Hey Royal Fam!
Angela here with another travel adventure! In this weeks journey, I had the incredible opportunity to experience an traditional "Royal Moroccan Hammam” here in Qatar. Long time readers know, I've been a practicing nudist for some time. Yet, finding naked friendly spaces in the Middle East has been nearly impossible ... Until? I discovered traditional hammams.
These bathhouses have been a staple in Arabic culture for centuries, notably since the Ottoman Empire (circa 14th century). Historically, they were used for ritualistic cleansing, particularly before prayer or prior to sexual relations. In modern times, they remain an integral part of wellness and play and important role in self-care. After countless Pinterest photos of far flung places featuring these bathhouses, I absolutely jumped at the chance to visit my local Qatari spa and soak in this once in a lifetime experience.
Thinking of checking on out a hammam during your travels? Here's a few FYI tips to keep in mid as preparation.
Hammam bathhouses (which are separated my gender) involves getting FULLY naked. Unlike your typical spa, where paper underwear is often given to guests to provide at least some sense of covering (and in some cases dignity, LOL) .. Visiting a hammam means making peace with your body and stripping all the way down. This means no swimsuit, no bra, no panties / underwear .. NOTHING but you, the hamaman therapist, and possibly other people enjoying the space. If you find you're not as free-spirited about public nudity, you make want to get your mind right before arriving. Also? No photos. I lucked out in having the space all to myself. Typically, hammams are a shared space. Respecting the privacy of others is an absolute must.
A major part of the hamman experience is cleansing. You’ll be showered / bathed repeatedly over the course of your visit. During my stay, my skin was washed about 4-5 times in different forms. The water temperature ranged from steaming hot to a freezing cold splash at the end to invigorate the system and seal in all that yummy moisture. If you happen to have sensitivity to warm or cold climates, please check with your doctor before visiting.
Hot Oil Treatment
During your session, after your 1st or 2nd shower, your hammam technician will begin to apply several moisture rich oils and butters to your skin. In my case, after being rubbed down with a platter of scented oils, I was covered head to toe in raw (whipped) black soap. Afterward, although the entire hammam space was slightly heated, I was placed inside a private steam room to allow the oils to fully penetrate deep into my skin. Amazing is not even the word. Again, if you have health concerns which make you sensitive to extreme heat (like asthma or special medications), please consult your doctor.
The Take Down
After yet another shower, the hammam technician will proceed to scrub every (and I mean eeeevery) nook and cranny of your body. Down to your very existence, LOL! ... Being fully transparent? It felt a bit rough in the beginning and took some getting used to. Ultimately, I had to ask myself ... When have I ever had my skin thoroughly exfoliated like this? The answer was never. The scrubbing was followed by yet another table top bath of oils, then by a detoxifying mud wrap and deep tissue massage. Ultimately, if you can push through? On the other side is skin softer than a fresh icecream cone on a summer day.
After my treatment, my skin was not only brighter (especially in the areas where I normally shave), but my body as a whole felt incredibly relaxed. If you ever have a chance, I highly recommend giving hamams a try. Clearly, I was asleep at the skin wheel. Why didn't you guys tell me about these sooner, LOL!
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Hope to see you there!
As always? Till next time, the Journey Continues!