An Introduction to Japanese Ofuro Bathtubs

Ofuro bathtubs are a Japanese invention built on an entirely different principle than the standard bathtub that we are used to in the West. While the Western tub is built in a rectangular shape, meant to be used while lying down, the Japanese bathtub is built to be very tall and deep. This particular shape forces you to bathe while sitting up which can be a drastic change from bathing while lying down. While some are enjoying this type of tub as it was originally intended, it is also being used to inspire other soaking tubs that are more compatible with the Western lifestyle.

In order to truly appreciate these Ofuro bathtubs, a little history is in order. The original Ofuro was designed in order to help the Japanese workers rejuvenate their bodies after coming in from the cold. Therefore they were typically not used for washing the body, but instead for soaking in the very hot water. This soothes the muscles, allowing them to relax and also warms up the body. Because these tubs weren’t used for washing, the Japanese would typically shower off before even getting in the tub. This allowed the water to be used more than once.

These days Ofuro bathtubs aren’t used for the same purposes, at least not outside of Japan. Instead they have been adapted to be used more like a conventional Western tub, or at the very least a hot tub. Although some models are still made out of wood, they are usually found made from more modern materials such as acrylic and fiberglass.

As an added bonus, many of the modern western models are built with special features such as temperature controlled water, remote control, Whirlpool jets, and automatic filling and draining. Because they are meant to be enjoyed while sitting up, they feature built in seats in order to be more comfortable.

If you are looking for authentic Ofuro bathtubs, you probably will have to pay a great deal to have one imported into the country. However, there are plenty of companies in other parts of the world that manufacture tubs that are based on this style that are much more affordable.

It is entirely up to you how you would like to enjoy your tub. You may desire to use it in the way it was originally intended with extra hot and deep water, or shallow water that is milder. The choice is entirely up to you. Regardless, these tubs offer a bathing experience that is much different than what we are accustomed to, and that makes them exotic and exciting. Even so, there are health benefits to taking long soaks in hot water that you will reap as well by using these tubs.

Health Benefits of Ofuro Bathtubs

  • Hydrotherapy is a great way for treating aches and pains in your joints, knees, back and is also good for relieving tension in your muscles. A long deep soak is also perfect after a hard work out, it will ease muscle tension and stiffness.
  • It is also claimed by the National Sleep Foundation that a 30 minute soak in a warm tub before you go to bed can create a more deeper and restful sleep.
  • Doctors are even recommending long soaks in hot water to help with arthritis, respiratory ailments, tension headaches, digestive illnesses, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and even fatigue.

Hinoki Tub Benefits

The Hinoki wood oil is very therapeutic as it contains many minerals and essentials oils, one of them being Thiol. Thoil can be found in many items such as soaps, perfumes, antiseptics and treatments for hair. Hinoki wood oil is also to treat injuries and skin irritations as it has many antibacterial and antifungus properties. It is also good to have hot water in your Hinoki Ofuro tub because the inhalation of the Hinoki oils is good for congested respiratory system and has also been known to help with asthma.

Materials

Ofuro bathtubs are made from the traditional Hinoki wood. Hinoki which is also known as Japanese Cypress is a high quality wood from Japan and is a preferred choice for a number of reasons:

  • It contains natural antibacterial agents so it is resistant to mold.
  • It does not give in to humidity and therefore is not acceptable to rotting and will last for many years. Japanese structures that are made from Hinoki wood have lasted thousands of years.
  • The Hinoki trees grow high and straight, making it ideal and easy to use for construction.
  • It has a high strength and resistance level .

Bathtub Dimensions

Ofuro bathtubs come in many standard sizes, and a great advantage of them being made from wood is that they can be customised to any size you need, be it you have a small bathroom or a large bathroom. Some standard sizes include: (Inches)
Ofuro Bathtubs
35.50L x 27.50W x 27H
39.50L x 27.50W x 27H
43.50L x 29.50W x 27H
47L x 29.50W x 26H
51L x 29.50W x 26H
55L x 29.50W x 26H
59L x 29.50W x 24.50H
71L x 39.50W x 24.50H

Installation Method

  • If the bathtub is not going to be placed on the ground floor then it is adviced to lay down some waterproofing as a precautionary measure, the water proofing should be on the floor where the bathtub will lay and the sides of the wall where the bathtub will lie against if applicable. The waterproofing should also be about a foot above the bathtub.
  • The bathtub is usually delivered in one piece and it will be ready for installation. It is recommended that the new Ofuro bathtub be left on site for at least a day to get used to the humidity and temperature of the area you stay, this is not a must.
  • When installing the Ofuro bathtub against walls or in a small spot it is recommended you fit it tightly against the walls as this will offer added support when filling the bathtub up with water.
  • Once the bathtub is installed, you do not have to worry about caulking the tub, it is up to you if you want to have it sealed.
  • Most people prefer to have a wall mounted faucet system with these bathtubs as it is easier to have it installed with minimal problems with plumbing pipes.

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