History of Bathing: Banya

History of Bathing: Banya

The Banya, or Russian bathhouse, was enjoyed by all classes in Russian society. For the poor, public bathhouses were often the only place available to wash, whilst the wealthy indulged in private facilities for relaxation and recovery.

Banya even had their own otherwordly mascot:

"In Slavic mythology, there was even a banya spirit, named Bannik, who was believed to hide under bathhouse benches, only to reveal himself if a visitor was disrespectful or misbehaved -- in which case, Bannik would throw boiling water or hot rocks at the disruptive bather"

In these facilities, a popular treatment involves the whipping of the skin with dried branches & leaves to improve blood circulation and muscle relaxation, similar benefits to a massage.

If you don’t wish to harm a tree or fear what others would say if they found you beating yourself with twigs whilst naked, don’t worry; a hot bath can have many of the same benefits. The addition of restorative salts has been shown to further aid muscle and joint recovery.