At Byrdie HQ, it's our MO to celebrate beauty from every corner of the world. The beauty customs of different cultures are unique and steeped in history, and by learning about them, we're able to expand our own perspectives (not to mention pick up a life-changing new tip or two). That's why we're proclaiming this week Global Beauty Week and paying special homage to women far and wide, from Thailand to Russia and beyond. Each day, we'll honor the beauty practices, trends, and traditions of our sisters around the globe—complex, intriguing, and versatile as they are. Enjoy!
We fill a tub with water, throw in some soap, and call it a bath. And while there is nothing wrong with a 10-minute soak—it can do wonders for both the mind and body—it is nothing in comparison to that of a Turkish bath or "hammam". Dating back centuries, Turkish baths aren't only a means to get clean, but they are also a ritualistic experience made up of hot steam, detoxifying body treatments, and a nice cup of tea. To learn more about the experience that is a Turkish bath, as well as its many health benefits, we reached out to New York City's East Village Russian and Turkish Baths, for the team's bathing expertise. Here are all the Turkish bath benefits you ought to know.
1. Removes Toxins
A Turkish bath starts with bathers sitting in a hot room, or sauna if you will. Bathers will steam until their pores are open and their muscles are relaxed. In the process, many bathers will also sweat, which according to East Village Russian and Turkish Baths, is "one of the best ways to help the body in its natural process of the removal of toxins." To capitalize on this detoxifying experience, some bathers choose to participate in a dead sea salt scrub or mud treatment following their steam.
2. Opens Pores
According to East Village Russian and Turkish Baths, the high temperatures in Turkish steam rooms loosen up pores, which allows for a deeper clean than that of a shower. While not quite as effective as a facial, steam is the second best thing, as it frees up dirt and grime while also optimizing the potential of the products you apply afterward.
3. Induces Relaxation
Now more than ever, the pressure and pace of life can lead to an increase in both stress and anxiety. According to East Village Russian and Turkish Baths, "a relaxing schvitz" can promote better mental and physical health, as it is an effective form of hydrotherapy.
4. Clears Sinuses
If you've ever had a serious case of allergies, you likely know that a nice warm steam is a great way to open up your sinuses. And a Turkish bath, with its warm and hot rooms (there are different levels of steam rooms based on whether you are a seasoned bather or new to the experience), will get your sinuses going so that you can hopefully get over those allergies and or cold much sooner.
5. Increases Circulation
Steam stimulates sweat, which eliminates metabolic waste from the body, thus promoting better circulation in the extremities, says East Village Russian and Turkish Baths. However, if you want to increase circulation even more, you can opt for a deep tissue massage following your steam.