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Alternative Health


Sand bathing: a popular form of therapy in Japan

Reported February 20, 2010

IBUSUKI, Kagoshima Prefecture: A cold winter spell is still blanketing many countries in the northern hemisphere.

In Japan, many are looking for unique ways to keep warm, while reaping health benefits.

The warm sand by the sea in Kagoshima is among the hottest around the globe. The closer one gets to the shore, the hotter it gets. At some places, it is regarded to be around 85 degrees Celsius, while the maximum temperature most people can withstand is around 50 degrees Celsius.

Although the mechanism is said to be unknown, it is said to be the only such place in the world.

Kazufumi Tateyama, Sand Bath Hall Saraku said: "For women, it is effective for those who have bad circulation, shoulder aches and lower back pain. For the skin, it said to be good for those with atopy."

The steam bath of Ibusuki has a recorded history of about 300 years. Since the late 1800s to 1930s, sand bathing has developed into a popular form of therapy, which in turn has prompted some 60 inns to sprout here.

And since the early days, many visitors believe that a good sand bath is able to keep the doctor away.

Kagoshima University conducted a study in 1985, to examine the effects of the sand bath on blood pressure, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system. It believed the sand baths at Ibusuki are three to four times more effective than the average hot spring.

Aside from the therapeutic effect, it helps to cool in the summer and warm up in the winter, and it is no wonder that it attracts 500 to 600 visitors daily.

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