A Turkish bath, also known as a hammam, is a luxurious, relaxing retreat that is common in Turkey, Morocco, and many other places internationally. Even if you don't have a trip to Turkey planned any time soon, the good news is you can still enjoy the many benefits of a Turkish bath right at home.
The ancient ritual of the Turkish bath dates back centuries and represents a cleansing of both the mind and the body. It is a very specific experience, but you can create a similar environment at home if you have the right tools and are ready to set the mood.
Get ready to enjoy a relaxing, indulgent bath that will make you change the way you look at baths forever once you try a DIY Turkish bath.
What are the benefits of a Turkish bath?
Going to a Turkish bath is an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are many mental and physical benefits to the ritual of hammam whether you go to an in-person Turkish bath for the full experience or recreate it from the comfort of your own home.
Here are some of the top benefits of a Turkish bath:
Promote feelings of calm
A Turkish bath experience is a wonderful thing for your mental health. If you struggle with feelings of depression, anxiety, or other intrusive thoughts, it can help you feel more calm and relaxed in your daily life.
A big reason why something like a Turkish bath is so good for your mental health is that it forces you to slow down and focus.
As you go through each step of the ritual and take care of your body from head to toe, you are taking the time to appreciate your body for everything it does for you rather than focusing on things that are stressful.
Soothe sore muscles and joints
As with any hot bath, a Turkish bath can help relieve aches and pains as well. Whether you are sore from exercise, an injury, or even chronic pain, a Turkish bath can help soothe your aching muscles and joints and relieve that pain.
Hot water and steam can help to increase circulation and reduce inflammation, both of which will help minimize pain and soreness in the body. If you are feeling sore or tight, it's a great time to plan to do an at-home Turkish bath.
A Turkish bath is almost a moving meditation. Because you are in a calm, relaxing setting and taking your time to cleanse your body in an orderly way, you are promoting a healthy connection between your mind and body.
Even if you are not comfortable with meditation in your life because you find that you can't relax enough to get into it, a Turkish bath might help you with that. If you focus on the steps of the bathing ritual, you'd be surprised at how you can quiet your mind and take your focus away from everyday stress.
Detoxify your body
Most of the time we rush through baths and showers just doing the bare minimum to get our bodies clean. With a Turkish bath, the focus is on slowing down and moving through every step of cleansing the body with care and focus.
By exfoliating your skin and deeply cleansing it, you are detoxifying your body. When you slough off the outer layers of dead skin, you can reveal the delicate new skin underneath that is ready to shine. You also will boost your circulation by encouraging blood flow as you exfoliate.
Also, the steam cleanses your body from the inside out during a Turkish bath as well.
Breathe the steam deeply into your lungs so you can feel the benefits of the moist air cleaning you from the inside out. It is especially helpful if you are congested at all, as it will clear any lingering congestion in your body so you can breathe easily.
How can you do a Turkish bath at home?
With a little bit of preparation and imagination, you can create a Turkish bath in any home bathroom.
What you need:
- Exfoliating Mitt or Kese
- Sudsy Body Wash
- Hydrating Lotion
- Thick, Fluffy Towels
What to do:
- Get Steamy: Turn on the shower to the hottest temperature and close the bathroom door for 10-15 minutes to allow the steam to build up in your bathroom. While it is warming up, you can get everything ready for your Turkish bath. Once it is steamy, re-enter the bathroom and breathe in the steam and focus on relaxation.
- Scrub Your Body: To mimic the attendants at the hammam who would scrub your body from head to toe now is the time to scrub and exfoliate your body. You can use an exfoliating mitt or an authentic kese if you prefer. Focus on each individual area of your body and take your time. You could even have a friend or significant other help with this step.
- Cleanse Your Body: Now that you have scrubbed your skin, it's time to cleanse. Choose your favorite luxurious, sudsy body wash and soap yourself up from head to toe. Don't rush through it. Go slowly and luxuriate in the feeling of cleansing your body and relaxing.
- Rinse: Using cool water, rinse the soap from your body. Enjoy the temperature change that should awaken and energize you while signaling that you are moving to the next stage of the Turkish bath.
- Dry Off: When you've rinsed off all the soap, it's time to dry off. Choose a towel that is fluffy and full to make you feel like you are in a high-end spa. Dry each section of your body completely.
- Moisturize: It's important to seal the moisture in your skin after your bath. Break out your favorite moisturizer and massage it into your body. Find a lotion that has a relaxing, soothing scent and is going to hydrate your skin after your Turkish bath.
- Relax: Once you are dry and moisturized, take a moment to just sit in silence. Think about how your Turkish bath experience made you feel. Are you feeling relaxed? Calm? Energized? Focused? Center yourself and your thoughts before you continue on with your day.