For my birthday this year, my partner surprised me with a two-hour massage at the spa. When I emerged from the treatment room that day, I felt as though I had been reborn: I was a much calmer, refreshed version of myself. And let me tell you, I never thought I would experience that level of relaxation ever again. But then I was introduced to Japanese bathing.
Unlike American bathing, which tends to be quicker and more focused on the colors, glitter, or scents of a bath bomb, a Japanese bath is a meditative practice. The lengthy process is similar to the Russian and Korean methods of bathing, in that they are extensive, but with the sole intent to make you calm TF down. And for all you bath haters who can't stand the thought of sitting in your own filth, this practice has multiple steps, including one that requires you wash your body before sitting in the tub.
To fully reap the benefits of my first Japanese bathing ritual, I tested out Amayori Hinoki Onsen Ritual Sets, a newly launched kit of four full-sized products. You begin by setting the tone of the room with an Aromatic Sake Mist — my absolute favorite scent of the set. It smells like dessert sake: sweet yet earthy. Then, it's time for the cleansing: You take a short shower with the Aromatic Body Wash and included cloth.
For the finale, you draw a bath with a capful of the Silk Gauze Shiso Bath Oil. The elixir produces a woody, Jasmine scent that somehow made it physically easier for me to take longer, paced breaths. During this time, you can listen to music, close your eyes, or practice a bit of mindful meditation. I did all three, and in the end, I felt 10x calmer than I ever thought possible. Even better, it came without the hefty price tag of a two-hour massage.
I always thought of myself as a bit of a bath enthusiast. But Japanese bathing, and this set from Amayori, has single-handedly changed my opinion on what a good soak feels like — and I don't think I'll ever go back.
Amayori Hinoki Onsen Japanese Bathing Ritual Set, $170, available at Amayori.
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