History of Sand Bathing
Gaining popularity in recent years, sand baths can now be found in spas stretching from the Middle East to Europe and Asia. According to SpaFinder’s 2015 report “Top 10 Global Spa & Wellness Trends”, sand bathing represents a leading emerging trend that is increasingly gaining traction globally.
However, most spas boasting “sand therapies” (and especially those found in the U.S.) use individual sand massage tables rather than providing the authentic experience that SoJo is offering of a sand bath where guests are covered communally. In-keeping with SoJo’s efforts to bring compelling spa treatments from around the world to the tristate area, SoJo has recreated the treatment as closely as possible to how it is experienced in Ibusuki – without the adjacent volcano.
From Ibusuki to Edgewater
SoJo is the only spa outside Japan to offer a treatment using the naturally occurring volcanic sand from Ibusuki. The treatment is provided within a designated 1,200 square feet open air space on the 6th floor of the spa, enclosed so that it can be offered year-round.
Remaining true to the original experience as it is offered at Hakusuikan spa, guests don the traditional Japanese yukata (cotton robe) before they are covered in sand by an attendant. A wooden head rest is provided to help keep errant sand and the surrounding heat from the head. Once guests are completely covered, they are given a parasol to shield their faces from any incoming sun, and provide a greater sense of privacy while they relax in the sand for the next 10-15 minutes.
After the session, guests may enjoy a post-sand soak in one of SoJo’s many therapeutic baths, as they would in the adjacent hot springs found in Ibusuki.
How to Experience It Yourself
The new treatment can be experienced by any SoJo guest for $20 per session, added on to Daily Admission which provides unlimited access to all baths, pools and saunas for the day. Guests can sign up on a first come first serve basis for a same-day volcanic sand bath session between noon and 6 pm daily. Sign up begins at 11 AM on the weekdays and 10 AM on the weekends.
Benefits of Volcanic Sand Bathing
Because sand has high heat capacity and low thermal conductivity, it uniquely warms the body gradually and uniformly. At the same time, the sand wicks moisture away, preventing overheating. The treatment is thought to help relieve musculoskeletal pain and stiffness, as well as benefiting the skin and assisting the metabolism. Like a sauna or steam room, the process of sweating in the heat detoxifies the body, while the alkalinity of the mineral-rich volcanic sand itself amplifies the cleansing properties.