Restore your mind and body with a trip to a traditional Moroccan hammam. This age-old healing ritual will leave you feeling rejuvenated and recharged after your travels. From public to private, the health benefits will astound you.
A hammam is a public bathhouse that has been part of the social fabric of Morocco for centuries. It is a place to relax and socialize while at the same time cleanse and purify the mind, body and spirit. Moroccan hammams are significant in the culture of Morocco.
Traditionally, hammams were an important part of people’s weekly routines where they could catch up with friends and family, do business and just plain relax. Older hammams have two separate entrances for women and men. They are also located near old mosques as people of Muslim faith follow Islamic laws of hygiene and purification.
Historically, a hammam was also a place where women would gather with family and friends before a wedding to celebrate the bride or after the birth of a child. You may even be surprised what other facts about Morocco culture you may discover on your visit.
Traditional hammams are available in every city throughout Morocco. In Casablanca and Marrakech, you can find authentic hammams with a modern flair that even allow couples to enjoy together. After your Sahara Desert Tour, you’ll be glad you treated yourself to the most authentic luxury in Morocco, a day spent at the hammam.
The Ritual of the Hammam
A hammam experience goes beyond sweating it all out in a hot and steamy room. Plan to give yourself plenty of time to let go and enjoy, at least two to three hours to experience the full benefits.
There is an entire ritual in order to receive all the benefits a hammam has to offer. Traditional Moroccan hammams have three rooms: a dry heat room, a warm room, and a cool room. All three rooms have three different temperatures.
First is the dry, hot room to adapt the body to the heat, open the pores, and start to relax the mind.
Next, it’s on to the hot steam room where you can really begin to let go of your stress as you sweat out skin impurities and toxins. Here, you will scrub away your dead skin with the infamous Moroccan black soap, savon beldi, using a kessa (an exfoliating glove) or you can hire an attendant to do the job for you. This is the room with the enormous marble slab that you lay upon to receive a full body scrub down. After a proper exfoliation, it’s time to rinse off with warm water a few times to rid the body of all the dead skin cells. Some hammams have a pool with cool water to reawaken the body.
Once the scrubbing and rinsing are over, it’s time to venture into the cool room to rehydrate and drink mint tea. This is also a great time to just lounge around, relax or share stories about the camel tour you took around the desert in Morocco.
Moroccan Hammam Skin and Beauty Treatments
Moroccan Black Soap (savon beldi)
This iconic black soap, savon beldi, is an essential of the Moroccan hammam. It has anti-bacterial properties and is suitable for all skin types. Traditionally made with organic ingredients, virgin black olive oil, and black olive paste.
Its purpose is to deep clean and purify the skin from dirt and removes the dead skin. After a thorough deep scrub with this soap, the skin will be soft and silky. Be not afraid to scrub hard and expect an intense scrub when left to an attendant to do the job.
It can be used on the entire body including the face as it is an excellent moisturizer packed with Vitamin E. Savon beldi is an overall body therapy in itself. It not only renews skin cells and strengthens skin tissues, but it also helps with the treatment of skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
A clay that hails from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco known for its numerous skin health benefits. It detoxifies the skin as it deeply cleanses the pores and purifies. Ghassoul is rich in potassium and magnesium. The texture of the clay exfoliates dead skin cells and leaves the skin feeling soft and clean.
Ghassoul can be applied as a mask or an overall body wrap. Since it has natural astringent properties, it also helps with skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema. The minerals of the clay are also beneficial for hair health. It can be used as a shampoo to condition or detangle hair making it soft, silky, and shiny.
A centuries-old beauty treatment, argan oil has been used by the Amazigh/Berber, Morocco’s indigenous people, to regenerate their skin and hair. Argan is a tree native to Morocco and the oil is extracted from the nuts of the tree. This amber-colored oil and its healing benefits have earned it the status of “liquid gold”.
Argan oil is an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant that is rich in Vitamin A&E and omega fatty acids that help strengthen skin tissue. Many hammams provide argan oil massages for an extra fee and it’s totally worth it. Not only does it help to relax the body muscles, it completely nourishes the skin from head to toe.
Most public hammams require that you bring your own mat for sitting and a bucket for rinsing. Some do provide them, but it’s good to arrive prepared or try to find out in advance. Typically, visitors scrub themselves or have a friend or family member do it for them. There are usually hammam attendants that can be hired for scrubbing or massage treatments if you prefer.
Visitors are expected to bring their own soap, towel or robe, flip-flops, swimsuit or extra pair of underwear, kessa (exfoliating glove), and any other necessary toiletries.
Many luxury hotels provide hammam services plus additional treatments like hot stone therapy, foot scrubs, or acupuncture. The Four Seasons Hotel and The Royal Mansour offer a luxury hammam experience that can also be included in a luxury Morocco tour. Private hammams usually offer more treatment options like hot stone therapy, acupuncture, or foot scrub. Basically, an attendant does all the work while you literally lay down and let yourself get scrubbed, rubbed, and pampered.
Spending time in a hammam is a full mind-body-spirit rejuvenator. It allows a chance to unwind plus it has numerous health benefits. It detoxifies, replenishes the skin, boosts the immune system, relaxes muscles, is a miraculous pain reliever, improves circulation in the body, and reduces stress and anxiety. You will leave feeling renewed, reenergized, and overall grounded.
Visiting a hammam is a holistic experience that will reboot your system so you can continue to explore more of Morocco’s cultural treasures.