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The Russian banja sauna - traditional Russian steam bath and bath house
Banja is a term used to describe a Russian steam bath as well as a traditional Russian bath house. Similar to the Finnish sauna, the Russian banja is made from wood and consists of three rooms: The sweat/steam room, a wash room and a relaxation room.
The Russian banja is heated through a wood burner and is much hotter than the Finnish sauna. The temperature can go well above 100°C.It is also common to pour water over heated rocks. Water or ice, with added essential oils, is poured on the stones in the sauna. This creates high humidity, which has a much greater effect on the heat.
Like in the Finnish sauna, the body is patted with soaked birch twigs, which can either be done yourself or by the person next to you. This process is refreshing and will also stimulate blood circulation. It is important to ensure that there are still leaves on the twigs or the patting may be painful. The water that was used to soak the birch twigs can then poured over the stones.
In Russia, men and women visit a banja separately, either by using separate rooms or by having different visiting times.
A visit to a banja improves blood circulation to the skin, helps with muscle tension and strengthens the immune system. However, a banja should be avoided if suffering from any acute infections, varicose veins or cardiovascular diseases.
Like the Finnish sauna, the banja has a social element. It is a place to meet friends and do business.
Related topics: Hamam , Steam bath – aromatherapy steam bath , Finnish sauna