the health & beauty benefits of hot soaking
Soaking in a hot bath is a traditional beauty staple in most cultures and is such a standard for health & wellness in Japan that all homes come outfitted with its own "bath" room.
From the Romans to Liverpool, bathing in hot water has been around since Pakistan 2500 BC in the Indus Valley. Traditionally part of a spiritual practice, cultures have been using bathing for socialization, relaxation, warming the body and keeping your skin looking it's best.
In Japanese culture the act of soaking is more than just cleaning the body, it is a spiritual practice and an act of well being. Furo, the official name of the small square shaped tubs in Japanese homes, apartments and hotels, made of wood typically built in a square or rectangular shape of planks without the sloping walls you would see in a traditional western porcelain baths, and are much deeper making it easier for the occupant to be completely submerged without the risk of overflow. Although it is traditionally made of wood, modern designs are starting to utilize acrylics and adding filtration pumps and heaters.
Traditionally the water is heated over coals to a temperature of 100 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit.
The use of Furo is not to clean the body but used as a ritual of relaxation. You should shower or at least rinse before entering your Furo. Then, sit back and relax.
In Iranian culture bathhouses, or Hammam, are a public affair where you go not only to get clean but to soothe sore muscles, shave, receive messages and socialize. Although the tradition of bathhouses is starting to fade in Iranian culture due to the modernization of housing allowing most to maintain their traditions within their own home unfortunately losing the socialization factor that was so prominent in the past.
Similar to the Furo, bathers are expected to fully cleanse their body before soaking. In Islamic culture, part of the Five Pillars of Islam, it is customary to bath and cleanse the body prior to prayer causing the art of soaking to be an essential component of spiritual practice.
Hammams are gendered spaces, traditionally separating genders other than young children accompanying their mothers. Most hammams follow a "standard" in bathing that includes relaxation in a room of hot dry air causing intense perspiration before moving onto an even hotter room to rinse in cold water. Bathers will then wash the body and move onto body massaging and then finish in a cooling room to relax the body and mind.
THE SKIN BENEFITS
As a little over 60 percent of your body is made of water, soaking in baths is great for your overall skin health. Hot soaking allows the pores to open to absorb moisture and can allow other skin nourishing products such as oils to absorb easier. The warmth of the water increases your skin circulation allowing vital nutrients to access your skin through your capillaries.
MY FAVORITE BATHING OILS
THE HEALTH BENEFITS
The health benefits of soaking in a hot bath are many. Other than cleansing the skin, softening and soothing dry skin, baths also alleviate tension and stress in the body. Induces relaxation by soothing sore muscles and aches, calming nerves, and can help promote sleep.
Similar to the health benefits of sweating - read more here.
A hot bath can help with mental alertness and improve blood circulation that can help with headaches and hormone production.