“Arima Spa in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture is one of the oldest and best hot spring spa in Japan.
Arima hot springs are natural ones that have been used since ancient times.
Arima hot springs are rare worldwide ones containing lots of minerals and natural ingredients. There are 7 ingredients, except sulfur spring and acid spring, out of 9 main ingredients (simple hot spring water, carbon dioxide spring water, hydrogen carbonate spring water, chloride water, sulfate water, ferruginous water, sulfur water, acid water, and radioactive water) designated as ones to be included for medical treatment.”
Leaving aside the acid water and the radioactive water (!) – let’s consider something that’s simply not mentioned on the Arima onsen website – namely, the non-physical benefits of the onsen experience.
It’s incredible that nothing is said at all on the website about the relaxation and the de-stressing effects of spending time in spa baths. How can that be? Has it just been overlooked? Has it just been taken for granted, as something so obvious it’s not worth mentioning? Or is it culturally unacceptable to suggest that one might be feeling mentally and emotionally stressed and therefore in need of relaxation?
The use of hot springs in Japan and elsewhere is an ancient part of the culture and one that’s known to be highly beneficial in terms of overall physical and mental wellbeing.
Neither should we overlook the spiritual benefits of onsen. After all, what else is there to do as you lie back in the hot water (or sit in a sauna, or stand under a shower) than lose yourself in your own thoughts, to consider the fact that you’re thinking those particular thoughts, reflect on why those thoughts are uppermost in your consciousness . . . and eventually let go of those thoughts as your mind relaxes and empties itself out into a state of supreme wellbeing. You become conscious of how good it feels to be sitting or lying in hot water, not having to do or say anything – taking a break from a busy life, responsibilities, endless tasks, endless worries . . .
Effectively you enter a state of calmness and meditation – which can also occur whilst taking a walk, or riding a bike, or just sitting quietly, doing nothing. There are lots of ways to meditate. But for most of us this seems like a luxury we can hardly afford – as described in the previous blog. Shortage of time – to relax, to rest, to do the things we most enjoy, to meditate . . .
The essence of Zen is meditation.