I am proud of red flower and our efforts to draw upon wellness rituals from all over the world, from age-old traditions to modern innovations. Today, I’m writing to you with history in mind, thinking about a Japanese wellness practice from centuries ago, one which I revere.
Whenever I go back to Japan, the first place I visit is the onsen. I’ve always thought of the onsen as a place where the healing powers of nature and mankind meet--an age-old manifestation of organic self-care. Ancient historical texts tell us that the Japanese have used onsens since at least 700 A.D., when they are first mentioned in Japan’s oldest history book, Kojiki.
Secreted away in the isolation of the mountains, we strip down to our bare essentials, humbled and made aware of our bodies. We enter the water, are restored by the heat, take nothing from nature and leave as we came. After moving back to New York, I yearned for the onsen’s familiar warmth and reassurance, especially during those long winter months.
Without consciously realizing it, I began thinking about how I could build a Japanese onsen at home. the complete Japan treatment “onsen” set is the result of my endeavor to recreate the relaxing, all-round immersive experience of the onsen from within the walls of my apartment. Each product in that luxury spa set has been specially crafted with extracts of iconic Japanese plants and flowers.
In the evenings, I like to unwind by drawing a hot bath infused with the hinoki mint mineral bath soak. Hinoki is a species of cypress native to the forests of central Japan, highly prized for its earthy aroma. I’ve added a hint of mint to the infusion for an invigorating scent that evokes the meditative stillness of forest bathing. It’s said that the natural minerals and mint oil help to reduce tension, remedy fatigue, and combat cold symptoms. Just like that, I find that the bathing experience is transformed, taking me to the steam-filled air of another land. I am transported through the essences of oils and chlorophyll, and ultimately restored.
At the end of an onsen bath, it’s traditional for bathers to dust themselves with fine silk powders. The concentrated silk extracts and plum wine serum in our plum blossom silk cream mirror that ritual.
I often think of how traditional Japanese culture teaches us to appreciate the beauty of imperfections and celebrate ephemerality, to find joy in those fleeting moments spent in nature, which remain within us long after they have passed. I created red flower’s japanese peony petal topped candle and wild cherry blossom intensely-scented organic room diffuser, stirred by thoughts of those first flushes of spring, when the frost begins to clear and the badgers start to re-emerge. I love having these light floral scents waft through my home office, my living room, and the corridors, enlivening the air with their beauty.
At red flower, we complement the earth-consciousness of our products with packaging that tries its best to go easy on the planet . We’re proud to say that the peony petal-topped candle and cherry blossom diffuser are packaged in 77% recycled paper and printed in a wind-powered plant. (Ever the flower lover, I like using the diffuser glass as a small vase for flowers after I’ve emptied it.)
I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the venerable cultural traditions of this wonderful island of Japan.