Usually, the banya (wooden house) is near a river. The bathers jump into the river to cool down after being in the banya.
History[change | change source]
Throughout Russian history, the banya has been used by people in all classes. Poor workers would get clean in a banya after work. Rich Russians sometimes had private banya. Sometimes, the bather will jump into a river or a pile of snow instead.
Common rules[change | change source]
Banya have three rooms: a changing room or predbannik where people change clothes, a washing room, and steam room or parilka. 
If the banya is for men and women, bathers should wear bathing suits. If the banya has separate places for men and women, bathers are usually naked.
Process[change | change source]
Banya are often hotter than 93°C.
Bathers sit on a small mat to protect their skin from the hot wood. Bathers usually wear felt hats while they sit in the banya. During the banya bath, bathers use a broom or besom. Bathers hit each other with the branches like a massage. Sometimes friends hit each other with branches. Sometimes a professional masseuse does. The last part of the banya is when someone throws a bucket of cool or cold water on the bather.
The biggest difference between a banya and sauna are that the banya has steam and most saunas use dry air.
Health[change | change source]
Starting in the 1800s, doctors and scientists decided to study the banya. They already had an idea that it was good for health. Most of their studies were not good by today's scientific rules, but they told many people to go to the banya for their health.
Folklore[change | change source]
Related pages[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- Ethan Pollock (2019). Without the Banya We Would Perish: A History of the Russian Bathhouse (Abstract). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oso/9780195395488.001.0001. ISBN 9780195395488. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
- Tatyana Leonov (August 4, 2020). "The significance of the Russian 'banya'". BBC Travel. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
- Aaland, Mikkel (1998). "The Russian Bania. History of the Great Russian Bath". Cyber-Bohemia.
- Suemedha Sood (November 29, 2012). "The origins of bathhouse culture around the world". BBC Travel.
- "An Easy Guide to Russian Banya Steam Bath". Vegan Trekker. 2019-02-21. Retrieved 2021-07-10.
- Katie Warren (August 7, 2019). "I visited a 200-year-old Russian bathhouse in Moscow, where I paid $85 to be whacked with branches and doused in ice-cold water. It was the most memorable part of my trip". Business Insider. Retrieved July 11, 2021.