Banya (a Russian type of sauna, a kind of steam bath) is one of the oldest Russian traditions. Despite the fact that this tradition is several centuries old, the banya is popular even today. You can find banyas in large cities and small towns.
How a Russian banya is set up.
A Russian banya has a special room, where a large amount of hot steam is created with the help of water and hot air. A classic Russian banya is heated with firewood. Inside the banya, which is usually built of wood, there are wide wooden benches along the walls. They are built up one above the other like steps. You can sit or lay on the benches. The higher up the bench the hotter the air is. Once someone has warmed up well enough, he or she leaves the steam room and dips into a pool of cold water. You can also pour water over yourself from a tub, while in Siberia it's common to walk right out of the steam room and jump into the snow.
What do you need a venik in the banya for?
At Russian banya there are special bath brooms that are used. These brooms or veniks are bundles of twigs and leafy branches bound together from some kind of tree—usually they are from birch or oak trees. The veniks are dipped into cold water and then smacked briskly all over the body. Usually groups of friends typically go together and are able to smack each other with veniks.
Banya is a place for communication.
Friends go to the banya with a special purpose in mind. It's considered that the banya atmosphere brings people closer together, allows them to communicate and interact on a more common level. During a break they walk out to another room which is before the steam room. Usually, that room has a large long table and a few benches. People take a break from the hot temperature and relax, drink herbal tea or draft beer, have conversations about life and share their ideas or beliefs to each other.
Benefits of Russian Banya.
The benefits of the banya have been known for a long time. Hot steam helps clean the skin, makes it soft and smooth. The Russian banya helps fight sicknesses — harmful elements are removed from the body thanks to the bath-brooms and hot steam. And there is a reason for another Russian proverb which refers to the banya's health benefit, "The day you spend in the banya is the day you do not age."
When you leave the heat, you should feel that warmth throughout your body, your heart pounding like you just sprinted a mile and have sweat pouring out of your skin. Now you need to cool down to get that excess heat out of your body.
You can cool down rapidly by dip into a cold pool. This has the effect on your body like a blacksmith dunking a hot horseshoe into water: It hardens you sending your circulatory system into overdrive.
Dive into cool water after a hot sauna. A dip in the plunge pool is great for cooling off and also has health benefits. The cold water causes blood vessels to constrict and makes blood flow closer to the core of the body, thus facilitating circulation to the organs. Swimming after sweating it up in a hot sauna will cool you down and wake you up.
Saunas and steam rooms both use heat therapeutically, but they do it in different ways. Essentially, a sauna uses dry heat, while a steam room incorporates high humidity and warmth. Both open up the pores of the body, helping them to eliminate toxins through sweat, ease joint pain, improve circulation, relax bathers, and strengthen the immune system. Which one a person uses is a matter of personal preference; most people who cannot endure dry heat, for example, greatly enjoy a steam room.
A steam room is maintained at a much lower temperature, not more than 43°C, but the humidity is kept very high —around 100%. Bathers who enter are usually immediately surrounded by a cloud of vapor, and sit or lie on benches to absorb the benefits of the steam.
The steam room helps to open up airways which improves your breathing and alleviates congestion. The wet heat from the steam room thins and opens the mucous membranes in the body, which helps to relieve the pressure. The steam room also increases metabolism and can aid with weight loss. The sweat also helps to remove toxins and cleanses the body.
The main advantage to combining a sauna with a massage session lies in the fact that when the muscles of the body are warm they become far suppler and therefore respond better to treatment.
There are many benefits of using massage and saunas together to help improve the health of your body. Massage can help relieve pressure points in the body and help the muscles relax. Saunas have the same benefits but work differently on the body. This is why combining the two is a fantastic idea if you want to feel great at all times.
Having a sauna before you get a massage will loosen up your muscles so that the therapist can get right to work on the parts of the body that need the most work. It will not only make the therapist's work easier, but will help you feel relaxed even before massage start. This will add to the total effect of the massage.
Both the use of a sauna and a massage will help the circulation of your body. This is especially true of the skin. Through gentle massage, the blood flow to the skin increases, just as it does from the heat of the sauna. This will result in healthier looking skin. The heat and the massage oils will also increase the elasticity of the skin leaving it smooth and refreshed.
Through the use of saunas, you can help your body release toxins. When you have a massage just afterwards, then the body is able to get rid of even more harmful toxins. If you have a relaxing massage, the therapist will not work as deeply as would in a deep tissue massage. This type of massage helps the body get rid of the wastes that have accumulated in the muscles over a period of time. If you decide that you would prefer to have a sauna after your massage, it will give the body the perfect medium to get rid of these toxins through the sweat glands.
Home style food (MENU) & Snuck-Bar (LLBO).
Home food keep up the Russian tradition of gathering family and friends around the table. Russian style steam sauna in Ontario is the best way to top off every banya visit. You don't even have to get dressed. Step out of the sauna and right into our dining room in your robe and sauna hat.
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