Since ancient times, the Turkish bath has been a practice designed for relaxation and it comes from the same ancient tradition as the 'purifying baths'.
But are the Turkish bath and the sauna the same thing?
The Turkish bath is a water application in the form of hot steam, while the sauna is essentially dry. The Turkish bath takes place in an isolated and waterproofed room with saturated steam at a temperature of 40°-43° C. As the temperature is lower than that inside the sauna, you can stay longer inside the Turkish bath, although it obviously depends on the individual. The Turkish bath is an excellent therapy for fighting stress, tension, skin problems such as acne or dermatitis and it has relaxing effect. The heat causes the pores to dilate, allowing the skin to rid itself of impurities, thereby becoming firmer, brighter and softer. The Turkish bath is also very beneficial in case of colds, flu and respiratory disorders in general, while the sauna is not recommended in such cases.
An interesting fact: man has always been aware of the beneficial effects of steam. In fact, even the Native American Indians frequently used steam baths during their purification rituals to eliminate toxins and also for relaxing and achieving greater union between body and mind. The purification ritual was certainly a remarkable experience: for 4 days and 4 nights, while fasting, they never came out of the conical tent, closed at the top, inside which the steam was produced using a pot over a fire, fed by hot coals and heated stones. The use of specific diuretic and soothing herbal teas also led to the deep elimination of toxins and it is said that, in these moments, people gained greater awareness of paranormal abilities buried deep within them.
Another curiosity: anyone who stays in the Amazon Rainforest for more than 30 days will eliminate almost every illness simply because the temperature is around 40 degrees C and humidity is at 90%. In fact, this climate creates forced drainage in any human body that is not accustomed to such climates, thanks to constant sweating. In latitudes like this one, it is therefore necessary to eat properly in order to avoid losing vitamins and minerals through constant sweating. In the Mediterranean area, the steam bath technique was used by Greeks, Latins and Egyptians. In Northern Europe this technique underwent a change and became the Sauna. The Japanese also know about steam baths and still practice them routinely, almost every week.
Increasing body temperature with steam dilates the blood vessels and blood flows better and in greater quantity in every part of the body. Not only that, but lymph also flows much better and throughout the body, thus strengthening the organism, instead of accumulating blood and lymph in certain parts of the body as generally happens. All this facilitates the breakdown of toxins and favours their elimination: via sweat, urine, faeces and mucus. Excellent results are obtained in steam baths by drinking infusions and herbal teas.
How should a steam bath (Turkish bath) be taken?
An important point to remember is that ANY PERSON SUFFERING FROM CARDIOVASCULAR DISORDERS MUST NOT USE THIS TECHNIQUE. With these disorders, we recommend bandaging or other techniques.
1) Enter the Turkish bath and stay until you feel throbbing in your temples: this is the signal indicating that you are sufficiently heated.
2) At this point take a quick all-over cold shower immediately, but do not stay in the shower too long as it serves basically to refresh the skin, then return to the steam and warm up again until the temples start to throb once more. This alternating hot/cold process is essential in order to obtain good bodily reactions.
3) At the end, usually after alternating 4-6 times and after the last shower cold, dry yourself leaving the skin moist and then get dressed.
4) At the end of this technique you can go to bed, staying well covered-up, to create a sweat reaction or you can go for a walk, maintaining a rapid pace, clothed and without getting cold.
The Turkish bath is also recommended at every Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. Remember to use it before meals, eat little and, if possible, try to be vegetarian, eating a lot of raw vegetables. While using the Turkish bath it is very important to drink plenty of water.