Bathhouse blog

10 amazing facts from the history of baths (part 1)

Thermae, hamam, sento, laznya, SPA, in short - baths, places for tidying up, relaxation and hygienic procedures, undoubtedly appeared in the history of civilization at the same time as the concept of "home". Even if this house was a cave. In some time periods baths became a real cult and the center of cultural life, sometimes - something shameful, but it was always there.
1. thaw my bath in the ancient Egyptian way.
Many traditions in the arrangement of baths led to a single system of ancient Egyptian priests. They invented swimming pools, water drainage by means of sewerage and even warm floors - about 6 thousand years ago! For this purpose, water was heated in huge vats in the basement. The boiling water, in turn, heated the ceilings and floor of the upper floor. According to tradition, the average ancient Egyptian priest had to perform ablutions four times a day.

2. Scythian steam room
Herodotus, the first historian known to us, left a detailed description of the baths used by the Scythians. When nomads were camping on the steppe, they arranged one yurt in a special way. Three poles, made in a cone like a chum, were tightly wrapped with felt, which keeps heat perfectly. In the center they built a fire on which they heated stones. Hemp seeds were thrown on the stones. The men of the tribe would sit in a circle, sweat and breathe the hemp steam. Maybe not exactly hygiene - but what a ritual! The Scythians obviously knew how to relax properly. According to Herodotus, this was around 450 BC.
The Scythians had no written language, but we know a lot about their life thanks to the skillful gold chasers found in burial mounds.
Many researchers believe that the tradition of breathing steam in a separate, specially prepared room, the Slavs came from the Scythians, that is, steam bath is a tradition more ancient than the Slavs themselves.

3. Hygiene first and foremost
Speaking of hygiene - this word came into all European languages from ancient Greek. More precisely, from the Greek gods. Hygia was the name of the goddess of health and cleanliness. Thus, visiting the thermae was a "divine" action, an expression of homage to the goddess of purity.
Hygeia, the ancient Greek goddess of health and purity, as seen by Gustav Klimt.
Here the Spartans were the lawmakers. They invented contrasting pools of cold and hot water. The element of hardening and health maintenance for these stern warriors was of great importance. Alexander the Great, having conquered the whole known world in between visits to the steam room, spread the custom of washing and steaming to all eastern nations. The baths in the East are still built in the image of the Spartan baths: round in shape and with a hearth in the middle.

4. Baths without water
Is it possible to organize a bath without water? I would not like to, but sometimes you have to - when it comes to the area where water is a huge deficit, but there is sand in abundance. Then it is necessary to organize a bathhouse in the African way. This requires digging a hollow in the ground to the size of the body - something like a bathtub. A weak fire is lit in it. When the coals turn into ashes, clean sand is poured over the top, the walls are lined with herbs and leaves of medicinal and aromatic plants. Then a person is placed in such a "bath" and literally buried, covering him with the same sand and leaves. Only the head remains above the ground.

You can't wash yourself, but you can get warm and sweaty. The increased heat capacity and reduced thermal conductivity of sand first promotes sweat production and then absorbs it perfectly. The body turns out to be in an almost hermetic cocoon. Properly selected composition of medicinal herbs gives a noticeable therapeutic effect. With the help of such procedures can treat arthritis, rheumatism, kidney, reproductive system and even get rid of cellulite. The main thing - do not forget to dig a person out of the "bath". Staying in it for more than seven minutes can be dangerous - the temperature is kept at 45-50 degrees.
5. Bath sports
Baths and sports have always been strongly connected. Even in the ancient Roman thermae were necessarily equipped with sports grounds. In the modern format of bath sports was formed in Finland, which is quite natural - after all, this is a country where the real cult of national steam room reigns. In Finland, with a population of five and a half million people, there are two million saunas. A sauna for every family!
The World Sauna Sport Championship started in Finland in 1999. The conditions are simple: the participants of the "race" go into a steam room heated to 110 degrees. Every 30 seconds, half a liter of water is poured onto the heated stones. It is not allowed to move, wipe sweat, lower the head below the shoulders and talk. You can only sit. That's it. The world record is 16 minutes and 15 seconds. Among women - 3 minutes and 9 seconds (the author of the record - a Russian woman).