition constantly, even when not after bathing.
Bad circulation improvement
When water pressure is applied to the body by bathing, it also applies to the subcutaneous blood vessels. It pushes out blood like a pump, and the heart’s movement becomes active. As a result, it improves blood flow and lymphatic flow.
Improving blood flow also relieves coldness, so we recommend bathing for those who suffer from chronic coldness.
When a person falls asleep, the core body temperature (the temperature inside the body, such as the brain and internal organs) drops. This function enables smooth sleep onset and comfortable sleep. Even if you don’t do anything, your body temperature will naturally drop, and you will feel sleepy.
Take a Japanese bath for 1-2 hours before going to bed. For good quality sleep, it is ideal for the skin temperature to be high and the core body temperature to be low. By taking a bath, you can sleep soundly at night by increasing blood flow in the skin, dissipating heat from the skin, and lowering the core body temperature.
How to take a Japanese bath at home, or is there an alternative measure?
As discussed above, you need dedicated facilities to take a Japanese bath home. If you can do it, it’s lovely. But it’s impossible for most people for various reasons, including the expensive cost, space, etc. But you don’t need to give up from the quest how to take a Japanese bath at home. There are alternatives effective enough.
Yes, this will be the most viable and realistic option for everybody to improve bad circulation. Don’t think the foot bath is only for your foot care. It is just a safer variation of the full-body warm water immersion, and it warms up your whole body only with your feet and legs soaked. It is a common-sense among Japanese women.
You will often see the recipe for the bath ingredients, but the primary matter is the warm water. Bath ingredients will add up further benefits, but it’s already beneficial without them.
It will provide the thermotherapeutic effect as the warmed blood circulates all through your body. If you soak your calves even up to the half, you will also take the water pressure effect. The improved bloodstream will (1) warms your body up (2) discharges your body wastes and facilitate your metabolism (3) mitigates your fatigue (4), loosens up your body (5) helps your internal organs (6) supports you to fall asleep better.
I will explain the details how to take foot bath below.
Unfortunately, you can’t raise your core body temperature just by showering. Instead, the shower stimulates the skin and increases the sympathetic nerves, making it easier for the autonomic nerves to become unbalanced. However, there will be days when you just can’t take a bath. In such a case, try to warm your neck in the shower. I will explain you the details of how below.
How to take the footbath as an alternative of Japanese bath
(1) Footbath is far safer and less hefty for your body than full-body warm water immersion or various exercises. But, it still puts some tax on your body depending on your age or the health condition. If you have any concerns, start from some low temperature (around 100F) and short time (about 20 mins). Adjust the temperature, lengthen the soaking time, and gradually monitor your blood pressure and your general health condition.
(2)Take the water adequately to avoid dehydration. A glass of water before the footbath will help you to discharge your body wastes. You can keep up your metabolism by taking some water after the footbath.
(3) Take care of the dryness of your legs. When you add any bath ingredients, take care of any problems on your skin.
(4) I recommend some tools and bath agents, but we are not involved in any of them and can’t take any responsibility. Research those tools and ingredients under your responsibility before you buy and use them.
Any buckets or foot spa with a heater will work. I like the simple foot bath bucket by the famous Japanese manufacturer, Inomata. (Watch out cheaper imitations!) It will be convenient if you take a foot spa with a heater, but you need to study if the size is right for you.
Even only the warm water without any ingredients will warm you up and provide you various benefits. But some bath ingredients will extend its health benefits. Many people recommend Epsom salt. It is one of the popular ingredients of Onsen (natural hot spring) and helpful for your health. Bath ingredients made in Japan will offer you a more complicated and similar-to-nature formula and health benefits for your luxury.
It will also be beautiful to add some aroma and enjoy the relaxing flavor.
How to do
Pour warm water into the bucket. Soak your feet with some hot water beside you. Start with some lower water surface cause you will need to add the hot water to keep up or adjust the water temperature. Try from as short as 20 minutes if you have any health concerns. Some women enjoy it for about an hour.
One more tip
If you don’t go bed immediately after the foot bath and like to keep your feet warm, it will be better that you pour some cold water on your feet. Otherwise, your body will try to cool down the warmed feet as a natural reaction.
How to take the Shower as an alternative of Japanese bath
It is essential to keep your neck warm.
Try to warm your neck in the shower. The duration will be 3 – 5 minutes. In case of old people or those who are not in a good health, 1 – 2 minute(s) will work enough.
When the neck warms up, the temperature-controlling sensor in the preoptic area of the brain works, blood vessels expand, and the parasympathetic nervous system increases.
The areas to be warmed are the base of the neck and the back. At the bottom of the neck is a cluster of sympathetic nerves called the stellate ganglion, which regulates blood flow to the head, shoulders, and neck. When you warm up here, the sympathetic nerves decrease, and the parasympathetic nerves dominate. In addition, since thick blood vessels run in the back of the neck, the preoptic area responds by warming this area.
Keep the shower head as close to your skin as possible.
The point of application is to bring the shower head as close to the skin as possible. When you shower from a distance, the water droplets irritate your skin, making it easier for your sympathetic nerves to react. It is a good idea to get as close to the skin as possible so that you can feel it as a “mass of hot water” and warm it to massage it. The temperature and time should be about what you feel comfortable with. And even after taking a shower, it’s a good idea to warm your neck by, for example, putting a hair dryer on the back of your neck when drying your hair or placing a hot towel on it (be careful of burns).
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