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A Turkish bath is called a hamam. It usually includes massage and tea bar. Some hamams in Istanbul are over 250 years old and some upscale hotels there also offer a Turkish bath experience.

Working Up A Sweat In a Turkish Bath

You're taken to a warm, humid room with a raised stone platform (goebektas) in the center, surrounded by bathing alcoves, in pretty colored quartz tiles. The tiles remove static electricity from the air, and help to relax the mind and body. The light, diffused through glass in the ceiling is soft and relaxing. You lay or sit on the platform, which is heated, and work up a sweat. The attendant then leads you to one of the basins, and you're scrubbed cleaner than you ever have been, and again. She uses a coarse mitt to remove layers of dead skin, then comes the soap. She uses a lacy cloth, like an icing bag, and blows through it to create bubbles so you're covered from head to toe with white frothy bubbles. For the massage you go back to the stone platform, and it might be a bit rougher than a traditional Swedish massage. After the massage you are handed towels and then taken to the cool room to cool down and drink tea.

Health Benefits of Turkish Baths

  • An elevated body temperature, which works as a fever to boost immunity by increasing white blood cell production
  • Heavy sweating, which helps eliminate toxins, chemicals and other impurities from the skin
  • Increased heart rate, blood circulation and metabolic rate
  • Looser, relaxed muscles after exercise
  • Relief for stress, tension and high blood pressure
  • Sense of mental well-being and rejuvenation.
  • Alleviate congestion, inflammation, and coughing brought on by allergies and other respiratory conditions. Steam inhalation loosens mucous and other secretions, and helps reduce spasmodic breathing.
  • They are also used to treat pain and inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, and muscle and soft tissue injuries.
  • Open skin pores and release trapped oils and dirt
  • Increase blood circulation to the skin
  • Relax tense facial muscles
  • Loosen dead, dry skin which makes exfoliation easier
  • Promote a clear complexion.

  • Scrubbing with a loofah or exfoliating gloves immediately after steaming will remove any dead, dry skin which has accumulated, leaving skin glowing, smooth, and soft.