Give it a try! Ganbanyoku in Japan.

24 May

I had Ganbanyoku(岩盤浴), or hot stone sauna after a long interval. I was actually quite surprised how much my skin condition improved without any face lotion or serum put on, after it. I must have forgotten all these things because of long absence from my last Ganbanyoku experience. 😦

For those who are not familiar with Ganbanyoku, watch this video first. I wish I could take my video, but they will never allow me to.
(I use this video not to intend to promote this salon, but only to give readers the image of Ganbanyoku.)

In this video, people do yoga and stretch on the hot stones, but usually when we say Ganbanyoku, it’s only that people lie down on the hot stones to relax and sweat. This salon combines Ganbanyoku and these exercises to lead the upmost outcome, and it’s also common at any Ganbanyoku salons these days. My Ganbanyoku salon that I went the other day also has a yoga program, and I was able to observe a yoga lesson while I was lying down on the Ganban hot stone plate. (I could sneakily pose as they do, but no, that’s embarrassing…) ^ ^;

Ganban is a large piece of granite that is laid on the floor and heated. It releases negative ion and far infrared rays that bring many benefits to our health. It improves blood circulation, metabolism, and immunity while it helps detox wastes from the body. People who continue Ganbanyoku would say they do not suffer from sensitivity to cold temperatures, stiff shoulder, or headache any longer. They could even lose weight, thanks to accelerated metabolism. It’s also said Ganbanyoku is good to prevent cancer, thanks to improved immunity.

Our body can be totally warmed up from deep inside for half an hour of Ganbanyoku, for example. And we can find we sweat so well while we just lie down on the hot stone. But this sweat is different kind from running or from hot/humid weather. The sweat is as clean as face lotion. Well, actually it can be said 100% customized lotion from one’s body and is the best lotion to that person in the world. Thus, after Ganbanyoku, we are told not to take a shower because we have already covered by the “golden sweat” ,I would call, that has great affinity to ourselves. In fact, it’s not uncomfortable at all even if I don’t take a shower, which is because this type of sweat is totally different from the one I have under hot humid summer in Japan. I didn’t put anything on my face and I was so much surprised how great my skin was when I touched it unconsciously on the way back home!! I wondered if I could ever had this state of skin with any face lotion from any brand?!

benefits of Ganbanyoku
-help relax (getting rid of stress)
-help detox
-improve health (blood circulation & metabolism)
-prevent cancer or other diseases
-lose weight
-anti-aging (good for beauty)

At my Ganbanyoku salon there is a monthly member for 3800 yen, with additional 500yen at each time for the Ganbanyoku outfits to rent and a bottle of water. The salon has a Ganban chair where we put our arms and legs onto the hot Ganban water and leave them for 15-20 minutes. This leaves the same effect to our body as to do aerobic exercise for 2 hours. Is this true? I doubt it, but anyhow I was very tired on the next morning. I’m getting old. 😦

If I pay 1000yen in addition to above, I can join the Ganbanyoku yoga class, too. If I go to the salon 10 times per month, and 2 times of Ganban yoga lessons, that’ll be 3800+(500×10)+(1000×2)=10800 yen in total. Isn’t it a deal if I think of the benefits? I even want to save my golden sweat! (lol)

Do you have Ganbanyoku salon or any alternative one in your place?
Unfortunately most of Ganbanyoku salons in Japan somehow are open exclusively for women. For men, if only they use a private room with his partner (girl friend or wife) some salons accept men.


22 Responses to “Give it a try! Ganbanyoku in Japan.”

  1. mikidii May 24, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

    Ohh! Kirin, this sounds so interesting! This "golden sweat" you talk about definetly took my interest. Im all for health and awesome body-power! How much would this cost in U.S dollars? o: I'd like to go to one.

    • kirin May 25, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

      It depends on each salon, but for example USD20 – 25 for 90 minutes or so. There was a Ganbanyoku boom several years ago, but the boom is gone and many salons have closed by now, unfortunately. 😦

      • Lawrence Esco July 10, 2011 at 4:28 am #

        WE are looking into providing facility here in Toronto, your comments about the US and the boom past and many closed is interesting and we unaware…appreciate what info you might be able to share on this with us…

  2. Lore May 24, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

    OOO I had never heard about that, in my knowledge there’s nothing like that where I live, it’s a pity, I’d like to try.

    • kirin May 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

      Hmmm… then Ganbanyoku is not exported abroad.

  3. Maria May 25, 2010 at 7:33 am #

    Hi Kirin!
    I red your post and I think our sauna has a similar effect on me. Our sauna has a stove (we call it kiuas) that burns wood and it creates very comfortable warmth. I rarely use moisturiser after sauna because I also get that golden sweat. A sauna with electrical stove can't create that golden sweat, it causes one to sweat like in a hot day.
    I wish there would be a spa that had Ganbanyoku in my town. I don't think that even the biggest spas in this country have those. I would love to try it.

    • kirin May 25, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

      The sauna like you mention, is it from Finland or somewhere north Europe, right?
      We have that kind of sauna, too. It's a wooden room. But we cannot stay there for half an hour because we feel it very hot. From your comment, I can see the sauna we have is the one that uses electrical stove. That's the reason we cannot stay there for a long time. Ganbanyoku is also a little bit different from steam sauna, such as Turkish bath. 🙂

      • nao May 26, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

        Thank you, Kirin, for the post. Since Ganbanyoku has not been exported, have to go to Japan to try it…^__^ I love all kind of a-la sauna for health…

      • kirin May 27, 2010 at 9:39 am #

        Me too! I love onsen and sauna so much! I wonder why Ganbanyoku is not exported…Anyhow if you ever have a chance to come to Japan, please give it a try. I hope you'll like it! ^ 0 ^

      • Maria May 31, 2010 at 11:19 pm #

        Hmm..This type of sauna is popular in Norden (meaning Finland, Sweden and Norway). But i think it varies according to region. I red a book about saunas at my dad's house and it mentioned that there's a thing called muro in Japan. A type of steam room if I understood it correctly and that it was popular before furo became popular.
        Our sauna has lower temperature but it still feels hot. We heat it to around 70 Celsius degrees before entering.Humidity should be around 40% or higher. With electrical stoves it often is hotter and dryer. Also we use cold water in sauna, I think it creates slightly different steam. I can stay in our sauna for 30 mins without feeling bad or sick.

      • kirin June 1, 2010 at 5:54 am #

        Wow I didn't know Furo is originally called Muro but our wiki clearly states so.
        Steamed sauna is better than dry sauna.
        I can stay there a lot longer. 🙂

  4. Hellolynn26 June 14, 2010 at 5:44 am #

    Kirin, tis is not common in my country either. I managed to find one spa which provides Ganbanyoku Is tis similar to wat u had mentioned? Feel like giving it a try as I love massage but I had never tried one on hot stone before. As for Ganbanyoku yoga, we have yet to find one over here. In Singapore, we only have hot yoga which is practiced in a room at 40 degrees celsius.

    • kirin June 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

      Yes, exactly that is it! The link seems to be a Ganbanyoku salon! But they have luxurious private space, compared with Japanese one. We also have hot yoga! Do you have it in SGP, too? My Ganbanyoku salon is originally a hot yoga salon but they have Ganbanyoku branch where we can do yoga on the Ganbanyoku plate. I love love love hot yoga! It's very comfortable. But it's not cheap. Usually 1 lesson (60-90 minutes) costs 3000 yen.

      • Hellolynn June 15, 2010 at 2:17 am #

        Yes! Hot yoga is getting increasingly popular in my country. See link for an example of a hot yoga studio in sgp Usually, we can't go for a single session and we would have to sign up a package and its certainly not cheap. But some hot yoga centers do offer a one time trial lesson so as to entice people to take up the packages. I will make a point to visit the Ganbanyoku spa to try it out and share with u more! =)

      • kirin June 15, 2010 at 11:22 pm #

        Oh same here, the monthly membership costs like 15000yen or so. I used to be a monthly member, but not any more now, because I became busier. They now have so many programs and they require additional money besides the monthly membership for us to join some programs. 😦

        That sounds so interesting, if you visit the Ganbanyoku spa out there. Please share your experience with me and tell the staff of the shop you were inspired by my blog! ^ ^

  5. pure resveratrol November 5, 2010 at 9:07 am #

    That is a very powerful stone. Sweating is super easy, effortless without pushing too hard. I need to find that Salon when i visit Japan next month.

    • kirin November 5, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

      There are several ganbanyoku places in Japan. Hope you'll find a nice one! 😉

  6. Ariel February 12, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    ooo.. we have that in Canada! me and my mom are going to go try 🙂 my neighbour said she did it and she lost weight and her skin became better 😀

    • kirin February 13, 2011 at 2:19 am #

      Really?? Then try it, it's really good!! 😀

  7. Lawrence July 10, 2011 at 4:33 am #

    Does anyone know who one might be able to contact to better understand technical construction and design of a Gabanyoku facility here in Canada?

  8. Elizabeth July 30, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    There is a Ganbanyoku Spa in Toronto, Canada, called Iyashi Bedrock Spa. It is amazing. There are 17 stone beds for ladies only, although men are welcome to join when there is a Hot Yin Yoga class. There is also a 4 stone bed private suite where men can go, or couples. I love the Hot Yoga they do. Check out their website for more info,

    • kirin July 30, 2011 at 9:04 am #

      Wow, finally Ganbanyoku salon in North America! Thanks for sharing! But the price looks very expensive compared with that in Japan. (Maybe more than double, but it can be from the difference of prices.)

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