The Base Ritual: Bath Houses
Bath Houses are both stimulating and relaxing, and can help detoxify, protect against illness, relieve stress, stimulate slow circulation and improve your body's metabolism.
When you visit a bath house there are two essentials ways you can spend your time and it's completely up to you how you want to do it. You can have a more structured time in which you plan and have attendants to help you much like a day spa or you can choose to go solo and work through the baths at your own pace, treating yourself.
How it works: All bath houses will work a little differently but the essential steps are these.
You can undress to any level you are most comfortable with. This may depend on your bath house being unisex or single sex, you can wear swimmers if you would like or be all revealing. Pretty much anything goes and you will also be given a small towel to drape yourself in as you travel between the various baths and rooms.
Sweat and Steam
In Turkish hamam's (bathhouse) you will firstly be lead to a large hot stone which you lay on and allow the heat to help you sweat and loosen any dirt or toxins in your skin. In other bath houses you may visit a steam room or sauna for the same idea of loosening toxins and dirt before and after bathing.
This may be the time to incorporate one of the many treatments you can opt to have, we would recommend having an exfoliation treatment at this stage to get rid of any dry skin and the toxins you just released before bathing.
You can also incorporate massages, scrubs, bathing in oils or in some instances even wine. The various treatments on offer will mostly depend on your geographic location. Authentic Turkish, Russian, Japanese or more western styled houses in cities like New York, Sydney or London.
In most places there will be three different baths with various temperatures, starting at body temperature, working up to very very hot and then back down to more of a lukewarm or coming from the hot baths it may seem quite cold. You can experiment with what you like and what you're most comfortable with but this is the general order to work through.
The idea is to relax so work your way through the baths, cool down or warm up. Go back to the steaming area and just do what feels right. There are no right or wrong way, it's about taking the time to relax and enjoy the experience.
Check out our favourite bath houses:
Aire Ancient Baths New York - http://www.ancientbathsny.com