In the Turkish culture, bathing is a ritual—and it’s not just a way to get clean. Turkey’s long history as an Ottoman Empire has given rise to many different traditions around bathing and water usage. However, one of the main things that distinguishes Turkish baths from other styles is their use of hot and cold temperatures during each session, which makes for a very relaxing experience. Here are all six steps involved in this traditional practice:
Step 1: Relax in the Sauna
While you may not be familiar with Turkish saunas, they are common in Turkey and many other countries around the world. The word sauna is used to describe a small room with a heater that heats up to about 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 Celsius). You can relax and sweat out toxins while you're in there. It's typically located in a separate room from the bath itself. This step is meant for relaxation and detoxification so don't worry if you don't feel like sweating at first; it'll happen eventually!
Step 2: Soak in the warm bath
You'll have one last chance to clean up before you leave the bath. The attendant will bring you a washcloth, which you can use to scrub your body thoroughly. Don't forget about your back! And don't forget about the front either—get in there and scrub those pits! Finally, don't forget to scrub those legs too; they may be covered with goosebumps from all that heat but they're still worth scrubbing nonetheless.
Step 3: Take a cold shower
After rinsing off in the hamam, you will probably want to take a cold shower. The cold water helps to cleanse the body, as well as stimulate blood flow and increase metabolism. The warm breeze from your fan will also help to cool you down and prepare you for another round of hot-water cleansing.
Step 4: Scrub down with a rough mitt or glove
When you're done with the bath, it's time to scrub down with a rough mitt or glove. The purpose of this step is to get the dirt off your skin and exfoliate it. But beware—you can also cause damage if you scrub too hard.
The right way: use a mitt or glove
When I was visiting Turkey for the first time, I was in an outdoor Turkish bath that had no real bathing facilities—just some showers and a few benches in front of them. No towels were provided; instead, there were buckets full of water and plastic bottles filled with soap solution at each bench. The whole area was covered by large umbrellas so that people could sit outside without feeling too hot from being under direct sunlight all day long (most traditional Turkish baths are open-air).
Step 5: Soak in the warm bath again
After you have rinsed off and used the hamam towel to dry yourself, re-enter the steam room or hot hall and sit down on one of the wooden benches that surround its perimeter. If you are at a public hamam, it will be common for other guests to come in and out of this area as their needs require; this is not an environment where you can expect privacy. Depending on how crowded your hamam is, there may also be a handful of people sitting around naked chatting with each other. This would be considered normal behavior.
Step 6: Finish off with a cool shower
You've just finished bathing in the traditional Turkish way, so now it's time to rinse off. The shower is one of the most important steps in a Turkish bath experience and should be used for a few different reasons:
- To cleanse your body from dirt and bacteria you may have picked up during your day.
- To help prepare for the rest of your day by washing away any lingering effects from the hot baths—such as fatigue, aches and pains or headaches.
- To wake yourself up with a cold water blast at the end of an invigorating shampoo and rubdown (if requested).
Bathing rituals are part of culture and can be relaxing
One of the most relaxing parts of a Turkish bath is the bathing rituals. It's an ancient tradition that has been practiced for centuries and is still popular today. Bathing rituals can be very relaxing, and they're a great way to relax after a long day at work or on vacation.
Bathing in a Turkish bath is an exciting, relaxing experience. It's one of the best ways to travel and learn about other cultures. It's also a great way to relieve stress after a long day at work or school!