Wellness Etiquette & FAQ

Find everything you need to know from A to Z in the following guide!

Wellness Dictionary:

A thermal bath is a pool of water filled with naturally occurring warm mineral-rich water sourced from geothermally heated springs. These baths are often found in spa towns and are renowned for their therapeutic properties, which can include improving circulation, reducing stress, and aiding skin health. Thermal baths can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors and may be equipped with various hydrotherapy features, such as jets and whirlpools. Visitors typically soak in the thermal waters for relaxation and health benefits.

A sauna is a room designed for experiencing dry or wet heat sessions, which can induce perspiration. The temperature inside a sauna can vary from about 70°C to 100°C (158°F to 212°F). Traditional Finnish saunas use dry heat with a low level of humidity, while Turkish-style saunas, also known as steam rooms, use moist heat. There are also various types of saunas, such as infrared saunas, which use infrared heaters to emit radiant heat that is absorbed directly into the body. Saunas are used for both relaxation and health benefits, such as relieving muscle tension, improving cardiovascular performance, and promoting detoxification through sweating.

A hammam is a public bathing establishment originating from the Middle Eastern and North African regions, with roots tracing back to Roman thermae. Characterized by a focus on water and steam, hammams traditionally feature a series of progressively warmer rooms culminating in a hot steam room. Patrons move through these rooms for deep cleansing and relaxation, often concluding with a massage and a cold plunge. The architecture is typically ornate, with domed ceilings, intricate tilework, and central marble stones for massages. Hammams serve as social and cultural hubs, providing a communal space for ritualized bathing, relaxation, and social interaction.

A steam room is an enclosed space with high humidity and heat, typically ranging between 40°C and 50°C. It uses a steam generator to release moist heat into the air, opening pores, soothing muscles, and promoting relaxation. Steam rooms are commonly found in spas, gyms, and wellness centers, and users typically sit in the steam for short periods to sweat out toxins and impurities from the body.

A sanarium is a type of sauna that offers lower temperatures than a standard (Finnish) sauna, usually between 45°C and 60°C. It combines the elements of a traditional sauna and a steam room. The humidity can be regulated, often between 40% and 60%, to create a comfortable environment that is less intense than a standard (Finnish) sauna. Sanariums are designed to provide a relaxing experience that stimulates circulation and can be beneficial for the respiratory system.

A banya is a traditional Russian steam bath, similar in concept to a sauna but with higher humidity. It involves a wood-fired stove generating steam by splashing water on heated rocks. Patrons often switch between hot steam sessions and cold plunges or snow rolls for invigoration. Banyas frequently include a social component, with shared spaces for relaxation and tea-drinking rituals.

An Infusion/Aufguss is a sauna ritual where water, often infused with essential oils, is poured over hot stones to increase humidity, creating a burst of steam. A sauna master circulates the aromatic air with a towel, enhancing the experience. This practice intensifies sweating, stimulates circulation, and provides a sensory experience, elevating the traditional sauna session.

Natural hot springs are pools of water that are geothermally heated by the Earth’s crust, offering a warm, mineral-rich bathing experience. These springs can emerge naturally to the surface or be accessed by drilling. Often found in volcanic areas, they are renowned for their therapeutic properties and are a sought-after feature in wellness establishments for relaxation and health benefits.

A cold bath involves immersing the body in water at temperatures typically below 15°C. Often used as a method to cool down quickly after a sauna, steam room, or exercise, cold baths are believed to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation, improve circulation, and stimulate the immune system. Athletes may use cold baths or ice baths to speed up recovery after intense physical activity. The practice can be invigorating and is sometimes incorporated into wellness routines.

A salt bath is a wellness treatment where bathers soak in water enriched with salt, often from natural sources like sea salt or Himalayan pink salt. The high mineral content is believed to detoxify the body, reduce inflammation, improve skin conditions, and promote relaxation. Salt baths can be a feature in spas and wellness centers, providing a tranquil environment for therapeutic soaking.

A hot tub is a large tub or small pool filled with heated water and often equipped with jets for massage purposes. The water temperature is typically maintained around 37°C to 40°C. Hot tubs are designed for relaxation, hydrotherapy, and social interaction, and can be found in homes, spas, and recreational facilities. The warm water and massage elements can help to relieve stress, soothe muscles, and improve circulation.

Wellness Etiquette & Frequently Asked Questions:

Visiting a thermal bath is a relaxing experience that requires a bit of preparation. Here’s what you should consider bringing to ensure you have an enjoyable visit:

  • Swimwear: Typically, swimwear is required at thermal baths. Choose a comfortable swimsuit that will allow you to relax and enjoy the waters.

