In the Japanese tradition, it is customary to take a warm yuzu bath to bring good luck and good health, and help to ward off colds, soothe the skin, and relax the mind. It’s a time of celebration, known as “Toji,” during the winter solstice. Many public baths and hot springs add fresh yuzu fruit, known for its healing properties, into the water to encourage restorative benefits. Creating your yuzu bath at home can rejuvenate your mind and body while forging a refreshing escape. The best part is – you can do this anytime at home, no matter the season. Talk about a good self-care Sunday plan.
What is Yuzu?
Yuzu is a citrus fruit (similar to a lemon) native to Eastern Asia and prized in Japan for its tart taste and intoxicating scent (a combination of floral and bracing citrus). Yuzu’s bumpy, yellow rind is often used in Japanese cooking, and its aromatic oil perfumes everything from candies to cosmetics.
Yuzu extract also has supercharged skincare benefits. It’s packed with immune-boosting, skin-brightening vitamin C (three times more than lemons!) and antioxidant phytochemicals to help fight inflammation and prevent free radical damage. Another natural component of yuzu extract is “nomilin,” which promotes healthy blood circulation to nourish the skin.
The healthy benefits of baths
Bathing is considered a meditative experience that cleans the body and the spirit in Japan. Soaking in an “onsen,” a hot spring bath, is an unhurried ritual of relaxation and peace. “Water has been in used in many different cultures around the world to bless and purify, and it is an amazing healing element for the mind and body,” says Deborah Hanekamp, a New York-based wellness expert, author of the book Ritual Baths: Be Your Own Healer. “On a physical level, a warm, soothing bath encourages muscles and joints to relax and helps reduce pain and inflammation. A bath also allows us to have a few moments of calm and clarity, connecting us to our intuition and emotion.”
The scent of yuzu to calm and revitalize
“Aromatherapy is a beautiful way to tap into the senses and connect you to the present moment,” says Hanekamp. “Yuzu has an invigorating and activating energy that’s uplifting and encourages clarity and creativity.” Yuzu has also been found to reduce anxiety, and in one study, the refreshing citrus scent of yuzu helped alleviate emotional stress. Since yuzu fruit is very rare in the US, your best bet is to use skincare products that contain the beautifully invigorating scent. (The MyKirei by KAO Pampering Yuzu Foam Body Wash and Foam Body Wash Refill are perfect for a heavenly bath, well, because yuzu).
How you can create a yuzu bath at home
Start by eliminating distractions. “It’s the intention that elevates a simple bath to a luxurious healing experience,” says Hanekamp, “so think of your bath time as a ritual and pay it the respect it deserves.” Since this is your time of relaxation, put the phone in another room (you don’t want to drop it in the bathtub anyway!).
“Beautify your space by making sure the bathroom is tidy and clean.” Get the kids’ toys out of the tub, dim the lights and light a candle, and have your bath ingredients ready.
Draw a bath at a warm temperature (not too hot!) that’s comfortable for you. Hanekamp recommends adding Epsom or Himalayan pink salt into the water to relieve muscle tension and stress. The minerals in salt, such as magnesium, also have detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties.
“Now, soak for at least 20 minutes, focusing on your breath and connecting to the soothing elements.” Luxuriate in the warmth of the water and the scent of yuzu, and simply be in this moment. Serenity now!
Variation in major antioxidants and total antioxidant activity of yuzu. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15366841/
Effects of aromatherapy on anxiety and sleep quality of patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3588400/
Aromatic effects of Japanese yuzu on psycho-emotional states and autonomic nervous system activity. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27103942/