DIY ‘Japanese Forest Bathing’ Bath Salt Soak

While we can work wonders with topical natural beauty products, the most effective beauty routines work from the inside out. It’s been proven over and over that stress negatively influences not just our mental well-being, but our body’s overall health as well.

When our stress levels rise, we see an increase of something called ‘cortisol’ in our blood. Cortisol messes with the way our body functions and negatively affects everything from our digestion to our complexion. So taking time to alleviate and eliminate stress is just as important as choosing the right soap or serum.

One highly effective (and ancient) method of stress reduction that has been getting a lot of attention recently is the Japanese ritual of “forest bathing”. Also called “Shinrin-yoku” (from the Japanese shinrin= “forest”, yoku=”bath”), this practice is named for seeking out a natural environment and taking it in with all our senses.

Don’t you feel calmer already just *picturing* sitting in or walking through a peaceful, natural setting? Connecting to nature is one of the most effective ways to immediately reduce stress by bridging the gap between our hurried, technology-filled modern lives and our most natural, human state.

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.

John Burroughs

However amazing it would be to have 24/7 access to a beautiful peaceful forest, sometimes that’s not always possible. But, you can get some of the same stress-reduction benefits with an aromatherapy bath soak. Even if you don’t have a bathtub, you can still get benefits by using these salts in a simple foot bath.

How our ‘Japanese Forest Bathing’ Bath Soak works:

By using the impactful art of aromatherapy and combining it with stress-reducing Epsom salts, this soak allows you to let go and tap into the same feeling of natural relaxation that forest bathing brings. The combination of salts and warm water work to dilate the blood vessels, promote blood flow, physically helping sore and tightened muscles to relax. The fragrant essential oils add additional calming benefits, surrounding you with the healing scents of nature.

An important note on water temperature: make sure your bath soak is comfortably warm but not too hot. Water that is over-heated can dry out the skin and place stress on our system. If you have extremely sensitive skin, keep the water temperature even lower, only a few degrees above body temperature.

At a glance:

Type:
Bath Salts

Level:
Intermediate: ingredients can be found at specialty stores or online

Benefits:
Great to find peace and tranquility

All natural?
Yes, absolutely 

Shelf life:
Around a year

About the Ingredients:

Epsom salts

Epsom salts are a natural compound of magnesium and sulfate, this bath product eases muscle pain and promotes blood circulation.

Sea Salts

These extra special salts contain nourishing essential minerals such as Magnesium, Bromide, Iodine, Potassium, Sulfur, Calcium, Sodium and Zinc and many more.

These are some of my favorite sea salts from the San Fransisco Salt Company.

Baking soda

Baking soda is said to enhance the benefits of sea salts, boost circulation, and help with a number of conditions including yeast infections, eczema, psoriasis, and UTIs.

Mandarin Essential Oil

This oil smells exactly like the sweet mandarin fruit. It is calming yet uplifting, soothing, and gentle. It helps improve general circulation and aids elimination of excess fluid.

Cedarwood Essential Oil

Cedarwood oil is the key ingredient to activating the whole “forest bathing” experience. Besides smelling like the forest after a rain, cedarwood oil is thought to help us tap into depth and meaning when we are feeling a bit lost or confused. For those that believe in the energetic properties of plants, I’ve heard them say they feel the wisdom and clarity of the tree being infused into their energy.

If cedarwood isn’t available, you may substitute for frankincense for more peppery aroma.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus is slightly camphorous and a great anti-inflammatory. The fragrance is said to help provide clarity and help when you need support speaking the truth.

In general, aromatherapy full-body baths are used to:

  • Reduce stress/anxiety
  • Alleviate muscular aches, pains, and tension
  • Soothe mental or physical fatigue
  • Stimulate circulation
  • Enhance lymph circulation
  • Reduce pain and stiffness
  • Increase local circulation
  • Improve the tone and health of skin
  • Aid detoxification

For more info, see our post on The Science of Aromatherapy.

DIY Forest Bathing Soak Benefits:

This type of recipe is virtually foolproof (read: perfect for the type of person who doesn’t like to measure!). You can also use whatever type of salt you prefer. My only advice would be to avoid adding more than 15 drops of essential oil per one cup of salt mixture. Other than that, you can experiment to your heart’s content!

So pretty much you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by mixing up your own version of this deliciously fragrant DIY recipe and keeping these bath salts on hand for a relaxing soak.

 

Botaneri “LEVEL UP” TIP:
Bring a wireless speaker or put your phone in a cup to amplify the sound into the bathroom. You can find a track of forest sounds, or you can click the link below for a great Spotify playlist called “Japanese Meditation”.

 

Did you try this relaxing Japanese Forest bathing soak? Did you do anything extra to enhance the experience? Tell us in the comments!

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Japanese "Forest Bathing" Bath Soak

One highly effective (and ancient) method of stress reduction that has been getting a lot of attention recently is the Japanese ritual of “forest bathing”. Also called “Shinrin-yoku” (from the Japanese shinrin= “forest”, yoku=”bath”), this practice is named for seeking out a natural environment and taking it in with all our senses.

Don’t you feel calmer already just *picturing* sitting in or walking through a peaceful, natural setting? Connecting to nature is one of the most effective ways to immediately reduce stress by bridging the gap between our hurried, technology-filled modern lives and our most natural, human state. 

Keyword Relaxation, Stress relief
Type Bath Soak
Level Intermediate
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Amount 2
Author Drew @ Botaneri

Ingredients

Salts

  • 1/2 cup epsom salts
  • 1/4 cup sea salts
  • 1/4 cup baking soda

Essential oil blend

  • 6 drops Mandarin essential oil
  • 3 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
  • 3 drops Cedarwood essential oil

Instructions

  1. In a bowl or beaker, add salts and baking soda. Mix well. 

  2. Add essential oils. 

  3. Pour into a container to save for later or directly into the bathtub or foot bath to melt the stress of the day away.

Recipe Notes

Bring a wireless speaker or put your phone in a cup to amplify the sound into the bathroom. You can find a track of forest sounds, or you can click the link below for a great Spotify playlist called “Japanese Meditation”.

Did you try this relaxing Japanese Forest bathing soak? Did you do anything extra to enhance the experience? Tell us in the comments!

 

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Let us help take the mystery out of customized, natural skincare you can make right at home. We created a free guide to share the basics of DIY beauty you can create in your kitchen.

About the author

I’m Drew, creator of Botaneri and an artisanal skincare formulator and certified aromatherapist who is here to help take the mystery out of DIY natural beauty. I started creating my own plant-based skin and body care products at home to deal with my own skin issues.

What I love most is helping people create luxurious and effective self-care products right in their own kitchens. It’s a lot easier than you think. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you.