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Home > Latest Articles > A guide to hammam and hammam rituals

A guide to hammam and hammam rituals

What is a hammam?

The word hammam means ‘spread of warmth’ in Arabic, and can be traced back centuries to the Roman and Ottoman empires. The Hammams were important social institutions and were often annexed to mosques thereby complying with the Islamic religious laws of spiritual and physical purification.

Hammam rituals vary widely from country to country and in differing cultures and the rituals experienced at a 5* hotel will differ greatly from the experience you receive in a public bathhouse. However, the overall concepts are similar and should all lead to the same feeling of wellbeing and rejuvenation.

Hammam bathing is a journey through a series of chambers of variable temperatures and humidity, each with its own ritual.

First you undress and wrap yourself in a towel. You then enter the camekan, a changing room and relaxation area. Often, there is a fountain in this room; the gentle rippling sound helps you to relax both physically and mentally.

Most journeys then begin with an acclimatisation in a warm room Tepidarium or sogukluk where the temperature is approx. 35°C. Each of these rooms contains basins with tempered water, which bathers pour over their arms, legs, chest and back using the small bowls provided. After dousing yourself with warm water from the kurna (basin), you enter the harara (hot room).

Bathers then move to a hot room or Caldarium (approx. 45°C). Here sweating is encouraged before either, cooling down in a plunge pool, being scrubbed down to remove dead skin cells or experiencing a massage or mud treatment, often on a heated stone, “hot slab” or ceramic table.

Bathers then enter a cooler room to relax and maybe indulge in ritual tea drinking. Hammam attendants (tellaks) are usually on hand if required to scrub you down, rinse you with cold water and massage you. The tellak may take a massage glove made of raw silk, goats hair or horsehair, and scrub your skin until your pores open, and flaky, dead skin is exfoliated. With the aid of a cloth bag, you’re then covered with soapy lather from head to foot before being doused with water to wash away the sweat and flaky skin.

Plunge pools are available for cooling down in Turkish Hammams whereby Islamic Hammam bathers prefer to wash down with cool water from a hose, basin or bucket. Finally, you return to the camekan (changing room and relaxation room). Including the rest phase at the end, the whole procedure lasts for at least 3 hours.

It is important to note that not all Hammams are the same and we recommend to keep an open mind and enjoy whatever rituals are offered.

Benefits of ahammam

As the body temperature rises in the heat, blood circulation increases which boosts the immune system as the blood vessels dilate. The pores of the skin open allowing toxins to be eliminated and dead skin cells are removed through the scrubbing ritual, leaving your skin clearer, softer and glowing. The aromas, rituals and steam also combine to help relieve stress and relax muscles.

At Dröm UK, we can design and build all kinds of wellness areas to suit your property and use, including hammams.


Talk to the design team at Dröm UK about your wellness project.