January is pretty much prime time for winter blues. It’s a cold, dark month void of December’s holiday cheer with nary a groundhog to even clue us in on how long we’ll be stuck shivering through the season. A hot bath is one way to warm up and relax this time of year—the steam is a perfect antidote to the skin-drying combo of bitter cold outside and raging heat indoors. Of course, there are so many rich and varied bathing rituals from around the world that incorporating a few foreign elements into our daily routine might be just the thing that makes the bath a therapeutic experience. Read on for tips on how to bring a bit of the Japanese sento into your home—no passport required.
Set the scene
Japanese baths are often made from hinoki wood, a citrusy aromatic timber that’s highly rot-resistant and therefore perfect for cleansing and soaks. If your bathroom isn’t rendered in hinoki, however, Te Plus Te’s Hinoki Hand Wash, Mist & Wood Chip Sachet Set can go a long way towards filling in the blanks. Spritz your bathing area with the Atmosphere Mist, or you can soak the accompanying sachet of hinoki wood chips in a bath and dry them out to be reused later.
A cleansing shower typically precedes the soaking portion of the program, often with a low stool and a wooden bucket, but feel free to get squeaky clean however you see fit. Te Plus Te’s Hinoki Body Wash and Moisturizer are perfect for the pre- or post-soak shower, but if you’d rather use your own soap and lotion, Amayori creates Hinoki Onsen Luxury Bath Salts, which are meant to recreate the Japanese hot springs experience. Once you’ve slipped into that hot water, try to remain there for 20-30 minutes. Since you’ve already throughly cleaned your body, this is a great time to clear the mind and slip into a meditative state. Keep a glass of water nearby in case you need to cool down.
Hopefully, by this time you’re feeling centered and de-stressed. Give your body some time to cool down before slipping back into your clothes. (Home & Loft’s Fringed Turkish Linen Bathrobe is a great, breezy option for lounging.) As you get ready for bed, you can even slip a few of those hinoki wood chips into your pillowcase to keep tension at bay long after you fall asleep.