The best massage in Istanbul that you can have will probably be in a hamam. Not because it is "the best" massage in town but because of the historic atmosphere and rituals attached to it.
Relax in a Turkish Bath....
Hamam is also known as the Turkish bath. It is a relaxing and purifying ritual that everyone should have at least once.
After a busy or a tiring day, hamam can be a wonderful break for you; encounter with water will have a soothing effect both on your mind and body.
And if you are worried about if the season would be appropriate or not, don’t be… Hamam is suitable for all seasons. It will be warming in cold days, cleansing and invigorating in hot days.
You can soak in bubbles, you can let steam fill the pores of your skin and you can have a rub-down followed by a nice massage. You decide!
I’m sure you will enjoy a Turkish bath that gives you a sense of relaxation in an historical building with an authentic atmosphere.
Hamam is a bath house for the use of public. Islam has strict rules about cleanliness and during the Ottoman period, there were insufficient supplies of water to feed each house.
That is one of the reasons why the hamams were built in every neighborhood.
Hamams differ in size and style but the ones that you will encounter will be the classical types.
A classical Turkish bath has three parts for the visitor; Camekan (changing room), Sicaklik (hot room) and Sogukluk (warm room).
1) Camekan (Changing room):
This is the first place that you enter after the main entrance of a hamam. It is the place where you will take off your clothes and put in a locker.
There is usually large stained windows on its walls and lined with changing cubicles surrounding an ornamental marble fountain.
2) Sicaklik (Hot room):
This part is heated and full of steam. This is usually a domed, octagonal or square room. There are ocular holes on the dome to provide sunlight.
There is a “göbek tasi” (navel stone) which is a large, heated marble platform in the center of this part. This is where you get your rub down and massage in Istanbul hamams. This stone is surrounded by benches and private corners for washing yourself.
There are lots of basins at various places here. This part of the hamam is often covered with elaborately crafted and ornately designed tiles.
3) Sogukluk (Cooling section):
The third part is the “Sogukluk” (the cooling section). There are lounge chairs and refreshments here for you to chill out.
This is where you will get back to sanity if you happen to stay too long in the Hot Room.
Now you need to know about the rituals of massage Istanbul hamams and where to find the best hamams: