Adapted from Japan, where Ganbanyoku is immensely popular in day spas, these soothing relaxation beds are made of a dense black stone mined near Kyushu, Japan that retains heat and radiates it upwards. You lie on the smooth stone, polished to a satiny finish, with your head on a bamboo pillow-shaped prop, and let the heat soak deep into your bones. Alternative practitioners claim Ganbanyoku can soothe sore muscles, boost metabolism and increase circulation.
In Japan this type of therapy is common and is favored among women more so than men. Unlike the hot water baths which immediately heat the whole body, the heat from the rocky floors or beds slowly enter through a towel or the thick, loose garb that bathers must all wear. For people who are not accustomed to the sensation of entering an almost scalding bath, Ganbanyoku is a good option. Since no one is naked, it is also better for people who are just uncomfortable with public nudity. Women wear burgundy and men wear dark brown garb. Most of these facilities are inexpensive and include cold drinks or even ice cream during or after a visit. In between the rooms for hot-rock bathing is a large tatami floor with foam mats. Resting or falling asleep between baths is common.
Try this experience state side at Miyako Hybrid Hotel, Los Angeles or the Miyako’s spaRelaken in Las Vegas, which has eight beds and offers a combined Japanese-inspired treatment package that includes Reiki.