The Arabic word hammam, literally means “warmth bath” or “bathroom”.
Arabs have always been more enamored of sweating out dirt than taking baths. The Roman Empire built magnificent public baths in Arabic countries, where the Arabian bathhouse culture comes from. Under the influence of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) spread the cleansing by integrating them into the religion.
In the recent years, the hammam culture has been rapidly expanding in the Western world.
- open to a new test
- who wants to try an old tradition
- who wants to experience a deep, intensive cleaning
- who wants deep relaxation of body and mind
- who wants to know more about the Arab/Turkish/Moroccan culture
- Arabian Ritual from the Middle East
- Moroccan Ritual mixed with African influences
- Turkish or Ottoman Ritual with influences of the Eastern European countries
Each part of the world is using its own hammam procedure.
You always start with 20 minutes of sweating in the hammam area. Your body will be showered, watered and moist, ready for the treatments. Depending on which country rituals you follow, there will be soap or not in the steam. After those 20 minutes the skin will be soft and ready to receive a scrub to get rid of the dead skin cells.
With a powerful scrubbing, it’s amazing how much dirt can disappear. The scrub is an essential part of the hammam. It uses a special exfoliating glove: kessa in Morocco, or kese in Turkey. There are many different types of such gloves: the crepe Moroccan kessa usually has a cuff. In Syria and Jordan you will see a lot of black knit, which incorporates horsehair. In Turkey, you’ll see a lot of viscose or linen or whole wool. For each skin there is a suitable exfoliating glove. Even sisal gloves or balls are used. Those exfoliating washcloths last a long time if you do not machine wash them.
Unmistakable part of the hammam ritual is the massage with –mostly used- high quality olive soap. The olive oil is nourishing the skin in the same time and the soap is cleaning the body totally.
The rituel in the Hammam
Hammam means disperse heat and consists of three parts.
1. The body is heated, cleaned and scrubbed with soap. Dead skin cells are removed and the circulation is stimulated. Waste, directly will be drained away from the body.
2. The body will be washed by sponge.
3. The entire body will be massaged with soap (a very good wash).
4. After resting up in a middle room, where you will get to normal temperature again and where you can enjoy a cup of tea to reminisce.
Hammam, a sensation for body and mind.