Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like being cold, so when I was invited to try the UK’s first Taizen bath I couldn’t say yes fast enough. For those who aren’t up on their bizarre Japanese spa treatments, a Taizen bath sees you lying buried up to the neck in a large tub of extremely hot balls of stone. Yes, that’s right it looks like something out Banzai! The combination of the heat, the sweating, and the minerals within the stones are said to tackle aches and pains, aid insomnia, detox you of chemicals (and fat) and boost skin health.
In Japan you can go to special beaches to have a similar ‘bath’ using sand, I however wasn’t going to Japan, I was going to Hove – a town close to Brighton – where the Taizen Bath is located in the Shadi Danin Medispa. In the bath room a terrifying looking steaming pool awaits you. I’m not kidding, if you’ve seen the bubbling pools in Rotorua or Iceland, that’s what it looks like – thankfully they drain/rake the water away and you’re just left with lots of hot rocks – really, really hot rocks – I was very glad I wasn’t doing this treatment in Japan as the string of words I let out when I got in would have offended the whole nation.
Once you’ve got over the shock though it settles down to be merely exceptionally toasty – and then they bury you up to the neck and leave you lying there in warm stuporforic bliss for between 9-20 minutes. I’m slightly claustrophobic so I did wonder how I’d get on, but it was fine – like lying under a really heavy duvet. And there’s someone mopping your brow with cool water which helps you chill out further. I stayed in 14 minutes before the sensation of my heart pumping really hard made me think that unless I wanted to spend the rest of my day with a headache I’d better get out.
They check “how many toxins you’ve lost” by flooding the bath with boiling water again. My health ego was boosted when it was announced that there were very few floating on the top of mine – sadly there was also very little fat so my vain hope of coming out a dress size smaller was thwarted. (NB anyone medical reading this blog: I know that to physical melt fat in a bath is probably impossible but I can dream can’t I?). I did sweat out enough fluid for my boots to slip back on nicely though. Otherwise I was seriously chilled, very pink and glowy and my permanently knotted neck had relaxed. The rest of the day I was still toasty warm and stress free, and even now two days later my face looks a healthy pink rather than grubby winter grey.
So, would I do it again – ummm, yes and no. It’s £120 for a Taizen Bath and to be perfectly honest, that’s a bit pricey as I don’t have a medical condition that might benefit from the treatment. The lovely people at Shadi Danin, apparently do sometimes have special offers though so if you just spat out your tea reading that bit, do give them a ring and see what they may have on offer now. I did love the experience and now really, really want to go to Japan and visit Beppu Volcanic Beach where you get buried in hot sand on the waterfront. Anyone want to come with?
Update: Well I still haven’t got to Beppu, but I did get to try a real Japanese sandbath in Tokyo. And it was just as snuggly as the Taizen Bath.