Hammam Health Benefits | If you haven’t heard of a hammam, you might be missing out big time. This bath and spa treatment has been around for thousands of years and is designed to get you relaxed, recharged, and revitalized.
The hammam ritual is composed of several steps to ensure you feel exfoliated and calm. A traditional hammam will have multiple rooms with increasing levels of heat. From entering the camekan to enjoying a scrub in a hararet, the hammam offers a meditative and therapeutic experience.
One of the main differences between a hammam and a traditional thermal spa is the hammam’s use of hot steam. Unlike sauna rooms that use wood, hammam rooms use marble or stone, making the heat more radiant and diffused.
Hammam’s hot steam is attributed to many health benefits, such as a deep and refreshing cleanse and promoting blood circulation. Aside from nourishing your skin, a hammam can also boost your immunity and respiratory and cardiovascular health.
Here, we round up the top nine health benefits of going to a hammam. We outlined the evidence-based reasons why hammam is good for your skin, health, and overall well-being.
1. It Can Boost The Immune System
The hammam’s hot steam helps elevate your body temperature, causing the production of more disease-fighting white blood cells.
With regular visits to a hammam, your body’s immune system gets reinforced, and it becomes more ready to ward off common illnesses like colds, flu, and other respiratory diseases.
The Turkish bath or hammam was even included in a 2021 study on how hydrothermotherapy can prevent and treat mild to moderate covid-19 cases. The study shows that the humidity in Turkish baths increases the white blood count in the body after cooling down. 1
2. Helps Alleviate Muscle Pain And Tension
If you’re suffering from pain, a relaxing time at a hammam might be what you need. Heat has long been proven to help soothe muscle pain and rheumatism.
When you relax in a hot steam bath, you warm up your sore joint or muscle, causing your blood vessels to dilate. This is called vasodilation which allows more blood and oxygen to flow to different areas of the body, relaxing your sore muscles and joints. 2
Study shows that hammam sessions significantly reduced the pain scores of the participants. This was due to high humidity and temperature and other rituals such as massage, foaming, and water therapy in the main room. 3
3. Nourishes And Softens Your Skin
Hammam doesn’t only make you feel good, but it can make you look good. Regular hammam treatment can do wonders for your skin. Parts of the hammam ritual are a body scrub, soaking, and the application of a special soap.
Many traditional hammam treatments use argan oil or other olive-based soap rich in vitamin E, nourishing and exfoliating the skin. You also use kees, a soft glove to help you exfoliate your skin.
Hammam treatments can also include a rhassoul or ghassoul wrap, considered the “ultimate cleansing care.” The ghassoul wrap is a volcanic clay wrap with eucalyptus or orange blossom.
Rhassoul is an antibacterial mineral that effectively and safely removes dead skin cells, tightens pores, and reduces sebum. Studies show that rhassoul can help treat skin complications. 4
The heat also opens up your pore for a deeper cleansing to eliminate the dirt, toxins, and other harmful substances your skin absorbs everyday.
4. Total Relaxation Of The Mind And Body
Hammam is a total relaxation of your mind and body. As your body rejuvenates and invigorates with the hot steam and spa treatment, your mind also calms and detoxifies negativity.
Originally, hammams were made near mosques or prayer places to facilitate the purification of body and soul before prayer rituals. The process of cleansing and purifying your body is a meditative process that will calm your mind, improve your focus, and allow you to think more clearly.
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5. Good Sleep
After treatment at a hammam, you will feel relaxed, which can also help you sleep better. Those who have trouble sleeping will find a hammam visit beneficial in the sleep cycle.
According to studies, warm water before going to sleep can stimulate blood flow to your hands and feet, relaxing your entire body. A study also showed that taking a hot bath one to three hours before bedtime helps the elderly sleep better. 5
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Aside from soft and moisturized skin, a regular hammam treatment can give you a youthful glow.
Hot steam can promote the production of collagen and elastin, proteins that keep your skin cells strong and flexible. It can help the skin regain its shape, resulting in firmer and younger-looking skin. Sweat also stimulates cell renewal, allowing the skin to regenerate faster.
7. It Can Improve Respiratory Health
Hammam treatment is also linked to improving respiratory health symptoms. Thermotherapy or heat therapy has long been studied for its improvement on lung health. 6
The scents of essential oils such as eucalyptus during hammam sessions also have decongesting and antiseptic benefits.
8. Relieve stress, Improve Mental Health
It’s best to schedule your hammam for several hours to truly enjoy the relaxing experience. When you are in no rush, you have more time to calm and relax your body and mind. It will detoxify your skin, body, and mind from stress and anxiety.
Hammam practitioners learn massage and touch therapy to put you into a deep form of relaxation that will relieve your mind of tension.
Studies have shown that massage and touch therapy significantly improves your mood and can help those suffering from mental health problems. It helps reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and irritability. It can also boost the happy hormones such as serotonin and dopamine in your body. 7
During your hammam session, a few drops of lavender or eucalyptus essential oils can soothe and relax your mind.
9. Improve Blood Circulation And Metabolic Rate
If you’re feeling sluggish and unenergetic, a session at a hammam might just give you a boost of energy.
Hammam therapy can help improve blood circulation, increase heart rate, and metabolic rate. This vasodilation can help lead to an improvement in your high blood pressure.
While in the hottest room, your blood vessels dilate as you sweat and help blood properly circulate to your brain, organs, limbs, and the rest of the body.
A study also showed the positive effects of hammam on people with metabolic syndrome, a disease that increases your risk for developing cardiovascular issues, stroke, and diabetes. 8
Despite the health benefits, it’s still best to consult your doctor before visiting a hammam if you suffer from cardiovascular health issues.
Health Benefits Of Hammam – In Short
UK-based nutritionist Sarah Flower recommends a Turkish bath as a natural way of detoxifying. According to her, the treatment can remove harmful toxins in our body like salt, alcohol, heavy metals, and even nicotine.
“These baths have also been proven to help with mental health, as it helps to aid true relaxation and stimulate your immune system, increase your circulation, and aid lymphatic drainage,” she added.
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Traditionally part of Islam’s purification ritual, the hammam now represents a moment of self-care. It’s a relaxing moment of rejuvenating and invigorating your mind, soul, and body. A trip to the hammam might be just the thing you need if you’re feeling down and out.