Koreans take their skincare seriously and with the recent popularity of ‘K-Beauty’ across the world it seems plenty of us are subscribing to their methods. The ban-shin-yok, or Korean half bath, is a technique in the Korean skincare toolbox that we can easily try out at home. As a great way to induce deep relaxation before bed and reduce those feelings of anxiety we’ve all been experiencing lately, we suggest giving this a go one evening by setting up a mini at home spa.
What is a Korean Half Bath?
Basically, it’s a hot bath that is only filled halfway up, so that the water just reaches your bellybutton. The upper body, including your hands and arms, do not get wet at any point. You should aim to stay in the bath for around 45 minutes, but if this proves too much for you, 20-30 minutes will also be beneficial.
What Does it do?
In Korean beauty, circulation is everything. Traditional bathing has a host of benefits including boosting blood circulation, decongesting the sinuses, easing muscle and joint aches, and inducing sleep. The Korean half bath goes a step further by aiding the body’s digestive and detoxifying process as it raises your core temperature more than a traditional bath. Immersing just your lower body in a hot bath helps boost blood flow (which carries vital oxygen and nutrients to the skin and cells) due to the contrasting temperature difference between the top and bottom halves of your body. The increase in blood circulation helps release muscular tension, aids detoxification by removing impurities, and also calms the nervous system. All of this contributes to giving your skin a healthy glow from within.
Creating the Ultimate Korean Half Bath Experience at Home
This is going to be a sweat sesh so hydration is important. Make a big pitcher of cold cucumber water to have beside the bath, and down a big glass before you begin.
Set the Mood
To create a real spa feeling diffuse some essential oils in the bathroom, or if you don’t have a diffuser, light a favourite scented candle. Lavender is great for relaxation or try some eucalyptus for to open the airways and feel the stress melt away. We source all of our certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils from E-Oil Alchemy.
Dry Body Brush
Before we begin, we like to give the body a good once over with a dry body brush to kickstart circulation and assist blood flow to the organs, while stimulating the adrenal glands and lymph. The best dry body brushes we’ve come across are made with Mexican Tampico fibres and can be purchased here on the island from Dynamic Detox.
Prepare the bath
Fill the bathtub to just under halfway with water as hot as you can comfortably manage sitting in. To enhance the experience and detoxification add in a cup of mineral rich Epsom Salts along with a few drops of your essential oils. Grab a good book to keep you occupied while you’re bathing.
Hop into the bath ensuring only your lower half up to your belly button is covered with water. Try to refrain from dipping your hands or arms into the water (here’s where your book comes in handy to keep your hands busy). After about 10 minutes your upper body will start sweating profusely. Try and stay in the bath for at least 20 minutes, preferably 45.
Once your half bath session is finished, take a cool shower and drink a big glass of your water. You should now feel tired yet relaxed, like you’ve just done a Hot Yoga class. At this point we like to dry off, slather ourselves in gorgeous natural skincare products from Ambergris Parlour, and hop into bed for a beautiful restful sleep. Bliss!
* If you’re pregnant or have a medical/heart condition, please be check with your doctor before trying the Korean Half Bath technique.