The steam bath is firmly established in many cultures – and each has its very own rules and customs
The traditional Indian sweat lodge cleanses and heals body and soul with extreme heat, drumbeats and chants. The Mesoamerican version of the sweat lodge, the temazcal, is currently experiencing a revival in Mexico.
Peace and relaxation? Not quite. In Russia, the banya is a popular venue for business meetings at temperatures that can rise above 100°. The water thrown onto the hot stones contains beer. Good for the circulation: taking a lashing with some birch branches.
It’s practically mandatory for a Japanese steam bath to have a television screen inside, just as it is to have coffee grounds there to neutralize bodily odors. Tattoos are taboo – because only gangsters have them.