Turkish Hammam Etiquette: What You Need To Know

Turkish Hammam Etiquette: What You Need To Know

Make the Most of a Hammam Spa Day with Este’s Do and Don’t Guide

Dreamy and peaceful is how the hammam experience is often talked about. Since ancient times hammam bathing rituals have been associated with feelings of nirvana and bliss. The ultimate hammam outcome is total relaxation and tranquillity for both body and mind.

When it comes to hammam etiquette the guidelines are not much different to those at a regular day spa or wellness retreat.  To make the most of this experience we’ve created a hammam spa etiquette guide that covers good manners, traditional hammam customs, and common sense rules.

What’s With All The Rules!

Every quality spa and hammam has guidelines that are expected to be respected. Following spa etiquette ensures that everyone, from guests to hammam attendants, feel secure and at ease.

The hammam environment is naturally intimate because bathing, skin scrubbing and body massage involves about as much nudity as going for a swim. During a Moroccan and Turkish hammam treatment there will be physical contact between guest and hammam attendant. Therefore it is paramount that personal space and privacy be respected throughout the whole hammam experience.

The rules covered below primarily have to do with hammam guests. Understanding and observing the etiquette around hammam bathing will make the occasion much more satisfying and relaxing for everyone.

Hammam Manners: Do and Don’t Guide

  • Do arrive at your appointment on time.
  • Do speak in a low voice. Avoid talking in common areas like the steam room.
  • Don’t talk on the phone or take photos in common areas of the hammam.
  • Don’t leave personal items scattered about the spa.

Let’s walk through why these fundamental guidelines will make the most of your hammam experience.

Respect Self-Care Time

Arriving on time ensures your treatment will not be hurried. The whole point of hammam is to unwind and relax — a state of nirvana is much easier to achieve if you don’t rush into your appointment with arms flapping and head spinning. When life is rushed, time for self-care might get hacked, but the reward will be great if that special time you carve out for yourself is respected.

Digital Detox

Be mindful that speaking loudly and talking on the phone will disrupt other hammam guests’ pursuit of nirvana. Reaching a state of stillness is something you should aim for during your hammam experience, being at peace will better the journey. Plus, hammams are wet and steamy, not the best environment for an electronic device. This is the perfect opportunity for a digital detox!  

Spa Selfies

Taking selfies is a high priority for many people these days. It’s understandable that during a Turkish hammam experience you’ll want to capture a story of being buried in foamy bubbles and looking cute wrapped in a traditional Turkish bath towel.

When it comes to taking selfies here’s what we recommend so personal space and privacy is respected in a hammam spa. Don’t take photos around other spa guests. Don’t take selfies in common areas where other guests are relaxing in robes or towels. Don’t take photos in the changing rooms, as these areas are meant to be private and safe spaces for all genders. Speak to a spa attendant about taking selfies in your private treatment room and check in with hammam staff before you start snapping. If you are in a private room, alone or with a special friend, then it will probably be okay. Be advised that most spas and hammams do not permit phone usage or photography.  

Hammam Nudity: What’s The Dress Code?

This is probably the most Googled question about Moroccan and Turkish hammam spa etiquette. Everyone wants to know if you must be naked during a hammam treatment. The answer is you do not have to be fully nude in a hammam spa. You might be surprised to know that full nudity is not customary. It is customary for women to wear a bottom and top — a full bathing suit, bikini or women’s underwear is standard (the top may be removed during parts of the treatment to facilitate a more thorough back scrub or shoulder massage for instance). Men are expected to keep swim briefs or underpants on at all times. In common and co-ed areas of the hammam it is generally expected guests stay covered in a robe or wrapped in a towel (especially in the steam room).

Read more about keeping covered in our Hammam Beginner’s Guide.      

Health and Hygiene Etiquette

Did you know that personal hygiene is also included in most spa etiquette guidelines? The reason for that is of course to keep the hammam environment clean and safe for all guests and staff. As a spa guest you have a responsibility to divulge any concerning skin or health issues that might impact your treatment.

Come Clean

The majority of modern day spas and hammams provide clean towels, robes, slippers and disposable undergarments. If you prefer to use your own items during hammam this will probably be okay. Spa etiquette would require that any outside items brought into the hammam environment are washed and clean. Some spas and hammams may require guests to shower before using the facilities.  

State Of Health

Having a hammam treatment to ease cold or allergy symptoms is considered acceptable, but coming to a spa with flu or covid is not acceptable. Additionally guests should inform hammam staff of any health conditions that could be affected by prolonged exposure to heat or vigorous massage. Guests with skin issues should check in with hammam staff before booking a treatment.

Speaking of good health, take a look at our full list of hammam spa benefits.    

Period Pain

Just because you’re menstruating doesn’t mean you can’t experience a hammam treatment. It is advised a Diva cup or tampon is used during the whole hammam experience. A hammam massage will most likely be very beneficial to someone experiencing period pain and monthly fatigue. As long as you're comfortable, don’t let your period stop you from having a hammam treatment.  

Hopefully all these recommendations and tips have fully prepared you to book a Turkish hammam experience! Spa etiquette is there to make sure you and other guests (plus hammam staff) feel safe, secure and respected. Keep to these hammam guidelines and nirvana is yours!

Bringing Hammam Spa Nirvana To Birmingham!

The new Este Spa & Hammam will be opening soon in the prestigious neighbourhood of Edgbaston in Birmingham, England. Owned and operated by Este Medical Group, the new spa and hammam will be one of the largest in the country.

Este has designed a desirable menu of popular skincare treatments — from Turkish and Moroccan hammam, classic Swedish, Shiatsu and Thai Fusion massage to sports, aroma and deep tissue therapies.

Look at the variety of Este Spa & Hammam treatments at our spa menu.

Soon you will be able to experience the outstanding body and mind benefits of hammam in a beautiful, tranquil space using the most advanced skincare products available from Este Medical Group. We will keep you posted on all the Este Spa & Hammam news.

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