Ganbanyoku: Japanese Style Hot Stone Therapy | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Ganbanyoku: Japanese Style Hot Stone Therapy

By Sonam Midha May 13, 2023

Last month, when I was feeling super cold in the streets of Tokyo at night and was looking for something new and different to try other than onsen and something less suffocating than sauna, my Japanese friend recommended me to try “ganbanyoku” and introduced me to its therapeutic powers.

That was the first time I heard about it, and now I can’t wait to go there on every single trip to Tokyo as it is a wonderful way to stay warm and rejuvenated and has various overall health benefits. 

What Is Ganbanyoku?

a woman enjoying ganbanyoku

Image credits: Canva

In one sentence, it is “an experience of simply lying down and letting nature do its work.”

Ganbanyoku is a Hot stone therapy in Japan which involves you lying on hot stones of Silica or Granite heated between 40ºC to 50ºC. The room for this bedrock bathing comes in various shapes and sizes, but the basic mechanism is the same everywhere. Your body is bathed in negative ions and far infrared rays where they do their magic. In ganbanyoku, you wear comfortable, lightweight clothes provided to prevent direct contact with the heated surface and lie down on the rock on top of a towel.

Ganbanyoku is different from onsen because in hot stone spa no water is involved except the sweat from the body. As it is so hot and the body is continuously losing water, it is recommended you cool down by drinking water and leaving the room every 20-25 minutes or whenever you feel profound sweating. You can repeat the process for 3-5 cycles in one session or as many times as you feel comfortable.

How Does It Work

The far infrared penetrates deep into the skin surface and starts vibrational resonance by stimulating the water molecules. It helps in improving blood circulation and metabolism. Negative Ions help in reducing stress by generating biochemical reactions in the body.

You can enjoy the ganbanyoku with your friends of both genders as there are various mixed-sex bedrock baths available, unlike onsen in Japan. And you can always talk to them during short breaks with a cup of water. After the bedrock bathing, you can feel a distinctive change in your body! You might feel more energized and relaxed with glowing skin.

Benefits of Ganbanyoku

There are several benefits of Ganbanyoku except for the obvious total heavenly relaxation.

It is very good for de-stressing after a long week at work, and for giving your skin a boost. The infrared rays reach deeply into your skin to the cellular level causing dilation of blood capillaries and promoting cell regeneration by increasing the metabolism between tissues and blood.

It is also claimed that hot bed rocks are good for improving circulation, weight loss, lower cholesterol and detoxification of the body by expelling metabolic waste. It is good for the skin as it boosts collagen and elastin production and is great for muscle relaxation. It also helps in regulating the autonomic nervous system and gives a sense of overall well-being.

How to Maximize the Benefits 

a woman in a sauna

Image credit: Canva

When lying down on the bedrock (facing up or down), we suggest you keep rotating in intervals to get exposure to infrared rays in your complete body. Also, don’t forget to drink lots of water during break times, especially before entering the room.

It is recommended you let your skin dry by itself without rubbing it with a towel, as most of the sweat is already absorbed by the ganbanyoku clothes. 

Also, don’t take a shower after bedrock bathing for at least two hours, and if you have to then try to avoid soaps and perfumes. It will help in maximizing the effect on your skin, and you will feel refreshed and rejuvenated the following day.

Things to Keep In Mind Before Ganbanyoku

Please don’t push yourself in any way. Always keep in mind that you went there to relax your body and mind. So, consider leaving the room and taking a water break to cool down from time to time if you ever feel suffocated and overwhelmed. Bedrock bathing is not recommended to people suffering from fever, flu or issues like high blood pressure, and don’t go if you are pregnant. Also, please don’t compromise with the clothes and towel sheets. Always wear the provided clothes for your comfort and hygiene. 

We are so excited to hear your ganbanyoku stories. Please send this article to the friends and family you want to try it with, and don’t forget to read more such amazing recommendations and ideas about everything Japanese on our website. You can start by choosing from the related articles below.

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