Russian sauna, or Banya, has always been important part of Russian culture. In ancient Russia, Russian bath was connected to all the most important events: birth, marriage, recovery from a serious illness. Thus, there was a tradition that necessarily had to go to the Russian sauna before the wedding and the day after the wedding. Our ancestors believed that the purpose of bath is not so much to purify the body, how to purify the soul. Bath has always been considered the best way to overcome sickness, evil eye, and everything bad. It was believed, even if the patient is not helped bath, and then there is nothing to help.
According to historians, Russians were using Russian bath in fifth century. Interesting fact that Russian saunas were used by rich, a noble people and ordinary people, so it is unfair to consider the Russian people uncivilized, backward and do not have any idea of personal hygiene. Russian sauna - one of the oldest, she appeared almost simultaneously with the very emergence of the Slavs. Russian baths have always played a huge role in the lives of Russian people.
And, indeed, a Russian steam bath does not compare with any European or Asian baths. It, in contrast, has much stronger effect. And an indispensable attribute is birch or oak twigs, which whip hot bodies so that it resembles the foreigners as a torture. In Russian sauna, under the blows of branches of birch or oak, they felt that their death has come and stands on the threshold. But after taking the Russian bath foreigners reported that they feel just great. Russian baths aroused interest among foreign guests.
Russian Venus by Russian artist Kustodiev
They were surprised to alternate traditions of the Russian sauna heat with a dip in the ice-hole, pouring cold water and rubbing with snow. The glory of the Russian bath-healer spread throughout the world. In Old Russia, almost every house had a sauna. Bath stoked up only once a week, on Saturdays, the Saturdays were considered to be bath days, and nobody was working on Saturdays. But the most value had big public baths, where there were not just for washing, but for the steam and the rest, because in the large steam rooms create a totally unique and stunning effect. Interesting fact that in the fifteen-seventeen centuries practiced joint bathing of men and women. It was the same way in Europe at that time; however foreigners were surprised by freedom of manners and relationships in a Russian sauna. According to general opinion, the Russians were completely devoid of false modesty, whole family together with children was taking a Russian family sauna.
Russian sauna. Photo is taken from rubanya.ru
Russian Sauna Types
In the past there were three ways to steam:
Black way - is the very first bath types. They had an open fire, which warmed the room. Smoke escaped through a door or vent in the ceiling.
White way - this type of Russian bath always had a furnace with a capacity for water heating. Smoke got out through the chimney and did not get to the steam room. This type of bath was way simpler and easier to have. By the way, the design of “white way” Russian sauna is still used in building of individual baths.
Third type is really hard to picture… It is bath inside the furnace. Furnace mouth in the Russian houses had very broad arches - half of meter in height and a one and half in depth. After bread was backed, anybody who wanted to have a bath climbed inside. The size of furnace allowed to do so. But before a bath, ash had to be removed and hot stove bottom had to be covered by with straw.
Russian sauna accessories:
In order to make your time in the Russian steam room was most comfortable, you'll need the amenities. What distinguishes bath accessories and what they are useful?
Sauna broom. This tool has a special status. For avid bathers is perhaps the most important tool. On what the broom and the ability to use it depends on the number and the pleasure of bathing and healing effect. Small branches, depending on the tree have different properties: some stimulate, others soothe, some treat colds and other rheumatic conditions, one can bathe all the time, others - occasionally. It is important to choose the right this bath tool!
Hat. This bath accessory is designed to protect your hair and head from the effects of hot steam and heat. In addition a hat is an element of style in the steam room. There are a wide range of various hats - budenovoka, papakha, caps, baseball caps and other incredible and bizarre shapes.
Slippers. Slippers for Russian bath can be divided into two types: felt - suitable for dry steam in your own sauna, and slippers made of thick material - suitable for wet pair and good if your go to public baths. It is recommended to use the slipper made of natural materials, as synthetic materials when heated may produce harmful to the body.
Mittens. Anyone who likes to have sauna treatment knows how hot steam burns your hands when wave a sauna broom, here come to the rescue mittens, which are mainly made of felt and can protect you from the very high temperatures and steam. Beside the sauna broom you often pick up some other attributes: a bucket or basin, which are very hot too.
Tub and a dipper. Tub is used as a receptacle for water. Tubs for Russian bath made of wood or other wood lime. Tubs are oval or round shape. Dipper is for pouring water or herb infusions on the hot stones to produce steam.
Russian banya benefits
And, finally, let's talk about the benefits of Russian banya:
Increase resistance to a variety of colds and the body is hardened under the influence of bath procedures.
Russian sauna contributes to the removal of toxins in our bodies and to deep cleaning of skin.
Increasing activity of the heart and lungs during bathing in Russian sauna has a great effect and contributes to their endurance.
Steam helps relax muscles and gives wonderful recovery.
Tips for beginners "bathers"
Before visiting the sauna room do not soak your head. Dry hair protects your head from overheating, improve sensation of heat. You can wear a woolen had, and from time to time to wet it with cold water.
Birch branches fill a steam room with a pleasant aroma, and using it on a body will have a beneficial massaging effect, increase the influence of hot steam.
If you decide pour cold water over your body, which is an effective tool for toughening up, do not forget of principle of gradual toughening up. Start with cool water and gradually go to the ice-cold water.
You shouldn’t bath in Russian sauna more than one or two times a week.
In the Russian bath drinks are always a necessity, but the food - overkill. If you are already had a heavy meal, you'd better go to the sauna after a few hours. Drinking in the bath must be in moderation. Another important rule: ALCOHOL AND BATH IS NOT COMPATIBLE! You are putting a serious pressure on the heart and kidneys by using alcohol in Russian bath. Using of alcoholic beverages in the bath causing serious harm to your health! To quench your thirst in the Russian steam bath you should drink a herbal tea, kvass, compote, or mineral water. Drinks in the bath should not be cold, it's better if they are a room temperature.