  • Towels: Bring at least one towel for drying off after your bath. Some thermal bath facilities provide towels, but it’s always best to check their policy beforehand.

  • Flip-flops or Pool Shoes: These will help protect your feet from hot surfaces and maintain personal hygiene as you walk around the facility.

  • Water Bottle: Hydration is key, especially when spending time in warm waters. Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated, but make sure it’s allowed in the pool area.

  • Toiletries: You may want to shower before and after using the thermal bath. Bring your preferred soap, shampoo, and other essential toiletries.
  • Change of Clothes: After your time at the thermal bath, you’ll need a fresh set of clothes to change into.

  • Hair Ties or Clips: If you have long hair, you might want to tie it up to keep it out of the water and off your face.

  • Swim Cap: Some thermal baths require guests to wear swim caps, especially if the pools are indoors.

  • Bathrobe (optional): A bathrobe can be useful for walking between different pools or areas within the thermal bath facility, especially if you prefer extra coverage.
  • Reading Material or Entertainment (optional): If you plan to relax by the poolside, bring a book or magazine. Ensure that these items are permitted and that you keep them dry.

  • Bag for Wet Items (optional): After your visit, you’ll need a place to store your wet swimwear and towels, so bring a waterproof bag or a plastic bag for this purpose.

  • Snacks (optional): Depending on the length of your visit and the facilities offered, you might want a snack. Some thermal baths have cafes or vending machines. Bring some money or a credit card if you plan to purchase food or drinks.

  • Skincare Products (optional): After exposure to mineral-rich waters, your skin might feel dry, so consider bringing a moisturizer to apply afterwards.

Always check the specific rules and amenities offered by the thermal bath you plan to visit, as some facilities may provide items like towels, robes, or swim caps, and some may have restrictions on what you can bring into the bathing areas.

When planning a visit to a sauna, it’s essential to bring a few key items to ensure comfort, hygiene, and safety. Here’s a checklist of items you might consider bringing:

  • Towels: Bring at least two towels—one to sit on or wrap around your body in the sauna and another to dry off after your session. Some people prefer an extra towel to place under their feet as well. Some sauna facilities provide towels, but it’s always best to check their policy beforehand.

  • Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is crucial, so bring a water bottle with you. It’s best to use a non-glass container to avoid any accidents.

  • Bathing Suit: Depending on the sauna’s rules and your personal comfort level, you might need a bathing suit. Some saunas allow nudity, while others require swimwear.

  • Flip-flops or Sandals: These are for walking around the sauna facilities, especially in communal areas, to maintain hygiene and protect your feet from hot surfaces.

  • Toiletries: After your sauna session, you might want to take another shower, so bring soap, shampoo, conditioner, and any other personal hygiene products you typically use.

  • Change of Clothes: Bring a fresh set of clothes to change into after your sauna session.

  • Sauna Hat (optional): A felt hat or another type of sauna hat can protect your hair and head from the intense heat.

  • Bathrobe (optional): This is optional, but some people like to have a bathrobe to wear during cool-down periods between sauna sessions.

  • Exfoliation Tools (optional): Some sauna-goers like to bring a loofah, scrub brush, or other exfoliating tools.

  • Reading Material or Entertainment (optional): If you plan to relax in a cooling-off area, you might want a book or magazine. However, be mindful of the sauna’s etiquette—some may prefer a quiet environment.

  • Snacks (optional): If the sauna policy permits, you may bring light snacks for after your session, but be sure to check the rules beforehand.

  • Post-Sauna Moisturizer (optional): After the sauna, your skin might feel dry, so consider bringing a moisturizer to apply once you’ve cooled down.

Remember, the sauna experience is meant to be a time of relaxation and rejuvenation, so bring what you need to be comfortable while also respecting the facility’s rules and the comfort of others using the space.

When visiting a hammam, also known as a Turkish or Moroccan bath, you should pack items that will enhance your experience while adhering to the cultural practices and etiquette of the establishment. Here’s a list of things you might consider bringing:

  • Pestemal (Traditional Hammam Towel): This is a thin, cotton towel used in hammams. If one is not provided, you should bring your own. It’s used to cover oneself while moving around and to lie on in the steam room.

  • Bikini or Swimsuit: While some hammams are single-sex and allow visitors to be less clothed or wrapped only in a pestemal, others may require swimwear. Check the hammam’s policy beforehand.

  • Flip-flops or Waterproof Sandals: To prevent slipping and to maintain hygiene as you walk on the wet floors.

  • Kese (Exfoliating Glove): This is a rough glove used for scrubbing the skin. Some hammams provide their own, but you can bring a personal one if you prefer.

