History of the Hinoki Ofuro Soaking Tub Ritual



In Japan, no daily ritual is more uniquely important to the individual’s well-being than the meditative soak at the beginning or end of the day. This ritual is not only viewed as a time of relaxation, but one of purification and renewal. The soaking tub has been used by the Japanese for centuries to alleviate both physical and spiritual maladies – and not for cleansing the body. They believed the body must be cleaned and scrubbed prior to entering the tub. This is normally done at a shower located in the same room as the tub, while seated on a small stool. In a traditional Japanese household, there was generally only one wooden tub to be shared by all family members. The most venerable member of the family would enter the water first and meditate, then the next oldest, and so on, until the smallest child. In our western culture, we might perceive this unsanitary or patriarchal. However in Asian cultures, they believe that water holds energy. Thus, the wisdom of the eldest is passed on to all that enter the waters, bestowing a blessed gift. This ancient, honored Japanese ritual of immersion in hot water also takes away tensions, soothes muscular pains, and stimulates blood circulation – win/win all around.