A Moroccan Hammam: the ultimate spa experience

A Hammam is a bathhouse with multiple rooms and is used for cleansing the “body and soul” in a traditional ritual performed by a trained bathhouse attendant. My attendant spoke no English and I had no idea what the ritual involved. I was there because, you know, I’d never done it before.

After stripping everything off, I was led down a hall to a tiled steam room. One end of the room had heated stones and a basin full of steaming water. The attendant threw a bucket of water onto the stones and left me alone with the hissing steam. It felt like I was in there for hours and I was sure I was melting. When she finally returned, she had a bucket of slimy, black, soapy looking mud which she spread on my back. She then had me cover the rest of my body while she threw another bucket of water onto the rocks. She left me there to die.

When she returned and scooped up another bucket of water, I was ready to tell her that I wanted out. I was well done, cooked thoroughly. Imagine my surprise when she threw the bucket of water on me! By this point, I was sure she was sadistic and that there was an evil gleam in her eyes. Several buckets of water later, I was mud free and dripping.

Still naked as the day I was born, I meekly followed her to the next room, where a marble slab table stood. She had me sit on the table and she began rubbing my body with something called a kessa glove. By the time she was done, I was missing one layer of freckles and most of my tan. I could see piles of dead skin all over the table. It was totally gross. This time, I was hosed off with cool water and led to yet another room.

My pictures did not turn out well but you can get a general idea of what the rooms looked like.

Here, my body was covered with a clay type mask and I was left to relax while it hardened. I could feel it tighten against my skin and it was a little itchy. After the mask was showered off, my body was coated with argan oil while I received a full body massage. The massage was followed by a shampoo, which was followed by a plush bath robe and slippers. I was led to a lounge chair and given mint tea to sip.

By the time I was taken back to the dressing room, I was feeling great! My skin was smooth, soft and glowing and, even though I’d been up for 36 hours at that point, I was strangely invigorated. Being just a few steps beyond normal, I am convinced that the Hammam is the answer to jet lag. I’d love to do it again and that is high praise from this gal who likes to focus on all experiences new!

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