  • Soap, Shampoo, and Conditioner: Some hammams provide these, but you may prefer to use your own, especially if you have sensitive skin or specific hair care needs.

  • Olive Oil Soap or Hammam Soap: Traditional hammams often use a specific type of olive oil soap that’s especially suited to the intense scrubbing process. You can bring your own if you have a preference.

  • Change of Clothes: After the hammam, you’ll want to change into clean, dry clothes.

  • Towels: Bring an extra towel to dry off after your hammam experience.

  • Water Bottle: It’s important to stay hydrated, especially after sweating in the steam rooms.

  • Hairbrush or Comb: After washing and conditioning your hair, you’ll likely need to detangle it.

  • Moisturizer: The exfoliation process can leave your skin feeling a little dry, so a good moisturizer to apply afterward can be helpful.

  • Plastic Bag for Wet Items: Keep your wet swimwear and towels separate from your dry belongings.

  • Money for Services: If you plan on paying for additional services, such as massages or scrubs, or if you want to tip the attendants, make sure to bring some cash.

Check with the specific hammam you will be visiting for any additional items they recommend or provide, as well as for their particular rules and etiquette. Some hammams may offer packages that include everything you need, while others may allow, or even expect, you to bring your own supplies.

An optimal sauna experience is one that maximizes the health benefits while ensuring safety and relaxation. Here’s a recommended step-by-step routine for a traditional sauna session:

  1. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water before entering the sauna to prepare your body for the increase in core temperature and to prevent dehydration.

  2. Shower: Take a warm shower to cleanse your body, which also helps to open up your pores. This prepares your skin for the dry heat of the sauna.

  3. Dry Off: Dry your body thoroughly as a dry skin surface will sweat more effectively than a damp one, enhancing the detoxifying effect of the sauna.

  4. Enter the Sauna: Once you are dry, enter the sauna and take a seat. It is often recommended to start on the lower benches, as heat rises and the higher benches are hotter.

  5. Relax and Sweat: Sit or lie down and relax for about 8 to 15 minutes, or as long as you feel comfortable. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and allow your muscles to loosen and your mind to calm. It’s important to listen to your body and not overheat.

  6. Cool Down: After your first session, exit the sauna and cool down with a shower, a dip in a cold pool, or by simply sitting in a cooler room. Cooling down helps your body regulate its temperature and enhances circulation.

  7. Hydrate: Drink water or an electrolyte drink to replenish fluids lost through sweating.

  8. Repeat: Return to the sauna for another session, which can be slightly longer than the first. Usually, 2-3 sessions are enough, with cool-down periods in between.

  9. Final Cool Down: After your last sauna session, do a final cool-down with a shower or another dip in a cold pool to close the pores and bring your body temperature back to normal.

  10. Rest: Take time to relax after the cool-down. This allows your body to readjust and your heart rate to return to its resting state.

  11. Rehydrate and Nourish: Continue to drink water or electrolytes and consider having a light snack to replenish minerals and energy.

Remember that the optimal sauna experience can vary from person to person. It’s crucial to consider individual health, tolerance to heat, and overall comfort. Always listen to your body and exit the sauna if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or uncomfortable at any point.

An optimal hammam ritual experience typically follows a traditional sequence designed to maximize the cleansing and relaxing benefits of the practice. Here is a recommended step-by-step routine:

  1. Hydrate: Begin by preparing your body for the hammam experience. It’s advisable to hydrate by drinking water before entering the hammam.

  2. Warm Room: Start in a warm room (the “tepidarium”) to acclimate your body to the heat. This gently raises your body temperature and starts the process of opening your pores and loosening your muscles.

  3. Hot Room: Move to the hot room (the “caldarium”), where the temperature and steam will increase. Spend enough time here to work up a significant sweat. This typically lasts between 15 to 30 minutes, depending on personal comfort and tolerance.

  4. Exfoliation: After sweating, scrub your body with a Kessa glove or a similar exfoliation tool. This removes dead skin cells and stimulates circulation. An attendant might perform this for you, applying soap and scrubbing your skin.

  5. Foam Massage: Following the exfoliation, you may be treated to a foam massage with olive oil soap or another traditional cleanser, which cleanses the skin and provides a soothing experience.

  6. Rinse: Rinse off the soap and scrub residue with warm water, which prepares you for the final stages of the hammam.

  7. Cold Plunge: Transition to a cold water area or room for a quick plunge or shower. This step closes the pores, invigorates the body, and stimulates the immune system.

  8. Relaxation: After the cold plunge, retreat to a relaxation area to rest, rehydrate with water or tea, and allow your body to normalize in temperature. This is also a time for quiet reflection or social interaction.

  9. Hydration: It’s important to continue drinking water or herbal tea to rehydrate your body after the loss of fluids through sweating.

  10. Moisturization: To conclude, apply a moisturizer to your skin to lock in hydration and keep your skin soft.

Each individual’s experience may vary, and some hammams offer additional services or variations on the traditional ritual. It’s essential to listen to your body throughout the process and take breaks if you feel overheated or uncomfortable at any point.

Using thermal baths, saunas, and hammams can offer several health benefits, which include muscle relaxation and improved circulation thanks to the soothing and warming effects of the water and heat. This can lead to reduced muscle pain and stiffness, potentially lower blood pressure, and improved overall blood flow. The heat and steam also promote stress relief by creating a tranquil environment for relaxation, which can be beneficial for mental health.

Saunas, in particular, may have cardiovascular benefits, with regular use associated with a lower risk of heart disease. They mimic the stress on the heart experienced during light exercise, which can improve heart function. Additionally, the induced sweating is often seen as a detoxifying process, and the heat may boost the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells.

Hammams offer a unique combination of heat, massage, and exfoliation, which not only promotes deep skin cleansing and improved circulation but also can help in alleviating respiratory congestion. The overall hammam experience is designed to relax the mind and body, which can lead to reduced stress levels and an improved sense of well-being.

While these thermal therapies can be beneficial, they should be used with caution, especially by individuals with specific health concerns or pregnant women, and it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider before engaging in new health practices.

Our Search Categories:

Saunologist.com’s budget categories are carefully crafted to help you find the perfect wellness experience that meets your financial preferences. Whether you’re looking for an economical day out or a lavish retreat, we’ve segmented our listings into three budget-conscious categories: $, $$, and $$$. These symbols are not just arbitrary; they represent a range of prices based on the average costs of single-entries for adults across the respective country of location, allowing you to easily navigate through options that fit your budget.

  • $ (Economical): If you’re prioritizing cost-effectiveness without compromising on quality, our ‘$’ category will guide you to the most affordable options. Establishments within this range offer prices in the lower 33% compared to the average market rates for a full-day experience.
  • $$ (Moderate): For those seeking a golden mean, our ‘$$’ category denotes a moderate price point. These establishment offer a comfortable experience with prices falling between the middle one-third of the average market rates, giving you value for money without breaking the bank. 
  • $$$ (Premium): Embrace the epitome of luxury with our ‘$$$’ category. These premium options represent the upper echelon of pricing, falling within the top 33% of the market, and are synonymous with top-tier services and facilities.

Understanding our budget symbols will help you align your choices with your financial expectations, ensuring a satisfying wellness experience without any surprises. Our categorizations are designed to simplify your decision-making process, allowing you to focus on what truly matters: unwinding and rejuvenating at the finest wellness establishments.

When it comes to selecting the perfect sauna or thermal bath experience, the size of the complex can greatly influence the atmosphere and amenities available. At Saunologist.com, we understand that every visitor has unique preferences, which is why we’ve categorized our wellness complexes into three distinct sizes: small, medium, and large. These categories are determined by comparing the relative size of each complex to others, ensuring you can choose an experience that aligns with your personal comfort level and expectations.

  • Small: Our ‘Small’ category is for those who appreciate a tranquil and personal setting. Facilities labeled as ‘Small’ are compared with other complexes and represent the more intimate end of the spectrum, perfect for visitors looking for a quiet retreat.
  • Medium: The ‘Medium’ sized complexes strike a balance between coziness and community. These establishments are sized relative to others in the market, offering enough room to provide a variety of services while still maintaining a sense of privacy.
  • Large: For an expansive and vibrant wellness experience, our ‘Large’ category encompasses the biggest complexes. They stand out in comparison to their counterparts by offering an extensive range of amenities and larger communal spaces, inviting a lively social atmosphere.

Choosing the right size for your wellness experience can significantly enhance your visit. Whether you prefer the quietude of a smaller establishment or the bustling energy of a larger complex, our categorizations help you find your ideal setting. Remember, the size of the complex can define the type of experience you’ll have, so consider what matters most to you on your journey to relaxation and rejuvenation.

At Saunologist.com, we specialize in connecting wellness enthusiasts with top-quality wellness experiences that are available for day-entry. In our carefully curated database, you will find establishments primarily focused on offering ‘thermal baths’, ‘sauna’, or ‘hammam’ services. These are the cornerstone experiences that our platform is built around, ensuring that each location you discover through us is dedicated to the art of relaxation and rejuvenation