In contrast to the sauna, the steam bath takes place in an environment where the humidity is around 100% and the temperature ranges from 25 to 50 degrees rising from the floor to the top. Because the temperature is lower than in the sauna, but because the time spent in the sauna is longer, sweating is higher in the Turkish bath.
Since the temperatures are lower and the steam is high, hammam cabins are not lined with wood, but are made of ceramic or tiles like ordinary baths.
The procedure for taking a Turkish bath follows similar steps to those required to take a sauna bath.
Before entering, it is best to drink a glass of water or herbal tea to avoid dehydration; then, you can proceed with a lukewarm shower in which you wash yourself thoroughly with soap, then dry yourself well.
A footbath is also recommended to warm the extremities.
The first phase (warming up) usually lasts 15 to 20 minutes. In the Turkish bath, you remain in a sitting or semi-reclining position, naked or covered with terry cloths or other breathable fabrics. In addition to steam, you can also enjoy aromatherapy, with essential oils chosen to awaken, refresh, stimulate or relax. The colours of colour therapy also have a beneficial effect on the body and mind.
Finish with a cool shower and lie down for a few minutes of relaxation. To make a perfect Turkish bath and enjoy the beneficial effects on your skin, you can decide to gently rub your body with a horsehair glove. In this way, dead skin cells are removed and blood circulation is stimulated.
After the Turkish bath, it is very pleasant to expose yourself to the outside temperature or to cool off with a cool shower or sponge bath. Your body temperature will ensure that you spend several minutes in a pleasant feeling of cool well-being. Not surprisingly, this second phase is all about cooling down, which not only gives you a break from the intense heat of the hammam, but also tones up your body.
The third stage involves another Turkish bath - cold shower cycle. Again, at the end of the first two stages,
the best thing would be to relax for at least a quarter of an hour, with a gentle relaxing massage if possible. It is important to replace lost liquids by drinking water, fruit juice or herbal tea. Again, taking a Turkish bath on an empty stomach or when you are excessively full is not recommended, just have a fresh,light snack beforehand.
Generally speaking, the same precautions should be taken as for the sauna, i.e. those suffering from cardiovascular disorders, high or low blood pressure, kidney or heart problems should avoid the steam bath, and it is advisable for everyone to have a medical check-up beforehand.
In reality, there is no exact formula that answers the question. The truth is that the best answer is the one our bodies give us.
Certainly, given the lower temperatures, the Turkish bath is much more tolerable than the Finnish sauna. That's why it's not uncommon for admirers of salus per aquam to have a daily hammam session. This is certainly a good way of alleviating the little annoyances of everyday life, carving out a moment of relaxation for oneself. But what about those approaching the world of the steam bath for the first time?
Without doubt, the first "obstacle" is to acclimatise the body to high temperatures. This is why it is best to start with an initial treatment characterised by a cycle of shorter sessions, and therefore shorter than the recommended 15-20 minutes. In order to gradually get used to it, you can repeat the treatment after 2 or 3 days, then moderately increasing both the time spent in the cabin and the weekly frequency of the cycles in the Turkish bath.
The important thing is never to forget to take a short break between sessions, as recommended according to the three steps. The short break between the warm-up and the second cycle gives the skin time to relax and, at the same time, to refresh the body in preparation for the next session in the cabin. And thus enjoy complete satisfaction.
In any case, our organism will guide us: no one can listen to our body's needs and interpret them better than us. Many factors influence this, such as physical fitness, age and the presence of pathologies. In the presence of the latter, it is always best to consult with your doctor, who will be able to advise you as to whether taking a Turkish bath is really the right choice for your psycho-physical well-being.
Just like the Finnish sauna, the heat of the Turkish bath brings multiple benefits to the entire body. In particular, doing the hammam of Arabian tradition correctly affects both psychological and physical well-being. Immersion in the cabin, especially if pervaded by the scent of essential oils, helps to combat the tensions and stress accumulated day after day.
But it is above all the skin that benefits most from the sweat: the humidity inside the cabin stimulates the dilation of the pores, through which toxins are more easily eliminated. The result is softer, smoother, brighter, cleaner and more purified skin.
The benefits of the hammam also apply to health. Especially those who suffer from breathing problems can get relief from the humid steam: the latter acts on the pathways as a decongestant, with a strongly emollient and soothing action. So the steam bath can also increase the immune system's ability to react, protecting it from infection, illness and even allergies, especially in special seasons such as winter and spring.
Not just relaxation, then: taking a Turkish bath is a real beauty and health ritual, a panacea to be followed as often as your body needs or wants. You just need to know how to do it properly!