outdoor soaking tub sensory experience

Creating a Multisensory Outdoor Bathing Experience

Posted by Kendra Nickerson on

Surrounded by the gentle rustle of leaves, the warmth of late-day sunlight on your skin, the aroma of the damp forest as you recline in your tub—this sensory journey is the essence of outdoor bathing. A unique and deeply rejuvenating experience, soaking outside allows you to immerse yourself in the natural world while taking pleasure in the warm embrace of the water. 

After a few outdoor baths, when you’ve found the perfect temperature by working the fire and discovered your preferred time of day to soak, you might consider going to the next step of incorporating new elements to your bathing ritual to heighten the multisensory experience.

We have a few bathing tips to get you started and to make the most out of your soak. Each one touches on a different sense to help you immerse yourself even more in the moment.

view from outdoor soaking tub
Image credit: Scott Sporleder


Depending on where your outdoor soaking tub is situated, there can be much to visually take in around you, from watching leaves dance in the breeze to the sweeping star fields above as you lean back in your tub.

outdoor soaking tub accessories
Image credit: Janalla

Still Life

Using a bath tray, side table, or the top of the tub steps as a surface to keep items close at hand, we might bring a few special objects that you love to look at like a poetry book, journal, sketchbook, nature finds, and a small bouquet from the garden.

In spring and summer months, we float garden blooms or create herbal blends for bathing, adding another dimension to the ripples in the tub water. In the evening, embrace the stillness. Gaze at the soft light from a lantern or candles to continue the sensory experience as daylight fades.

Connecting with sight helps you to be fully present in the moment around you.   

outdoor soaking tub sense of touch

Image credit: Rebecca Benoit


Your tactile experience is heightened when soaking in a wood fired outdoor bath. Besides the sensation of hot water against your skin, there’s the tickle of the breeze, the heat from the fire when you add more firewood, and the smooth aluminum surface of the edge of the hot tub. 


Surrounding yourself with natural textures enhances the tactile experience. A wood soaking tub is one of life’s greatest sensory pleasures, especially when it’s crafted from satiny and sweet-scented western red cedar. Comfortable seating inside the tub is essential to being able to truly relax, and wood recliners create softer seats than other hard surfaces. 

outdoor soaking tub steps

Image credit: Full House - Luis Valdizon

Add smooth wood seating outside the hot tub for cooling off or a pre-soak body scrub. We’re partial to our multipurpose Cedar Steps as seating, but a Japanese-style bathing stool or a wood bench situated beside the tub also works.


The addition of salts make the act of bathing even more therapeutic, and can help you tap into the sensation of the water around you even more. Epsom salt softens the water and your skin, and soothes sore muscles. All-natural bath salts made of sea salt, combined with essential oils and herbs, harmonize well with the natural environment. They offer therapeutic properties as well as appealing to the sense of smell. 

towel after soaking outdoors


Bringing your ultimate soft, absorbent bath towel and wrapping yourself up in it after bathing is a luxurious sensation. If there’s a distance to travel from your outdoor bath to indoors—or cool temps—a plush robe will help you preserve that warm sensation after a hot soak. Winter bathing sometimes also calls for a hat to retain body heat, and as Canadians we’re partial to a chunky handknit wool toque, but a cotton beanie works too.

cold water outdoor soaking tub

Image credit: Rebecca Benoit

Cold Water

Tap into your sense of touch further by using cold water during your steamy soak. The cold water wakes up your skin and your senses, offering a contrast to the heat. This could be something as tiny as taking sips of ice water as you soak, or using a hand shower to pour cold water onto your body.

Or, really get into hot and cold water therapy—often known as the Nordic Cycle—by hopping in a cold plunge tub or body of water (if you happen to have a nearby lake, stream, or ocean) as a chilly break from the heat. If you’re at home, having a cold shower after a hot bath helps awaken your body.

Connecting with our sense of touch helps ground us.


While the outdoors provides its own orchestra of natural sounds – birdsong, whispering trees, the chirping of crickets - a wood fired outdoor bath adds a harmonious layer. The fire crackles and the water swooshes as you move your body, creating a soothing sensation. 

There’s beauty in the simplicity of tuning into the sounds of nature, but there’s also a moment for adding a third layer of sound to your bath—music. If you need a bit of music inspiration, give a listen to our GOODLAND playlists, specifically designed for the Pre-Soak and Soak experience. 

outdoor soaking tub scent

Image credit: Janalla


The aroma of the land around you, the freshness of red cedar in the water, and the light smoke of the hot tub’s wood fire can elevate your multisensory experience during your soak outdoors. Natural fragrances have a calming and rejuvenating effect that can enhance your overall well-being.

Additional scents to incorporate into your outdoor bathing ritual might include herbal tea, bath salts, or even different fragrant firewoods. Explore a  range of scents in your bathing journey to see which ones are for you: woody, floral, fruity, earthy, minty, sweet or citrus.  

outdoor soaking tub drinking tea

Image credit: Janalla


Bringing a beverage to your outdoor bath will allow you to tune into your sense of taste while staying hydrated. Experiment with different types of beverages and flavours, such as hot or cold, and sweet or spice.

Before tasting, take a moment to inhale the beverage's aroma and observe any visual cues to prime your palate. Then sip mindfully while paying attention to the texture, temperature, and tastes.

Explore slow living and find more bathing resources in our Journal.

← Older Post Newer Post →