The medical benefits of the hammam date back to 200 B.C. when the father of medicine, Hippocrates, said, “Give me the power to create a fever and I shall cure any disease.” Steam was the answer.
The word hammam is an Arabic word meaning ‘spreader of warmth’. This ritual goes back thousands of years to the Romans and Greeks who developed the communal bath as a social institution. Around 630 A.D., Mohammed after observing the Roman inspired baths of Syria, recommended ‘sweat’ baths, marking the beginning of the Islamic hammam. Believing that the heat of the hammam enhanced fertility and that the followers of faith should multiply, the hammam became an annex to the mosque, complying with Islamic laws of hygiene and purification.Much like the Roman baths before them, hammams became a place of rest as well as an important place to socialize.
The hammam is far from new, but in recent years, its health benefits have gained increasing international attention.