Middle aged man undergoing onsen therapy soaking in a hot spring

Since the Japanese Edo period (1603-1867), Toji, now known as onsen therapy, has been a popular form of balneotherapy. The numerous hot springs across Australia allow both locals and tourists to soak in the mineral-rich springs and enjoy the immense physical and mental health benefits thereof. 

During the Edo era, common people would turn to Toji for relaxation after a long day’s work. Soaking in the calming hot water would help relieve their mental and physical strains, preparing their bodies for work the next day.

Today, people resort to onsen therapy for more than just relaxation. Having been proven to provide medical benefits, thanks to the rich minerals that get absorbed into the body through the skin, regularly enjoying a Toji can be immensely rewarding for you.

In this article, we look deeper into onsen therapy to understand what it is, how it can benefit you, and the types of onsen therapy available. Let’s dive in.

What Is (Toji) Onsen Therapy?

Toji is a form of balneotherapy that involves staying at an onsen facility for several days, soaking in mineral-rich hot springs, and pampering yourself. Earlier, Toji would last about one week, but with the current busy lifestyles, people now take 2-3 days. The treatment takes a holistic approach to one’s health – including soaking in the onsen, eating healthy food, relaxing, meditating, doing a digital detox, etc. The latter simply means staying away from the internet.

The onsen water benefits the body depending on its mineral composition. Mainly, the mineral concentration varies widely from one hot spring to another. And though the water may contain numerous minerals, it’s identified based on the predominant mineral. 

An onsen may be indoors or outdoors. With inns mainly established around the hot springs, you can find a variety of setups (public and private) to choose from. 

While nothing beats the experience of soaking in a natural hot spring, people also buy the minerals for enjoying onsen therapy bathes in their homes. These are a blend of minerals extracted from the sites of the hot springs and packed in bath salt form.

Where the onsen water has high mineral concentration levels, especially in Europe, people often drink the water as it offers better mineral absorption into the bloodstream. This practice is usually called insen and is believed to help, especially with digestion and metabolism.

Benefits of Onsen Therapy

Exposing the body to the high hot spring temperatures provides it with relaxation and immune-boosting benefits. Let’s look at some of them.

Increased Blood Circulation

As you bathe in the onsen, minerals get absorbed into the body, leading to increased blood circulation. Consequently, blood circulation aids the healing of muscles, bones, joints, connective tissue injuries, etc.

Weight Loss

If you desire to lose weight, soaking in an onsen can help. Hot water accelerates metabolism, thereby aiding in weight loss.


The different minerals in the onsen water help resolve many health problems. For instance, copper and iron-concentrated onsen can help with menstrual disorders and anemia; radium-rich onsen alleviates joint pain, muscle pain, and nerve pain; while sodium bicarbonate can relieve gastrointestinal disorders and chronic dermatitis.

Stress Reduction

Bathing in hot water relieves muscles, which helps relax the body. Besides, getting in the water makes your body feel lighter, giving you a buoyant feeling. Not forgetting, the experience also gets you away from your day-to-day life, which, coupled with the serene surroundings of the onsen, helps to clear your mind. 

Back view of a beautiful woman relaxing in an onsen facility for onsen therapy
Onsen Therapy smoothens the skin

Beautify Skin

Soaking in hot water has a detoxifying effect. Flushing out the skin’s impurities opens the pores, leading to better mineral absorption. Besides the benefits of sulfur on the skin (preventing breakouts and healing other skin problems), the silica mineral helps soften dry skin, leading to smooth and glowy skin. 


The minerals in onsen water contain antioxidants, which help reduce oxidation and the dangers of free radicals to the skin. As a result, bathing in the onsen regularly protects your skin and keeps it looking youthful for longer.

Better Sleep

By relieving tense muscles and clearing your mind, onsen therapy reduces stress, which ultimately helps you enjoy deeper sleep. 

Types of Onsen 

As earlier mentioned, onsens are identified based on their predominant mineral. For instance, there are sulfur onsens, chloride onsens, acidic onsens, iron onsens, sulfate onsens, hydrogen carbonate onsens, and more. 

Let’s discuss some of them and discover their therapeutic benefits.

  • Sulfur onsen – It’s helpful to people with chronic bronchitis, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Also, it aids in curing acne and smoothening skin.
  • Sulphate onsen – Comprises magnesium, sodium, and calcium onsens and helps in the healing of bruises and cuts, moisturises the skin, and relieves chronic constipation and arteriosclerosis. 
  • Acidic onsen – Has an antibacterial effect and is effective in treating rheumatism. The acid also helps exfoliate and tighten skin, hence ideal for people with sagging skin.
  • Chloride onsen – There are three varieties of chloride onsen – calcium, salt, and magnesium – and they help with healing cuts and burns and promoting hydration.
  • Aluminium onsen – Has sterilizing effect and helps treat skin diseases such as rashes, chronic dermatitis, and athlete’s foot. 
  • Sodium bicarbonate onsen – Also known as water for beautiful skin, it helps smoothen the skin.
  • Iron onsen – There are two types – carbonated iron and melanterite – and they are helpful for people with conditions such as anemia and menstrual disorders. 
  • Carbonated water onsen – Helps detox the body and improve blood circulation.
  • Radioactive onsen – Contains small amounts of radioactive minerals, which are beneficial for gout, rheumatism, and high blood pressure.
  • Simple thermal onsen – Does not have enough mineral concentration to provide medical benefits, but it still provides relaxation.

Ready to Indulge in a Toji?

Undoubtedly, regularly soaking in a hot spring can resolve many health woes, enabling you to lead a healthier and happier life. Not forgetting the immense relaxing benefits that are essential for a productive life. From increased blood circulation to weight loss, healing various ailments, stress reduction and better sleep, beautiful skin, and anti-aging, routine onsen therapy is essential for every health-conscious individual. 

Ready to start the experience? Explore some of these hot springs or any other onsen of your preference. And don’t forget to check out our massage treatments and book an appointment