The concept of a rock spa is completely new to me and until I actually tried the experience, it was very difficult for me to understand the health benefits of lying on a natural hot stone could have on my body.
Although, the concept of the rock spa is fairly new in North America, it’s been practiced for generations in Japan. Rock bathing is so popular in Japan and it’s turned out to be a real spa phenomenon and it has been estimated that there are over 5000 such spas in Japan. In fact, I’ve actually heard that in Japan some of these rock bathing spas are open 24 hours a day to allow the Japanese to rejuvenate and detoxify whenever they feel the need.
I recently had the opportunity to experience rock bathing at the local Iyashi Bedrock Spa in the Yonge/Eglinton area.
>>> If you check out their web site, you’ll see photos of the rock beds: Iyashi Bedrock Spa
Before I continue, I should warn readers that once you’ve read this review you may want to find a way to book an appointment to try the Japanese rock bathing, however it’s important to know in advance that in North America there is only of these types of spas … and it’s right here in Toronto.
When I got to the spa I was told by one of the owners that I imperatively hydrate quite extensively because one session of rock bathing could actually cause me to lose as much as 2 litres of water. I’ll admit to have being a little bit skeptical about the whole concept of lying on a hot stone and losing that much bodily fluids (but quickly learned how wrong I was).
The interesting thing about the Japanese rock bathing spa is that it is completely waterless and the best way I could describe it would be a cross between your traditional sauna and steam room.
Allow me to explain: a sauna delivers dry heat and I usually find that I don’t sweat a lot when I’m in a sauna. On the other hand, a steam room is very humid because it is based on delivering hot water to detoxify your body and I usually prefer the experience of a steam room because I usually feel that the sweat is actually an indication that I am getting the benefits of a good detox. That said, it would be nearly impossible to stay in a steam room for 90 minutes without any health risks. The Japanese rock spa offers the dryness of a sauna, however you sweat as much as if you were in a steam room.
The first experience is quite surprising because you don’t know what to expect, however, you know in your mind that you should be expecting a lot!
Once you slip into your two-piece outfit, you need to follow the instructions very carefully: you must drink a lot of water. Before going into my session, I made sure to drink two glasses of water and I brought a glass with me.
Walking into the rock room is extremely calming because you find yourself in a quiet room design for relaxation and calming the mind. During my session there were only two other women enjoying our rock spa session and I quickly followed their cue.
>>> First 30-minutes rock bathing session:
I started by lying on my stomach for 15 minutes and during that time I must say that it was extremely relaxing however, I had not yet started to sweat and therefore I was doubting that I would actually get any benefit out of this experience. By the time I flipped on my back, I actually started to feel sweat pouring out of my body. As per the instructions I received, I laid on my back for about 15 minutes after which I was told to take a three-minute break outside of the rock room and hydrate thoroughly. I’ll admit that after the 30 minute session I actually did need a break and I really needed to re-hydrate. During the time that I was on my break, I realized that there was a reason why Japanese lived for such a long time and perhaps this rock bathing spa was another reason that explained their longevity.
You cannot imagine until you’ve tried it how relaxing lying on a warm stone fells against your body.
>>> Second 30-minutes rock bathing session:
The second session was really exactly the same as the first one, however this time, I was sweating all lot more. By the time I hit the one hour mark I really could feel that my body was detoxifing. I could also feel that I was extremely relaxed and there was no tension whatsoever in my body. Another thing that I noticed as well was the fact that my mind was not churning and thinking of all of the millions of things that I have to do. I found my mind quite … which is almost a rarity for me.
>>> My last 30-minutes rock bathing session:
During my last 30 minutes, I repeated the same process as I had during the first hour, however I was told that I could lie on my side as well. Lying on my side was a good experience, however I must admit that lying on my stomach and back was far more enjoyable to me.
>>> Health benefits of the black stone?
I was quite pleasantly surprised by the long list of health benefits:
* Burning calories (as much as 700 calories without lifting a finger)
“Weight loss is achieved by burning stored fat by the Metabolism “oven” and creating energy and heat until it is divided into water and carbon dioxide. Ganbanyoku burns what is normally considered non-burnable fat which is fat that contains harmful metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium. Non-burnable fat turns into burnable fat by detaching and detoxifying metals out of your body.” — Dr. Gomi MD. Gomi Clinic, Japan
* Strengthens your immune system
* Pain relief
* Increases mental energy
* Great natural anti-depressant
* Contracts negative effects of environmental pollution
* Reduces stress
There is a much more detailed explanation on the many benefits of rock bathing spa on Iyashi Bedrock Spa’s website: benefits of rock bathing
>>> Would I go back to the Iyashi Bedrock Spa?
Given that flying to Japan for a rock bathing spa session would be outrageously expensive, I would have to say that having the luxury of living in a city that offers such an incredible experience is truly a gift. I would certainly return to the Iyashi Bedrock Spa to enjoy more rock bathing sessions.
One of the things that you’ll find that is refreshing is that the sessions are fairly affordable: it will only cost you $47.50 for a 60-minute session /$59.50 for a 90 minute-session that will leave you feeling blissful and happy!
>>> Men are welcomed at the Iyashi Bedrock Spa?
Men and couples are able to enjoy a rock bathing session by taking advantage of the deluxe room which is a private room that contains fewer rock beds and allow for a setting that is perfect for men or for couples. The private room is a little bit more expensive however the experience is well worth it. At the back of the room you’ll find a relaxation area that is the perfect ending to unwind even further after 60-90 minutes of your rock bathing session.
>>> Hot yoga at the Iyashi Bedrock Spa?
This was the biggest surprise for me because I did not realize that you could actually have a hot yoga session inside a rock bathing room.The Iyashi Bedrock Spa has hired experienced yoga teachers to teach modified hot yoga classes (90-minute sessions that include 30-minute rock bathing sessions) – in other words, the hot yoga classes are done seated or lying down. I was told the experience is incredible and students love them so much that the spa had to increase its hot yoga sessions from one weekly session to five weekly sessions. If you’re interested in trying a different type of hot yoga, you’ll surely want to book a session at the Iyashi Bedrock Spa!
>>> Find out more about the Iyashi Bedrock Spa
I hope this review has motivated you to give the Iyashi Bedrock Spa a try. You’ll find much more detailed information on their website and you’ll also be able to read a lot more about the health benefits of rock bathing spa and you’ll understand why it is such an important ritual in Japan and hopefully it will become a ritual for you as well.
If you don’t live in Toronto and you have the intention of coming for a visit I highly encourage you to book a session at the Iyashi Bedrock Spa to experience rock bathing spa first hand!
>>> Overall rating for the experience?
(this was an incredibly relaxing experience)
The Iyashi Bedrock Spa is a hidden treasure in Toronto and unless you discover it and actually try a rock bathing session, you don’t know what you’ve been missing. That said, when you discover something so incredible, you’ll want to keep going back over and over again! In fact, once you’ve discovered the Iyashi Bedrock Spa, you’ll wonder why you didn’t know about it sooner and you most likely want to share this great find with all of your friends and family members!