The sauna and hammam are both traditional heat treatments that have been prized by their respective cultures for centuries. They have also become popular worldwide, with the sauna popping up in every hotel and gym and becoming shorthand for any kind of heat/steam room.
Both treatments have their fans, but should you opt for a hammam or a sauna? Let’s find out.
The benefits of a sauna
A traditional sauna provides hot, dry air usually in a temperature range of 70 to 100 degrees Celsius. Here are some of the health benefits of a sauna:
Relaxes muscles/eases Pain. The heat of a sauna helps the muscles relax and eases away tensions. Increased blood flow speeds up the body’s healing powers. It also helps the body release endorphins which have a mild tranquilising effect, helping reduce pain.
Flushes toxins. The sweating that you experience from a sauna is not your light sweat from exercise, it’s a deep sweat which helps release impurities from the body including levels of toxins such as lead, copper and mercury.
Boosts the immune system. Several studies have shown that regular sauna use reduces the incidence of colds and influenza. It also helps clear the respiratory tract and sinuses.
But what about the hammam?
Benefits of the hammam
Although the hammam also uses heat, it puts more emphasis on steam and of course, you get the incredible cleansing effect of the massage stage of the treatment.
Cleanses the skin. During a hammam you’ll be in a hot steamy environment, which promotes sweating, but you’ll also have an olive-based soap applied to your body which penetrates your pores and cleanses them deeply. Then the scrubbing stage strips away dead skin, leaving clean, new skin.
Invigorates the body. The intense scrubbing and massage aspect of a hammam means that the body experiences a massive increase in blood flow which awakens the senses. After your hammam you’ll feel totally rejuvenated.
Relieves stress. The intense heat and steam, coupled to a massage element, means that few treatments will leave you feeling as de-stressed as a hammam. Not only do physical tensions get released but you’ll also find that your mind clears.
So, which to go for? Well, if you want to really clean your skin and feel invigorated then a hammam is the way to go. If you want to sweat out the toxins and enjoy a relaxing experience then the sauna is probably best.
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