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Japanese bathtub recipes to keep you warm this winter

14 Comments
By Jessica

As you may know, people in Japan are pretty serious about their baths. Not only have they developed an entire bathing culture, there is also a general belief that the contents of the bath can have strong physiological effects. This naturally includes the various different minerals that appear in hot springs, but also encompasses the bath salts, bubble bath, essential oils, fruits, vegetables, and whatever else goes in the bath at home.

Now that the colder weather is upon us, we thought we’d share some of the body-warming, circulation-improving bath add-ins popular in Japan.

Ginger

Ginger is said to increase appetite, protect against colds, and be a mild sterilizer. Fans say that a ginger bath keeps them warmer longer than a regular one and that the strong aroma clears their head.

Recipe: Remove the skin from fresh ginger and cut off some thin slices. Put these slices in a tea bag or something similar. Add to a hot bath and let it sit for 10 minutes. Ginger can overstimulate sensitive skin, so it’s best to start with a small amount and add more later.

Kombu

Kombu is a type of kelp commonly used in Japanese cooking for making stock. But it can also be used to give your bath some extra flavor. Kombu contains amino acids and minerals that are supposed to be good moisturizers and protection against winter-chapped skin. Says a fan, “You’ll feel like you are in a pot of soup!”

Recipe: Cut one sheet of dried kombu into 5cm strips and boil them in a pot of water for a few minute. Pluck out the kombu strips and add the water to your bath.

Yuzu

Yuzu is a smallish Asian citrus fruit, kind of like a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. They have a pleasant citrus aroma and are said to promote circulation and reduce sensitivity to cold, making them a very popular winter bath add-in. In fact, taking a yuzu bath on the winter solstice is a common tradition. The citric acid and vitamin C in the peel is also supposed to be good for your skin.

Recipe: This one’s easy. Just throw a few in the bath as is.

Mikan

Also in the citrus family, we have the mikan orange. Not only are they delicious, they are said to prevent dangerous drops in body temperature. A bath raises your body temperature and adding mikan to the mix is said to keep that temperature up longer, allowing your temperature to slowly return to normal rather than dropping off sharply when you step from the bath into the cold air (traditionally, bathrooms are not heated in Japan).

Recipe: After eating your mikan, tear the peel into little strips for drying. You can do this by putting them outside in the sun for a week or by microwaving them on a paper towel for about two minutes. Tie up the peel from 3-5 mikans in a piece of cloth or handkerchief and add this to the bath.

Garlic

You may not want to try this one if you are expecting anyone to cuddle with you afterwards, but garlic is supposed to be good for blood circulation, making it good for beating the chills. It’s also said to relieve nerve pain and be good for the skin.

Recipe: Put one bulb of peeled, raw garlic in a tea sac or similar bag and add to the bath. If the smell is too much for you, add a slice of lemon.

Wine

OK, this one might be less about the health benefits and more about promoting the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau in Novemeber, but the Yunessun resort in Hakone holds a wine bath every year that is very popular among Japanese and quirky-Japanese-experience-seeking tourists. Supposedly, red wine is good for your skin and this recipe is easily recreated at home.

Recipe: Dump some red wine in your bath. Or drink it. That works too.

Source: Naver Matome

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Japanese bathhouses lose relevance in modern culture but gain popularity as a tourist attraction -- Is mikan art the new origami? -- Top tub tips and tattoo taboos at Japanese baths

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14 Comments
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Just on the ginger one - I need to put the ginger slices in a tea bag. So first I have to empty the tea bag by opening it. But won't the ginger now fall out of the tea bag?

I put wine in cooking but I can't see me pouring good wine into a bath anytime soon. Besides, who want's to smell like wine?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

SimondB - at your local supermarket, in the household / tea section and perhaps near the checkout too, you will see these small rectangular packets, with white contents. They are empty tea bags, which you can fill with whatever you like, and fold over so that the contents don't spill out. they are very handy - i use them to keep tougarashi in, as it keeps the little crunchy bugs away from dry food items like rice, oatmeal drink powders etc.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Interesting phrasing in these suggestions.

"Ginger is said to..."

"Kombu ... supposed to be good"

"Yuzu...are said to promote circulation and reduce sensitivity to cold" (This one's particularly tenuous, as all the women I know have been "samui desu ne"-ing for months now).

Mikan..."are said to prevent dangerous drops in body temperature" (What? They insulate your body against the effects of getting out of the bath?)

Garlic " is supposed to be good for..." and " It’s also said to..."

And finally, "Supposedly, red wine is good for your skin"

In short, for a country which is so enthralled by the prospect of having a bath, there's an awful lot of gullibility about when it comes to faffing about with specious health claims.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@Captain Toss - Aye, on that last one, ye scurvy dog! Give me a lassie any day, with a glassie of Nikka's best and I'm in heaven!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Garlic? You are suppose to be taking a bath not smelling like a pizza!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Give me those two cuties and some hot water and I'm fine...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

That is sounds great!! I want to try these. I can enjoy the scent of the Yuzu, Mikan and Wine. But garlic is strong smell. If I put it into bathtub, the smell of the garlic has permeated my body I guess.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The two girls in the bath would keep me warm :)

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I just need the girl on the right to keep me happy. Very happy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All that said things are Damn expensive here, me prefer salt bath, rub off negative energy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In short, for a country which is so enthralled by the prospect of having a bath, there's an awful lot of gullibility about when it comes to faffing about with specious health claims.

aren't you underestimating the power of placebo? if someone has the idea that a certain food will cause a particular effect that will create an effect much in the same way that someone who takes a clinically proven medicine but does not believe it will cure anything will experience no change.

i'd like to think that everyday reality has it's basis far more in feelings and emotions than in reductionist biology...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So that's why these old guys all smell so bad on the train... Garlic baths...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'll be honest: Weird baths are a guilty pleasure. Bring on the bubbles!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nothing wrong with a good soak but I'll pass on the garlic, thanks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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