My First Authentic Hammam
Deemed one of the hottest spa trends for 2010 this ancient ritual of cleansing is rising in popularity within the modern spa world.
A Tradition that's been revised over the years by a number of cultures, Hammams go beyond their place in Turkish History- Many are popping up today in the U.S. as contemporary versions of their ancient counterparts. These Humid-Room-Meets-Detoxifying-Scrub-And-Cleansing session go beyond the typical spa treatment with influences that reflect an authentic ancient ritual. "They aren't just a treatment; they are an entire experience with credible results," says Susie Ellis, President of SpaFinder.
In Turkey, hammams were viewed as social centers where special occasions were celebrated. Even wealthy people who had access to hammams in their own homes would frequent public ones for the social and business aspects.
Most hammams had spiritual components, and, according to some religions, washing was an essential part of worship. It is this purification factor that is attributed to making hammams a part of everyday life.
The first hammams consisted of three interconnected rooms, which were modeled after the Greek-Roman baths. Today, that's referred to as the classic three-room structure.
Structure of a Hammam
The sicaklik (also known as the hararet, caldarium or hot room) is a large marbletiled room with a Göbek tasi (marble slab called a belly or navel stone) raised in the center, surrounded by alcoves of corners and benches. This is where individuals relax enjoying the skin-softening humidity, and where the scrubs, soaping and massages are administered.
The iliklik (also known as the warm room or tepidarium) is a transition area where you adjust to the heat.
The sogukluk (otherwise known as the vestarium or cool room) is the relaxation room that is also used for dressing and refreshments.