I went to Marrakech in search of magic

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How to detox in a hammam
Image: Lilah Montgomery

Why a hammam detox is peak vacation chill

It’s basically the best thing to do if you’re jet-lagged or the airline lost your luggage.

by Rebecca Willa Davis | 03.11.2018

You’re still groggy from your red-eye flight, you’re still grumpy because the airline lost your checked bag, and you’re still feeling stressed out by life back at home because, well, yeah.

There’s one thing you can do that might actually solve all three: visit a hammam.

The Middle Eastern variant on the steam bath—which you’ll find from Turkey to Morocco—combines super-high temps with a full-body (yup, they go there) scrub down. And it’s one of the most detoxifying things you can do. “The skin is the biggest organ we have, and one of the eliminating pathways for toxins to be released. The steam essentially opens up all of our pores while we’re getting exfoliated, so all the dead stuff is getting removed,” explains Corina Crysler, MS.

“Anything with water [is] really good for your emotional being—it’s literally washing away the crap we carry all day long.”

The certified nutritionist has spent the past decade figuring out how to help clients best reset their bodies holistically—both as Managing Director at GliSODin Skin Nutrients as well as owner of the Ontario-based organic juice and wellness shop Moonshine Juicery—and in the process has developed a serious hammam habit.

So the scrub-and-shvitz jump-starts the body (jet lag, bye). Plus, you don’t need to bring anything—in addition to the hammam providing an exfoliating mitt or stone, soap, and often body oil and shampoo, you’ll also get a robe—which is clutch if you’re living out of your carry-on. Bonus: Some spots even offer of disposable underwear (while getting naked is kind of the point of visiting a hammam, it could help you make it an extra day or two while you wait for the airline to track down your suitcase).

And perhaps most importantly, you will chill out—even if the situation basically forces you into forgetting about the work emails flooding your OOO inbox because you’re so focused on worrying about whether you’re about to overheat. “When you’re put into the steam bath, you almost panic. Especially for someone like myself who has a busy life and a lot of stress, it forces me to just sit down and meditate,” says Crysler. Counterintuitive? Maybe—but it can truly work wonders.  “We are water, so I find anything with water really good for your emotional being—it’s literally washing away the crap we carry all day long.”

Why you should do it: "It's hot—and when you create your heat,circulation kicks in really well too. It's getting the blood moving. Any time you can get that circulation going, it's so good for the lymphatic system, lymphatic drainage, anything related to that.And it's relaxing. You literally go in, hot water's poured over you, and someone washes your hair—who washes your hair in real life?!It's a form of luxury you just don't have on a day-to-day basis, and it really chills out your brain."

When to do it: "After you have a long flight is a really good idea—I did my first one [in Morocco] that way, and it was totally amazing for me. Your body continues to detox afterwards, so I would plan it on your chill day or go towards the end of the day."

How often to do it: "One a day would be too much, because it would make you tired and you'd be detoxing all of the time. Every third day would be fine, or a couple of days in a row--but not one a day for a week."

How long you should do it: "At least an hour—that really allows the body to release these toxins through the skin."

What you should do before your hammam visit: "Make sure you have some food and something to drink before you do it. Not a heavy meal, but something at least two hours before—fruit would be really good. I wouldn't do meat. Also, it's really good to drink a lot of water throughout the day, since you're going to lose a lot of water because you're in the steam."

What you should do after your hammam visit: "You'll be tired! You'll want to stay in your robe and take a nap, or have an easy dinner; you're not going to want to go out and drink after a hammam. And you should be drinking water all day."

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