For centuries, Japanese enjoyed the country’s thousands of outdoor hot springs, so it’s no surprise deep soaking became popular indoors, too. Relaxing in steaming neck-high water marks the end of each day for many families, a custom catching on in the West as homeowners ask their architects for spa features such as soaking tubs and wet-proofed floors to maximize bathroom space and create a haven for relaxation.
Tubs are traditionally made of Hinoki - used for centuries to build Shinto temples. Its American cousin is Port Orford Cedar, and both woods are prized for their antiseptic properties – sushi chefs use them for chopping boards. Both also release a wonderful lemon ginger scent in a cloud of relaxing steam as the tub fills. Hinoki oil is a staple of aromatherapy and some people say it helps congestion and asthma. Other popular woods are sweet-smelling Alaskan Yellow Cedar and Western Red Cedar, as well as sustainably-harvested teak, a dark wood with a neutral scent.
February 5, 2013