Hammams are an integral part of Middle Eastern culture, but can be found all over the globe. Traditionally individuals from all walks of life took part in this weekly ritual. Hammams date back to the Ottoman Empire. It was a place to witness the Sultans’ power and wealth. As such they played a major role in Turkey’s culture and history. According to www.metmuseum.org, they also served as meeting places where people could relax and socialize. Young, old, male and female enjoyed the health benefits these steam rooms provided. Hammams are distinguished by its focus on steam, water and massage.

Hot WaterCleansing and Relaxation is your only goal once you enter a hammam. What makes hammams so appealing? It lies within its extensive multi-step ritual of detoxification. Starting with purification, followed by exfoliation and cleans ing, ending with an oil massage. It’s no wonder hammams are now trending among Westerners. When in France, a hammam to check out is Zein Oreintal Spa. Having had the pleasure of visiting two locations, Nantes and Marseille, Zein does not disappoint. You will find Zein in the Old Port of Marseille, along the Mediterranean.

In Nantes, Zein is located in The Lieu Unique, The National Center for Contemporary Arts and Music. Both locations are similar in décor and ambiance. The Lieu Unique is housed in a former biscuit factory at the center of the city. Getting to Zein will feel like an adventure in itself as you walk through a mini art museum coupled with some bookshops with many young people singing or dancing in the lobby.

One might begin to feel as if they are in the wrong place, but not to worry as the French merchants that run their shops in the center are all too familiar with the face of bewilderment from those seeking retreat in Zein. You will be directed into the basement. You will be pleasantly surprised as you are now transported into an underground exotic Moroccan styled hammam. Be prepared and bring your bathing suit. Traditionally male and females never have sessions together. However, you will find most modern hammams accommodate and have co-ed hours. You will be provided with a robe and slippers. The first stage of your treatment begins with entering the hararet, a steam room with plunge pool. Relax as the steam

Cleansing and
relaxation is your
only goal once you
enter a hammam.

begins to open up your pores. Perspiration is key to rid the body of toxins. Next, you will proceed to the cold shower room. Black soap is provided along with a kessa hammam exfoliating glove. An attendant will scrub you down if you begin to feel as if they are in the wrong place, but not to worry as the French merchants that run their shops in the center are all too familiar with the face of bewilderment from those seeking retreat in Zein. You will be directed into the basement. You will be pleasantly surprised as you are now transported into an underground exotic Moroccan styled hammam. Be prepared and bring your bathing suit. Traditionally male and females never have sessions together. However, you will find most modern hammams accommodate and have co-ed hours. You will be provided with a robe and slippers. The first stage of your treatment begins with entering the hararet, a steam room with plunge pool.

Relax as the steam begins to open up your pores. Perspiration is key to rid the body of toxins. Next, you will proceed to the cold shower room. Black soap is provided along with a kessa hammam exfoliating glove. An attendant will scrub you down if you choose. This is an additional fee. After your full body wash you will receive a massage with the oil of your choosing. Relax in the lounge room known as the camekan with complimentary tea and snacks. The best feature about hammams is there are no time restrictions. The typical cost for visiting a hammam can range from $65 -$125 USD. Enjoy experiencing the mystifying vibes of a hammam while enjoying its health benefits.

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