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littlekate
According to the Russian saying, every frog would glorify its swamp, so, I'm supporting the russian banya. Banya is normally a log or stone made house where the temperature is raised up to the highest bearable point. The heating thing (stove, where some firewood is burned) is poured with hot water to produce steam. Steam helps to heat up a human being to the bones, to melt him (or her) down. Ideally, the heated person must be beaten properly with the properly soaked bunch of birch-tree twigs to stimulate blood circulation, and then cooled down in some cold pool or some natural waterway. Then heating, beating and cooling procedure is repeated.
I think, finnish sauna is the same thing only without steaming and beating. In dry conditions a human being can survive higher temperature, but I think banya is more healthy and exciting.
My idea about Turkish bath is very vague. I only know it is has something to do with steam and heating.
Dear Finns and Turks, please, enlighten the subject on your side.
starlagurl
I went to a Russia banya and it was very interesting!

It was almost like torture! And I also got sick immediately afterwards. I don't know if that had anything to do with the banya, but that's what happened.

Here's my blog post about it: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entri...27540/tpod.html
littlekate
Luise, I think Izba you visited in Canada is a strange mix of spa and banya, most obviously with some Russian roots. The very word Izba is translatable from Russian – means hut. The idea of exact timing is wrong, because the time needed for heating and cooling depends on individuality and the individuality's physical and spiritual conditions. Some people like heating and some – cooling, but proper procedure needs them both. The more you are heated the more cooling you will like. Cool and warm baths – never seen anything like this in banyas. Bunches of seeweeds look like spa-transfigured bunches of birch wigs. I think, Izba people are a bit taken away by spa things and massage (which are not necessary in Russian bath) while doing something completely wrong with temperature regime (which is critical).
starlagurl
It definitely was strange!

Yeah, it definitely wasn't "authentic" but they tried I guess...
littlekate
No, they didn’t. The target was to follow the modern spa tendencies and to earn money. If they reproduced the authentic banya no one would come. I do not think many people in Canada know that proper banya is such a good thing. Even in my place not many of them know.
starlagurl
Does a real Russian banya hurt? Maybe there are rules against that in Canada.
littlekate
No, Luise, it does not hurt. Hurting means that something is done wrongly. Of course, you need to endure something you may find unpleasant at first, high temperature, for instance, but only to get more pleasure in the end. Then after cooling down you start to relax and enjoy heat. Even the birch-tree-twig beating must not hurt, because the twigs are soaked and prepared properly.
sibways
hi, as Russian I could add that the perfect temperature for banya has to be not more than 80 of Celcius. Moreover an experienced user smile.gif firstly performes the ventilation for a while then adds water to stones with little portions. Then he spreads a steam along the room and begins the process with gentle slaps by broom from his legs and higher! No hurt at all if you prepare the broom properly in warm but not boiling water. After your skin becomes coloured with red spots jump to snow immediately! You're in deep space.
starlagurl
What's with the cold water that got splashed on me then? Why did they do that?
sibways
that's for nice tonic effect for your vessels. The best time to jump in snow or get cold water is after the third repetition of steam room. The main reason is to have the inner body parts heated before applying cold.
starlagurl
I got REALLY sick from it the next day. It was terrible.
sibways
Unproper using the banya is the reason. Before applying cold water the body must be heated sufficiently (3 or even 4 times of consequent visiting steamroom) with up to 10 minutes of rest between them in warm room. No flu but deep sleep, morning easiness and nice skin.
Be consequent when getting arranged with the temperature. Begin with short time and add 2-5 minutes every visiting steamroom. Thus you avoid overheating and heavy head.
80 degrees of Celcius are the limit. No alcohol.
starlagurl
Hmmm, interesting. I think they did it the right way... it sounded like you describe it...
littlekate
Louise, most probably, you have not reached your personal boiling point before being cooled down. You may belong to heat-loving people.
Thank you, sibways, I like your comments and support them completely.
sibways
You're welcome. Certainly Louise lost more heat than received, if we talk about symptoms of catarrh. The different bad feeling comes due to overheating and bad ventilation in steamroom. In that case the head is heavy and there is feel of weakness. So the banya requires some experience in maintaining the fire and some science approach. I have my own banya but sometimes I'm not very attentive to the process and fail to get best results. Also a banya mustn't be crowded - the right reason to fail.
In villages the banya was the place of accouchement as the cleanest place in home. By the way russian lairds used a banya to sweat out and get rid of crapulence. In ancient Russia unfamiliar men and women went to banya together like in Germany now.

starlagurl
This is all new to me! "personal boiling point" and "crapulence"!

What do you mean when you talk about these things?
sibways
Crapulence = the morning after enjoyable party with cocktails.
littlekate
Boiling point= the right time to be cooled down, your head including, a point of overheating.
And about unacquainted men and women meeting in bany in some ancient times - that's new for me. Though I think you feel very sexless in bnya, so I perfectly understand Finns and Germans both sexes attending banya at the same time.
sibways
yap, much times before Orthodoxy came to Russia, our ancestors used banya together with neighbors to save the heat and hot water. I guess there was no sex behaviour as the ethnic morals were much higher than contemporary ones.
They lived as a commune and there was no any pietism to hide the nudity.
Yap, in banya I prefer to stay relaxed and would concentrate on right steam only smile.gif
flat5263
in banya, birch leaves are still attached to the twigs. birch is very healthy. after steaming (water is poured over heated rocks) yourself, you jump naked into the snow. it is not cold. you rub snow all over and then back to the hot room and do it again. like wash-rinse-repeat.
in turkey, they just scrub you with a pad, roll off dead skin by the kilogram!! and it is not so heated. 55 degrees C at most. banya is 70C. you really sweat! you can wear a "helmet" of felt for insulating your brain.
littlekate
Thank you Flat! Perfect explanation, but again coming from Russian. I guess, you are Russian judging from your obvious inclinations towards banya. Recently I was in the Turkish bath, only it was a genuine turkish bath, since it was in India yes.gif Where are Turks and Finns? Where are their valuable comments?
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