Soaking in a hot tub can be a good way to describe Japanese relaxation. This could be because this is often experienced as a finale to a many activities. Hot tubs are seen in ski resorts, golf courses, spas, sport clubs and even private homes. There is much more to this than getting oneself cleaned. It is apparently, the ultimate relaxation package in one small space.
Japanese hot tubs are relatively small deep soaking tubs with still hot water. The still water differentiates the hot tub from the western bathtubs. Soaking in still hot water or the Onsen bath began as a ritualistic activity in some cultures like the Greeks, Romans and the Japanese. Many believed that this quiet activity cleanses more than body grime. Soaking in the hot tub was considered an act of comforting the body and nourishing the soul.
Hydrotherapy is one method of promoting relaxation for the body and mind. The calming effect of water on the body has never been truly explained but always experienced.
Different water temperatures can produce various healing effects on affected portions of our body. Hot tubs are used with the understanding that the body absorbs and retains heat. This promotes relaxation to tense muscles and stiff joints. Slowly, the heat absorbed becomes a healing tool by the body to mend sore parts. Circulation is increased when heat is applied so hot soaks increase blood flow to the extremities. Heart rate is also increased with heat that’s why it is imperative for one to check with his doctor if heat therapy is good for him. Stiff joints like those suffered by people with arthritis are greatly relaxed by soaking. The buoyancy of water makes movement much easier and the relaxed muscles around the joints make movement less painful. It is surprising how quickly relief can be obtained from a hot soak
Aside from beneficial effects on the human body, soaking in a Japanese hot tub also promotes relaxation of the mind. The mere process of getting into a hot tub (very slowly getting in) initiates a more gentle, slow acclimatization to the environment. This allows you to breathe deeply, slowly, and in the process, clear your mind of all the worries of the day.
Aromatherapy can be used simultaneously with the hot soak. It has been found that this form of holistic medicine stimulates the bather’s physiological, emotional and psychological capacities. The oil vapors used stimulate a body’s nervous, endocrine and immune systems, giving the body a chance to heal itself.
Photos from Daily Mail and John Lander