Japanese soaking tub, also known as ofuro is an age-old traditional bathing technique of Japan. For the Japanese, bathing is not just a daily-routine task rather an experience of sheer pleasure. They take their own time to submerge in the blissful experience of relaxation. The “o” in ofuro denotes a mark of respect for this ritual. These soaking tubs are found in almost every house of Japan.
Traditional Japanese soaking tubs were made of Hinoki cypress wood. The aromatic cypress is believed to have healing properties. Due to its widespread popularity, it is now made using varied materials like copper, stone, cedar, steel etc. These tubs are available in wide-ranging sizes; from single person bath to larger sizes meant for accommodating more people.
These tubs have a depth that is enough to submerge an adult in water upto the shoulders. It takes less space as compared to the conventional bathtub. Another interesting fact about ofuro is people of Japan do not take a bath in it. They shower and clean their body first and then enter the ofuro. It is meant for relaxation purposes only. The Japanese love to keep the water of the ofuro warm or at times hot. Often, the temperature of the bath can almost reach 45°C. As people scrub themselves before entering the tub, the water in it remains clean. They do not necessarily drain the water and usually recycle it in washing machine. The Japanese soaking tubs are now no more confined within Japan rather have become increasingly popular all over the world.
Pregnancy is the most crucial phase of a woman’s life. Pregnant women need to take utmost care of their health. It is essential for them to stay in a stress-free condition to ensure a sound health of their baby. One of the best ways for them to relax is the ofuro. It has a myriad of benefits over their health. Here is a compilation of 11 health benefits of Japanese soaking tubs for pregnant women.
Japanese Soaking Tubs for Pregnant Women: 11 Health Benefits
It is obvious for women to face stress and anxiety during pregnancy. They tend to deal with turmoil of emotions in this period. When submerged in the Japanese soaking tub, the body can relax easily feeling weightlessness. The body becomes free from the effects of gravity. The warm water at a constant temperature releases endorphins that are responsible for easing the tense muscles. These hormones produce a feeling of euphoria and remove all kinds of pain.
Affirms cardiovascular health
Research has proved that water is a natural healer. Soaking in warm water gives the body an automatic cardiovascular workout. This is similar to exercise without any undue effort. Hence, Japanese soaking tubs help pregnant women ensure a healthy heart.
Expands blood vessels
The warm water in the soaking tub increases the heart rate of the pregnant women. This further leads to widening of blood vessels, known as vasodilation. The dilated blood vessels enhance blood flow in the body without raising blood pressure.
Improves blood circulation
The ofuro helps in improving blood circulation of the body.
This is vital for pregnant women as improved blood circulation promotes cell growth and organ function. It also ascertains a healthy skin, free from infections and bacteria. It cures almost all types of skin irritation and acts as an anti-aging treatment.
The depth of the soaking tub helps in keeping the water warm for a longer period of time. Taking deep breath inside the steam eases breathing and helps during nasal congestion. It is an effective treatment for cold and flu as well. The warm feeling in the tub is useful for pregnant women in cold weather and winter season.
It is not a good practice for pregnant women to take lot of medicines. It may affect the health of their little one. Small problems like headache can be treated without medicines using ofuro. A good circulation of blood and oxygen relieves the brain and treats headaches effectively.
Accelerates healing processes
The improved blood circulation in the body increases the healing processes. It repairs the cells that are not working properly.
Japanese soaking tubs can enhance the well-being of a would-be mother through detoxification. Soaking in these tubs stimulate sweating and flush out toxic agents from the body. This detoxifies the body from the toxins that could harm the health.
Cures aching joints and back pain
According to Arthritis Foundation, hydrotherapy is one of the best ways to treat arthritis. The warmth of the water and its buoyancy makes it the best treatment for arthritis pain. Regular relaxation in the soaking tub can be extremely therapeutic for pregnant ladies facing arthritis problem. The strain in joints and back aches reduce to a great extent through ofuro. It cures sore muscles as well.
Heat from the ofuro penetrates into the skin and further warms up the muscles and bones. Due to slight warmth received by the bone marrow, it produces more white corpuscles in the blood system. White corpuscles are the essence of body’s immune system. They help in destroying foreign invaders, thus boosting immunity of the body.
Relaxes internal organs
The warm temperature of ofuro releases endorphins and eases the tensed muscles. It also stimulates nerves along the spinal cord and calms the endocrine system. It relaxes the internal organs and is a tremendously potent therapy for pregnant women.
These are just some of the wonderful health benefits of ofuro. The list of benefits is never ending. It can even help in providing a better sound sleep at night. The warm ofuro produces melatonin or the sleeping hormone that instills quality slumber. To put it briefly, it proves to be a wonderful therapy for pregnancy. Pregnant women should install these Japanese soaking tubs in their home. It is relatively inexpensive and almost maintenance free. But before using the tub, they must take certain precautionary measures. They must wear loose fitting clothes while entering the tub. They ought to check the temperature of the water first and must ensure that it is not hot. These precautions will safeguard their health and immerse them in the blissful experience of ofuro.