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Home>Blog>Get to Know Japanese Bathing Culture

Get to Know Japanese Bathing Culture

Chloe Takahashi • updated Dec 10, 2020
Get to Know Japanese Bathing Culture

How to indulge in the tradition this Mental Health Month.

How do you take care of your mental health?

In light of the current crisis, we’re all experiencing noticeable impacts to the economy and daily living, but what about the impact on our mental health? More than 1 in 5 women in the United States experienced a mental health condition in the past year, such as depression or anxiety. Caring for your mental health is one of the vital routines to keep yourself glowing inside and out, yet for some reason, most of us tend to neglect it. Today, Cosme Hunt is here to let you in on their secret to maintaining mental health during this challenging time: “Bathing”. Bathing means washing your body in water for cleansing or medical treatment, but it does mean more to your mental health if you learn to properly take both. Here some tips for keeping your mind healthy during quarantine and Mental Health Month!

Bath Culture In Japan

Japanese bathing culture begins in the 6th century with Buddhist purification rituals. Japanese believe that bathing is essential to maintaining not only your body but also cleanse the spirit and improve one’s health. Bathing is an important part of a their long valued lifestyle history. It’s not a surprising fact that almost all Japanese grow up being told by their moms to bath in a hot tub every single night before going to bed. A lot of houses and apartments in Japan nowadays have very specific bathrooms divided into two compartments: one where you undress/dress, brush your teeth, do your hair; and the other one is a shower + bathtub where you actually do your cleaning and relaxing business.

What types of baths does Japan have?

There are three main types of Japanese baths: onsen, sento, and furo. Onsen, a hot spring bath, is an essential part of the Japanese bathing culture. Since Japan has many volcanoes, the water in hot springs contains a certain amount of minerals. The sento, public bathhouse, is referenced in stories of Kyoto during the Heian period (794-1185). People used to go to a sento to take a shower when bathtubs, furo, were not typical features. Furo (bathtubs at home) is the most common style of bathing in Japan. It used to be made of wood, but now we have more material options such as acrylic.

What is the benefit of bathing?

A German study reports bathing every afternoon/evening dramatically improves a person’s mood. So how does bathing help maintain your mental health? Colder core body temperature helps induce sleep, but a warm bath before going to bed results in a similar effect on your body. Our body temperatures naturally drop at night, which induces sleep. Soaking in a warm bath raises your body temperature, and exiting more rapidly cools it down, thus instigating the production of melatonin, and better preparing you for sleep. A 30 minute soak in a 40C bath every afternoon or evening maximizes the effect.

How do we discover a fun bath time?

Every night, almost all Japanese have fun with bathing at home after a long day, and there are a variety of innovative bath goods and tools as the bathing culture grows in Japan. Imagine the time when you bring your favorite wine and book in the bath tab and spend 2 hours without being disturbed by anyone? In the tea-growing area of Shizuoka, for example, little floating baskets packed with green tea can be found in the bath. Other common additives include oranges or yuzu. Also, it’s been getting easier and easier to bring aromatherapy into your bathroom through candles and bath oil, so you could find out your own special bath time!

Cosme Hunt also introduces some bath goods and body care products you can enjoy during bath time. Let us help you to cleanse your split and discover your happiness during this time.

Stay safe, stay strong with us. xoxo