Variety ways to take a bath
It is believed that the Japanese have used Onsen for a long time and found that Onsen have a positive effects on the body empirically, and they invented unique ways to take a bath rather than just soaking in Onsen.
Ways of taking a bath in Onsen can be roughly divided into three types; (1) full body bathing, partial bathing, and a special bathing.
Therefore, we will briefly introduce the ways of bathing, that have continued and been seen even in today, its effects and caution for using the Onsen.
1 Full body bathing
It is a way of soaking the entire body in a bath, and can be categorized into "semi-sitting baths" and "lie-down baths".Semi-sitting baths can be further classified into several different types depending on the temperature and the physical action.
Semi-sitting bathing is a way of bathing which people soak into a relatively deep bath with the semi-sitting (half‐sitting posture) or sitting position. It is classified into the following four types by the difference in temperature.
Those who have heart disease should be careful about soaking in a deep bath because this is the way of bathing with the highest temperature among those four types.
- ①High-temperature baths …
- It is a way which people soak in Onsen with high temperature (43 degree Celsius or more) water for a short time. Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma Prefecture is famous for the "Time Bath". People with high blood pressure and heart disease should pay special attention to this way of bathing.
- ②Warm baths …
- It is the most popular way of bathing which people soak in Onsen with medium temperature (around 41 degree Celsius) water in an Onsen, and is used in the most of Onsen facilities such as traditional inn (Ryokan) and public baths. By using physical functions such as "pressure bath", "whirlpool bath", "bubble bath", "wave bath" and so on, it enables you to relax and release muscle tension, and is effective nerve pain and back pain.
- ③Lukewarm baths…
- It is a way of bathing which people soak in Onsen with a relatively low temperature (about 36-38 degree Celsius) water for a long time AKA "continuous bath", which can be seen in Niigata Prefecture and Ashiomata Onsen. It is effective for hypertension and arteriosclerosis.
- ④Cold-water bath
- It is a way of bathing which people soak in Onsen with low temperature (7-20 degree Celsius) water, and can be found in Kan-no-Jigoku in Oita Prefecture, etc. People with the circulatory disease should require special attention.
It is a way of bathing which people lie down in shallow Onsen with a relatively low temperature (around 37 degree Celsius) water for a long time (20 to 30 minutes). It makes us relaxed and is effective for mental fatigue, insomnia, hypertension, and arteriosclerosis.
Partial bathing is a way which people soak only a part of their body in spring water, which can be divided into "water pouring", "pelting water",” hip bath", "foot bath", "water spouting", "walk in bath", and so on.
This is a way which people are poured the Onsen water over their head or the back of the neck. It is effective for preventing blood pressure from rising in the early stage of bathing.
This is also called as waterfall water, is Onsen that water falls like waterfalls, and is a way where the water pours over the shoulder, neck, waist and so on. It relieves the stiffness of the muscles and is effective for stiffness on neck and back pain.
It is a way which only the lower half of the body or foot soak in the Onsen. It improves blood flow of such parts in the water, and it is effective for hypothermia and blood circulation failure in lower limbs. Even those who are physically weak can employ this way, not like a full body bath.
It is a way which spring water spouts up from the floor and pouring on the part of the body which is usually unreachable.
It is effective for hemorrhoids and excessive sensitivity to cold.
(5)Walk in a bath
It is a way which people walk through knee-deep Onsen with their barefoot. A combination of partial bathing and exercise therapy is effective for autonomic dystonia and cold symptoms.
For special baths, we picked up the unique baths. Apart from exercise bathing, we pick up what is not exactly bathing.
Mud bath is a way which people soak in Onsen fulfilled with natural mud such as mineral mud and peat. It can be divided into a full-body bathing and a partial bathing as well; and Beppu Onsenkyo in Oita Prefecture is well known for this types of Onsen. It is effective for rheumatoid arthritis, gout, fractures, sprains and so on.
It is a way which people soak their whole body in the Onsen spouting from the ground in the coast or riverbank. Not only the general effects from full-body bathing, but also sand pressure boosts the metabolism and promote sweating. Ibusuki Onsen in Kagoshima prefecture is famous for its "Sand steamed Onsen". It is effective for locomotive organ disease and neuralgia.
(3)Onsen Steam Baths
It is a way which steam from Onsen is used and can be further divided into "Onsen steam box bath", "Onsen steam room bath" and "Steaming hemorrhoid".
- ①Onsen Steam Box Baths・・・・
- It is a way to steam the whole body except the head area in a box spouting Onsen steams. Goseikake Onsen in Akita prefecture is famous for this. It is effective for obesity, neuralgia, and recovery from fatigue.
- ②Onsen steam room baths・・・・
- It is a method to steam the whole of the body by entering the steam room filled with the onsen steams, and people can inhale onsen steam. Natsuyu Onsen in Iwate Prefecture, Shimanto Onsen in Gunma Prefecture and so on are famous for it. It has the same effect as the onsen steam box has.
- ③Steaming hemorrhoid・・・
- It is a way to steam the affected area by Onsen steam spouting from the floor. It is effective for hemorrhoid.
(4)Onsen hot air baths
People lie downin on a place where the ground heated by Onsen. This “bedrock bath" in Tamagawa Onsen in Akita Prefecture, and "Ondol" in Goshogake Onsen in Akita Prefecture are well known. It is effective for back pain and neuralgia.
It is a way to exercise in Onsen as do in a hot spring pool. People can enjoy the effect from full body bathing and exercise at the same time.