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My Bath Ritual

My Bath Ritual

One of the most interesting aspects of cultures around the world is perhaps their bathing rituals. Historically, the Romans used huge bathhouses as social centers, while in several Islamic countries, including Turkey, they developed the 'hammam,' a communal bathhouse for steam baths. In most Western countries, showering is often preferred over long soaking baths. If we delve deeper into each culture, we'll find that their bathing routines are truly diverse and fascinating. Just like Gwyneth Paltrow, an actress and the founder of a wellness brand, who revealed her routine of dry brushing before a shower. If I were to share my own bathing ritual, it would be based on the bathing culture of Korea, where I was born and raised. Here, I share my special bathing ritual.  

 By Soyoung Cho | May 15, 2024 

Korean's Sundays Bath Ritual


Although I now live in the United States, I grew up in Korea. Back then, every neighborhood had a small public bathhouse in Korea. After a busy week, it was a kind of important ritual for the whole family to visit the bathhouse on weekends. (According to the elders, in difficult times, they could only visit the bathhouse before holidays. Bathing seemed to be more than just washing the body; it was a special ritual to cleanse the inner self and prepare for a new start.)

Upon entering the bathhouse, there was usually a large warm bath in the middle, a hotter steam bath next to it, and a cold bath next to that. There were also dry and wet saunas on one side. I imagine that the few remaining neighborhood bathhouses still look the same today. Once inside the bathhouse, it was routine to quickly wash the body and then soak it in warm water. After about 20 minutes of soaking in the bubbly, warm water, I would alternate between the sauna and the cold bath. When I felt my body was sufficiently soaked, I would use what we call a 'ddeh-soo-gun' (commonly known as an 'Italy towel,' which originated from the use of Italian fabric when the towel was first developed in a factory in Busan in the 1960s) to scrub away the dead skin cells from my entire body. If a dry brush simply brushes away dead skin cells, the 'ddeh-soo-gun,' designed like a square glove, thoroughly removes dead skin cells by rubbing the skin with a wet towel.

For those experiencing the Korean-style scrub for the first time, the somewhat rough touch of the exfoliating mitt can be a bit stimulating and tough. However, once you see the dead skin cells coming off your body like grey rice grains, you can't help but be captivated by the charm of the scrubbing. Bathing naked with family, neighbors, or strangers in a communal bathhouse was not entirely comfortable even for a child like me. However, Koreans would form intimacy by rubbing each other's backs with family members or neighbors they met in the adjacent bathhouse seats.

Among friends, there was a joke that going to the bathhouse together meant they were not really close friends yet. The bathhouse was a place where intimacy was key. Bathing with a bare body in a 'public bath' even at a young age was awkward, but the refreshing feeling after scrubbing and experiencing the softened skin like a baby's was an irresistible and pleasant beauty ritual.

I remember finishing my bathing ritual of the week by drinking chocolate milk that my mom would give me, sitting with my face full of sweat like a peach, coming out of the bathhouse. 

 

Leverden and Korean Spa Fusion

 

 

Being familiar with Korean bathing culture, I still enjoy bathing in a Korean style. Of course, I mix in a more elegant beauty ritual. Having passionately engaged in various exercises like an athlete to release tension and recover muscles, I have always thought about ways to rejuvenate my body. 

 I found the best relaxing method to be a bath with salts. After a round of golf or high-intensity exercise, soaking in a bathtub with bath salts gives a feeling of gradually relieving the tension and stiffness in the muscles. In Korea, it is common to finish off a round of golf with a bath. In the spa within the golf course I frequently visited in my childhood, there was always a wooden barrel filled with bamboo salt. Taking a bath with the salt after exercise could wash away fatigue from the round and the synergy of bamboo salts and bathing was so effective that I naturally wanted to spread the effects of bamboo salts to Americans. Not just in thought, but in action too.

The product is Leverden Bamboo Forest Amethyst Ki Bathsoak, the first product launched by Leverden as an homage to Korea. It is a product made from sea salt, known as bamboo salt. Bamboo salt is made by putting sea salt into a bamboo stems and baking and roasting them at a very high temperature nine times upto 3 years.

 

When dissolved in a bath, it is effective for skin purification and contains many minerals that help remove waste from the body. Immersing myself in a bath and closing my eyes in the warm water filled with the scent of Bamboo Forest, I feel as if I am entering a bamboo forest, relieving the tension of the day and maximizing the ritual effect.

My Own Bath Ritual

 

I fill the bathtub with water and add about a cup of Leverden Bamboo Forest Amethyst Ki Bathsoak. Personally, I also add our Bamboo Forest Body Wash. When bubbles start to form in the water and the scent of coriander from the Bathsoak mixes with the refreshing scent of the body wash, the healing begins just from the scent permeating the air.

 

Next, I light a scented candle and play my own playlist, filling the space with a comfortable mood and fragrance. When I close my eyes in the warm water, enjoying the music and scent in peace, it feels like the tension of the day, as well as the stress of everyday life, is being washed away.

 

After about 20 minutes of soaking in warm water, it's time to scrub the body Korean-style! I use the Korean traditional exfoliating mitt made of traditional Korean paper fibers, which is much softer than conventional traditional towels and removes dead skin cells more effectively. After gently scrubbing away dead skin cells with a little body wash, then a light shower makes me feel lighter.

My last ritual for my body is with Leverden's body lotion. When massaging my body with this product, it provides enough moisture to make my skin as soft as a baby's, and the subtle fragrance created by a world-renowned perfumer completes the perfect bathing ritual. When the refreshing Korean-style scrub meets the sophisticated and elegant touch of Leverden, a more perfect Korean-style bathing ritual is completed.

 

 If you find that you cannot soothe your tired body and mind enough with just sleep or travel, how about aiming for the effect of bathing, which may seem more everyday but is much more effective? I am confident that adding Leverden's ingredients and fragrances to your own bathing routine will revitalize your tired body and mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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