February 22, 2003

Rice isn't just for eating

Here is my mom buried in rice. She introduced me to this AMAZING experience. It's a wooden box full of the outer layer of rice mixed in with special bacteria that does what bacteria does and produces major heat. You basically strip down and get covered in this stuff for 15 minutes...and that must be the maximum because when you get out, your body is jeeeellllooooo. The rice and bacteria combined with the heat open your pores, suck out bad stuff, and infuse you with good stuff (minerals?). Sorry I can't be more specific, but there's something phenomenal going on: you get heated to the core in a very different way than a hot bath.

Apparently it's good for a variety of ailments. The place was packed with both the young and old, male and female. Some people go twice a day and have purchased the 'super discount deal' which costs a million yen for a bunch of tickets at 1,000 yen. The usual price is 2,500.

Posted by Mie at February 22, 2003 04:55 PM

where can you do that? tokyo? saitama? or what's it called in japanese?

Posted by: jd at February 23, 2003 12:45 PM

Mie says it is called kome nuka. I think she told me once that it's all over Japan now, not just Tokyo.

Posted by: Dav at February 23, 2003 02:47 PM

Rich Gibson posted a link over at boingboing to a spa 1.5 hours north of San Francisco that offers this same service (called an enzyme bath). Now I don't have to wait for my next trip to Japan!

That site also mentions that there's an enzyme bath in Japan that's the size of a football field and fits 100 people at a time...

Posted by: Dav Coleman at February 24, 2003 08:51 AM

The bacteria is added to the rice? or is it some kind of rotting/fermentation process? Does it stink? It sounds intriguing, but if it smells bad, I ain't gonna :-)


Posted by: Eric/Phoenix at February 24, 2003 04:46 PM

I wonder if one could set up a home version. Seems like a good alternative to a hot tub.
Dot-com refugee facing a forecast of ten below tonight in Iowa.

Posted by: Jonathan at February 25, 2003 01:10 AM

This is my idea of heaven. It sounds even better than hot sand baths. "Calgon, take me away."

Posted by: M Sinclair Stevens at February 25, 2003 04:43 AM

Ahhh. I'm glad this perked some interest. It is quite an experience...There is a distinct smell, but I rather like it. It's NOT a rotting smell : ) The place I went to is in Tsunashima on the Toyoko line in Tokyo. There are several places elsewhere. If you are really interested, I can try and find a place close by if you let me know whereabouts you live. In terms of a home-cooked version...I don't think so. Apparently, this is special bacteria that needs an hour of care everyday - the right mixing, the right cleaning, and whatever else they have to do. The place I went to almost lost a batch and it was serious; if the bacteria dies in one tub, they have to throw it all out AND the wooden tub to start from sratch. Although these are powerful bacteria, they must be quite delicate.

It is all worth it though. Try it!

Posted by: Mie at February 25, 2003 09:51 PM

Have you ever had one of those salt water baths? You're in a big tank filled with water that is saturated with sea salt, and the temperature and the air in the tank is such that the air, water and your skin is the exact same temperature. So you can't tell where the water ends and the air begins, so it feels like you're floating. Since the water is concentrated saline, your body is much more boyant than in freshwater. The lights are out so you can't use visual cues to tell your body about the environment. They pipe in relaxing music which you've chosen earlier. So relaxing... just... so... relaxing...

Until another customer accidentally walks into my stall, and opens my tank... I'm naked... she's naked... I flounder... I get salt in my eyes... she's a woman... I'm a man... God knows what I was thinking while I was in there...

You get the idea. I don't go for those things anymore :-)

Posted by: Eric/Phoenix at February 26, 2003 08:17 PM

Haven't tried one, but heard about them. Kind of like Watsu, getting your body manipulated in body temperature water, being held by a therapist so you feel like you are floating through space. Without consciously remembering being in the womb, the Watsu experience 'brought back memories' from within my body. It was the strangest yet most intimate experience.

I do wanna try the salt thing though.

Posted by: Mie at February 27, 2003 10:40 AM

Ouch. Salt. The big onsen/playground in Hakone has a salt-water pool which sounds great until you go in and realize that you have heat rash on your back, and then you realize that there's a line-up for the showers at the exit of the pool....

Posted by: Curt Sampson at February 27, 2003 01:35 PM

We are interested in starting an enzyme bath in California. Does anyone have information on where in Japan to purchase the enzymes and learn about the process (how it works, maintenance it needs, cost, et cetera)

Posted by: Kim Lemyre at March 2, 2003 07:53 AM

Where can I purchase the items to make the enzyme bath? Is there a recipe that someone knows about? Thanks, Barbara

Posted by: Barbara at May 27, 2003 02:59 PM
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