TURKISH HAMMAM CULTURE
The baths were not only a place of cleanliness in Turks' life, but also places to be healthy and places where cultural and social activities took place. The use of water for life and health is inevitable. This led people to establish centers such as baths (hammams) and thermal springs.
TURKISH BATHS (HAMMAMS) FOR CLEANING AND SOCIALIZATION
In the past, the baths that met the needs of cleaning and bathing, later became part of the social life in the history, before the development of baths in homes, hammams were places for cleaning and purification as well as being used for socialization centers.
The word Hammam is derived from the words Hammam (Bath) in Arabic and Hamam (Hot) in Hebrew. With the shortest definition, baths can be defined as places for bathing, healing and purification. The importance of bath has been known since ancient times to prevent diseases and find treatment. B.C. IV. It is known that baths were used as a place to be used for the treatment of diseases.
The baths have been architecturally shaped in accordance with the religious beliefs of the societies in different periods and have become part of the social life. However, they found their real architectural character in the Roman era. The baths built on large areas at that time were the centers where sporting and cultural activities were carried out besides cleaning and health.
The baths (hammams) established in Anatolia can be divided into two as a function of the water used: Natural hot water baths and baths working with artificial heating systems.
NATURAL HOT WATER BATHS
They are built on natural hot springs which are generally used for health purposes and thermal springs.
The baths, which have a very important place in the social life of Turks, are used today for health, cleaning and beauty purposes. Hot and cold water pools in the baths, aromatic foam, algae, clay, mud, honey and herbal oil massages and body care techniques are applied.
One of the institutions that our civil architecture does not emphasize sufficiently and does not give importance is the baths (Turkish hammams). The baths, which are of great importance in terms of art and architecture in history, are also important in terms of cultural history. The dome and some other architectural features resemble mosques. The interior design and the architectural elements, as well as the very simple structure samples, magnificent and majestic desigs are also available. When we look at the pre-Ottoman and Ottoman periods in our country, there are countless bath ruins in many regions. The Ottomans, who evaluated the tradition of the Muslim states that came before them, began to establish charities and their affiliated units as soon as they took over the administration. Accordingly, important parts of the internal structures in the renewed baths, which were established with a special architectural structure, were the camegah (dressing place), the coldness (the place to be dried and change loincloth) and the heat (the warmest bathing place of hammams).
HAMMAMS BEFORE THE OTTOMAN PERIOD
When we look at the information recorded by historians and archaeologists in the history, we see that the places for bathing were built independently in Mesopotamia, Babylon, India and ancient Egypt. However, the first examples of the construction of the buildings, the construction of heated systems and the availability of hot water are seen during the Romans. Roman Baths had their heating systems that are similar to the heating systems of today. Later, these structures, especially because of the influence of Ottoman architecture and culture, are known as Turkish Baths (Turkish Hammams) and they are known as world-famous.
THE EFFECTS OF THE HAMMAMS (TURKISH BATHS) ON OTTOMAN CULTURE
The baths have importance in Ottoman culture in all aspects, from speech and correspondence to literature and everyday life. In our culture, women and men go to the bath for bathing and cleanliness. It is important for women to be socialized in those places. There are traditions to go to the hammam on Thursday evenings, and to have the baths that are open all night before and during the religious holidays and festivities.
The tradition of hammams have existed since ancient times in Anatolia. However, it has been a tradition of Turkish baths, which add to this culture both actuality and widespread popularity. Despite the widespread use of baths and showers at homes in large cities, the tradition still remains the same for centuries.
The Turks living in Central Asia carried the hammam culture and traditions, which existed in those times, to Anatolia where they migrated. They added their own traditions to the marble baths cultures created by the people living in previous periods and built many examples.
While hammams were used as places to go for cleaning and healing, the baths have places in our culture as places where special days are celebrated in history. Still continuing today, bridal bath for women, birth bath, baby's fortieth day bath, military bath and religious holiday bath traditions are still applied in the same way.
HAMMAMS and HEALTH
Known benefits of the steam bath since many years are cleaning of the skin and body, removing toxins, increasing blood circulation, stimulating the immune system, supporting the complete physical and mental fitness. In addition, relaxation of the person, such as stress relief muscles relaxation and muscle pain reduction are also known benefits.
For people with asthma and allergic problems, baths and steam baths help to breathe more easily by expanding the air ducts of the lungs. In addition to these, steam baths are good for the skin because they increase the blood flow in the skin and cause perspiration. As a result of a good sweating, the skin pores off the skin and dead skin layer, the skin gains a healthy glare. As a result of sudden fluid loss, the change in water weight and balance in the body is a temporary condition and once the fluid is taken again, the body will complete the amount of water that is missing again.
As a result of chemical reactions of functions with exposure to hot environment and vapor, an effect occurs on the tissues and health in the body.
IMPORTANCE of HAMMAMS for HEALTH
- Lightening of muscular tensions and pain, joint pain relief
- Supporting the immune system
- Efficient cleaning of toxins from the surface of the skin with sweating
- Stress relief and relaxation
- Cleaning of the lymphatic system
- Accelerating blood circulation
- Reduction of occlusion in the sinus due to cold, asthma or allergic conditions
- Keeping the skin young and fresh
- Regulation of metabolic activity of the body
- Effects of steam baths on the removal of body fat and toxins
- Increasing the amount of oxygen at the cellular level
- Effect of steam heat and steam baths as one of the therapies used against cancer and infectious diseases
HAMMAM and SPA
SPA (Sanitas Per Aquam) literally means 'health from water'. The SPA, which we hear frequently and includes many applications, is actually consists of modernizing the tradition of baths and making them available everywhere. The places known as SPA are health centers where beauty and cosmetic applications are applied in combination with water and health. It is possible to find a wide variety of SPA treatments in Turkish baths. Body treatments, such as hot-cold water, steam, marble (stone), traditional bath glove for cleaning and purification, foam bath, clay, moss, mud, vegetable oil and plant care, massage, etc. A real Turkish Hammam includes the system we call SPA. Understanding our centennial Hammam culture, and serving clean, accurate and hygienic service is necessary. By combining the traditional methods of bathing with actual modern methods, there is a need for businesses that offer it to everyone. For this, it is necessary to deliver ourselves to the competent, educated and knowledgeable persons.
IMPORTANT ISSUES for HEALTH and SAFETY BEFORE ENTERING HAMMAMS
- Remove jewelry and glasses before entering the bath. The metal may become hot immediately. Heated metal can affect capillary. In addition, erythema (skin redness) and irritation in the skin may occur.
- Contact lenses may cause eye irritation, so they must be removed before entering the bath.
- It is inconvenient in terms of health to enter the hammam on a full stomach. When the food is eaten before the bath, there will be tension on the circulatory system. As before exercise, it is healthier to wait for one or two hours before entering the bathhouse.
- Baths are not healthy on an empty stomach. The bath will use your energy like an exercise, causing the loss of liquid and minerals. There is a risk of nausea or fainting when some people experience exhaustion.
- Avoid entering the bath when you are physically exhausted.
- Hammam and hot baths are not suitable for alcohol. It is inconvenient to drink alcohol before entering the Hammam.
- A hot bath may be dangerous to the people with low/high blood pressure.
- It is not recommended to enter the baths in cases of severe heart disease or breathing difficulties.