Posted September 5, 2013 by in Skin and Body Care

Turkish Baths originate from Roman times and are a variant of the Roman steambath or Russian bath (Banya). They are unique and identifiable by their distinct focus on cleansing through water.

Historically the Hammam offered cleansing to the masses that were not familiar with luxury or any of the conveniences that accompany it. Public bathing in these times was a public affair that afforded very little privacy, and although genders were not mixed the rooms were vast and there was very little concern given to personal privacy and space.

The wealthy on the other hand enjoyed the convenience of their riches by having practical Hammams on a smaller scale which were much more private and intimate, not unlike many of the hotel Hammams recreated today.

What can I expect from a traditional Turkish bath?
 Firstly you will be taken to an area to undress and stow your clothes, where you are also able to sip on some refreshing and cool water.

When taking a Turkish Bath you will experience three distinct phases.
A warm room, this is heated by a continuous flow of hot and dry air. You will be placed in this area to encourage perspiration and the detoxification of the skin.
A hot room, this is even hotter than the previous room this room usually has a large flat marble slab or naval stone , it is at this point that you are washed and black soap is applied to your body and left to soak in for a while.

Afterwards your attendant rinses off the soap with hot water and it is at this point you are scrubbed from head to toe with not an inch of you being left out ( I remember a few of us actually feeling raw in places afterward, but it’s all for a good cause).Once again you are rinsed off, more often than not with cooler water said to close the pores and cool the body temperature down.
Some Turkish baths and many Hotel Spa’s do include a massage at this point, it would be an optional extra and well the worth the treat.

It is important to note the following when having a Turkish bath outside of a Hotel Spa:

There is very little room for modesty and more often than not your attendant will have very little clothing on themselves whilst doing the treatment
If you are modest try to take a skimpier pair of undies as large underwear will not be practical at all
Most Turkish Baths sell the exfoliation Gloves and Black Soap as you enter and you might need to hire a bucket ( especially at public baths)
Allow yourself plenty of time to just relax , enjoy detox and make the most of this experience.

** Please note that this article is based on the Victorian / Roman type Hammam and not on the Muslim Hammam which varies considerably