From Russia with Love
Borrowing from long-held ancient steaming traditions from Russia, the country’s best Russian schvitzs offer a restorative fix for dry skin and pre-holiday stress while spiriting you away from the weather conditions. Although the weather is never too rough here in Miami, we would love to join you there.
Banya or banja is a room or building designed as a place to experience dry or wet heat sessions. In Russian, the word “banya” may also refer to a public bathhouse, most historically famous being the Sanduny (Sandunovskie bani).
Russian baths have the same levels of humidity than the air we breathe: about 60%; this makes breathing relatively easy and enjoyable, and their temperatures often will exceed 93 degrees Celsius (199 °F).
Once inside, some people prefer to sit on a small mat to protect the skin from the hot, dry wood of the interior benches and felt hats are typically worn to protect the head from the intense heat. In Russia, these hats are commonly sold in sets with felt mitts, along with aromatherapy extracts.
To improve circulation, people often “hit” themselves (or others) with dried branches and leaves from white birch, eucalyptus or oak, called “venik.”
The venik is usually moistened with hot water before use, and it plays a great role warming up of the body. It improves blood circulation, intensifies skin capillary activities, enhances the metabolism and prevents premature aging of the skin. Venik leaves release phytoncides, antimicrobial allelochemic volatile organic compounds derived from plants that inhibit the growth and development of pathogens.
In Russia, after the first good sweat is induced, it is common to cool off in the breeze outdoors or splash around in the cold water of a river or lake. In the winter, people may roll naked in the snow on or dip in lakes where holes have been cut into the ice. Then, they re-enter the bath.
Although the second sweat is usually the first time venik is used, some people wait until the third session. After each sweat, cooling off is repeated; the perfect time for a break, to have a drink, play games or relax in good company.
Ready for a dip? Here’s a guide to traditional Russian baths and banya reviews in the US and another link to the Russian & Turkish baths, the one (and only) option we have here in Miami.
Наслаждайтесь!Tags: get dirty, house of senses, Personal Care, Sauna, Schvitz