It won't kill you to go
without food for a day or two, but that's definitely not
the case with breathing! It's totally essential to breathe
well in order to stay healthy. Luckily for us, our forefathers
knew this and taught us the proper way to breathe. We've
gathered together the following information based on their
wisdom, so please do take a look and try to give it some
EThe system of jikan-yu (timed bathing). First of all we
pray to the household gods. Next, we sing the Kusatsu song
whilst beating the hot spring water with yumomi-ita paddles
(i.e. performing yumomi). Then, in order to get used to
the heat of the bath, we pour spring water over our heads
twenty or thirty-odd times. With this, our pre-bathing ritual
is complete and we enter the bath for exactly three minutes.
All these processes are planned to concentrate on the spirit.
Our heart is relaxed at first, but then when we sing and
when we are in the bath we naturally start to breathe from
the abdomen, and in this way, our brains are invigorated.
Also, the effect of aspiring steam has long been known as
an effective treatment for ailments such as asthma.
E We recommend taking walks.Kusatsu is on high land and
receives strong sunlight, so it's perfect for taking walks
in the woods. When you feel good, you naturally take deeper
breaths, so through walking you can invigorate your brain
- an absolutely essential part of any natural treatment.
E We recommend taking tea breaks: Tea breaks stimulate friendly,
fun conversation between friends undergoing the same long-term
treatment. When you laugh, you breathe from the abdomen,
and this in turn invigorates the brain. All of the above
are part of the daily routine when you come for a hot spring
E Yawning:A naturally occurring biological reaction.Yawning
arouses the nerves. Yawns are deep breaths which you take
naturally and unconsciously. Reading the sutras, meditation,
and the traditional Japanese martial arts such as archery
etc are all ways of training yourself to exhale properly
and take relaxed breaths. Through making conscious efforts
to breathe using the abdomen you can relax your nerves.
very important. People nowadays are slowly becoming aware
of how poor they are at breathing, and are making a conscious
effort to change this. They say the process is like unpeeling
a thin layer of skin, but what you can actually experience
is the feeling of becoming gradually more and more healthy.
Now that you know that healthiness comes from good breathing,
you really ought to start breathing well. Correct breathing
comes from the abdomen and makes you feel good- it lowers
your center of gravity, calming your nerves and making your
whole being more stable.
Let's return to the topic of thanking the household gods
before participating in jikan-yu. This has nothing to do
with any local religion. Thanking the household gods has
been a natural part of bathing culture all through Japanese
history and serves to calm the participants down. Our particular
system was developed naturally in Kusatsu Hot Spring, so
it would be inappropriate to worship Mary or Christ here.
During this long, important part of the hot spring cure,
the cure is introduced and the development of the participant's
heart is measured. This is the true aim of the hot spring
cure - in archery we are taught that through our art we
get closer to the gods, and this is also known as our personal
development. (Martial arts such as archery are considered
different to other regular sports).
Like many other things in life, a hot spring cure is something
that one may not necessarily understand, yet by physically
experiencing it many times we come to understand it better.
This is true treatment, true breathing, the true way and
the true meaning of good health.