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Natural Oasis: Soaking in Hinoki Tubs for Anti-Aging and Rejuvination

Updated on February 28, 2010

The Scent of Wood

When was the last time you were in a forest and could actually smell the fresh aromatic scent of wood? Most of us, probably can’t remember. It’s unfortunate that our modern lives take us further and further away from simple yet priceless gifts of nature like the smell of fresh wood. Our homes are now made of concrete, our bathrooms of fiberglass, our kitchens of metal and plastic, and only if we’re lucky we have varnished wooden floors. It’s no wonder that while we scurry around in our artificial bubble our minds and our bodies take the biggest toll.

When most imagine snapshots from Japan, blazing lights and concrete monstrosities come to mind. Amidst the fast paced lifestyle predicated on early morning rush hour, energy drinks, and 10 minute meals from the local convenience store, the Japanese have a cultural history of requiring some sort of balance in their lives. While some take up gardening or hiking on the weekends, most resort to an evening soak where the magical properties of wood and water reconnect them with nature.

smoothing out each plank by hand
smoothing out each plank by hand
planks of hinoki
planks of hinoki
an installed hinoki tub
an installed hinoki tub
knotty wood (L) and straight hiba (R)
knotty wood (L) and straight hiba (R)

The Magic of Hinoki

It seems that wooden bathtubs are not uncommon these days, there are a slew of websites that sell a wooden bathtubs attempting to replicate the traditional Japanese experience, while others try to blend the east and west with modern features like therapeutic jets, but in reality, modern features may be exciting at first, but they do not compare with the wholesome, natural experience of the Japanese tub, and the main reason wood, Hinoki, the wood of fire to be more precise.

Hinoki, (Chamecyparis obtusa), native to Japan, was the wood chosen by emperors. Osaka castle (built in the mid 1500s and still standing today) was built out of Hinoki because of its prized characteristics of durability, its natural resistance to insects and rot and for the unique lemon-like scent it emanates. Hinoki is also a “pure” wood, it doesn’t fair well in polluted urban areas, so it is a product of Japan’s fresh mountain water and clean air. Similar cedars do exist in Europe and North America but for the kind of experience we are looking to accomplish, original is best. I also feel compelled to point out that teak or mahogany, while exotic sounding, do not have the characteristics to last as a soaking tub, and you are bound to face difficulties, and not to mention be losing out on the Japanese experience.

Unlike oils from other evergreens that tend to cause skin irritations, the essential oils that originate from Hinoki are used to treat skin irritations and injuries. The scents emitted from the oil have a decongestant effect on the respiratory system and is widely used in aromatherapy. Pair the healing properties of Hinoki with recent studies that show how negatively charged ions present in active water like waterfalls, also found in heated bath water, “scrub off” magnetic tensions and free radicals from the skin, resulting in an anti-aging effect, and thus, we unleash the secrets behind why soaking in a tub the Japanese way is not only beneficial but also reconnects us with nature.

The Japanese take pride in authenticity for good reason, if its made in Japan, its somehow different. While some of you might roll your eyes, I think there is some truth in that statement. If anyone has every visited Japan you will understand what I mean when I say the Japanese take attention and care to whole new level. From corner stationary stores to major department stores, quality and presentation is of high importance to the Japanese and is never compromised. Add to this the romantic notion of a handmade (the tub must always be handmade) Hinoki wood tub created with traditional ship building techniques, and we have a perfect natural oasis where one can escape the noise and pollution of city life.

If you are looking for a true therapeutic Japanese experience then it doesn’t get better than soaking, not bathing, in a Hinoki tub made in Japan. And you won’t miss additional fancy modern features, because none of those will compare to the natural lemon scented sanctuary you have created in your home.

Purchase your own handmade hinoki bathtub here with the convenience of paypal.

Purchase hinoki bathtub accessories here with the convenience of paypal.

Each plank is hand cut
Each plank is hand cut
The planks are joined together with ship building techniques
The planks are joined together with ship building techniques
A complete set with floor panels and accessories
A complete set with floor panels and accessories
A built in bench
A built in bench
Oval shaped tubs good for two people
Oval shaped tubs good for two people
An installed tub
An installed tub

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