Here's a list of other related guides that you may wish to discover.Essaouira
|Hammam's, Henna & Massages
When you are in Morocco you should definitely not miss out on a session in a hammam followed by a massage. Inexpensive but definitely worth it and you will not only feel cleansed, invigorated but totally relaxed.
As hammam’s can dry your skin it’s a good idea to apply a fine coating of argan oil (argan oil comes from the fruit of the argan tree, which grows only in Morocco) to your body the night before. It’s a bit of a ritual, but a necessary one, when visiting a hammam and it usually follows like this.
After undressing and wrapping yourself in a bath towel you will go into the “warm room” where your body will get accustomed to the heat in the hammam. You then fill two of the many large buckets, one with cold water and one with warm water. You then wash superficially in special black soap to get rid of dirt in your skin and hair. This olive-oil based paste contains active hydrating agents and emollients. With the kessa (scrubbing glove), the next stage is exfoliation, using a circular movement to remove dead skin. You then go into the “hot room” where the heat allows your pores to open wide and let your sweat out. This brings all the dirt out that's hidden in your pores and does wonders for your skin. How much time you spend in this room, depends on your tolerance for heat. You then return to the warm room for a more thorough washing. This is when you soap yourself completely, using the water from one bucket in the process. After you wash your skin and hair, you use the water from the second bucket to rinse the soap and dirt off your body. After you step into the “cold room” where you shower and rinse the last remaining dirt and sweat off your body. There are also benches in this room where you can relax for a while and let your body get used to normal temperatures again.
It’s a good idea to book an argan oil massage as a follow-up to the hammam. You will be asked which oils you would prefer to be massaged in but the typical ones are orange, rose, and verbena. The massage rooms are lit with only a few candles, and soft music plays. The massage will begin at the ankles and gradually move up the whole body. A full body massage will take about an hour and after you will be invigorated, relaxed and have the softest skin ever! It is advisable not to shower after a massage as this will keep the skin soft and supple for longer. Then its onto the rest room for some mint tea and Moroccan cake.
In Morocco the role of Henna transcends beauty and not as a bodily adornment or an alternative to a tattoo. Henna is a dye produced from the Henna plant. To create the dye, dried Henna leaves are ground into powder and mixed with water, tea, or lemon juice. The greener the powder, the more effective the paste will be to dye the skin red.
The use of Henna can be traced to the first Berbers. Where it played an integral part of any major festival in Morocco and still does today. The most significant is the Berber marriage ceremony. This includes painting the hands and feet of the bride with the most intricate patterns. Most henna themes are floral or geometric designs, often including the groom’s name discreetly inside the tattoo. As with many Berber customs, the usage of Henna is thought to bring good health and luck to the bride and protect her from harm.
Although the usage of henna is a sacred one you do not have to attend a festival or get married to opt for the henna experience! On a trip to any souk, you will likely be approached by people with book patterns showing examples of henna art.
Most people choose a simple design on a single body part, while others may be more adventurous and choose designs running from the soles of their feet to their ankles or from hands to wrists. Depending on the size and details of the pattern, applying henna can take from half an hour to an hour. When the work is complete, the artist will squeeze lime juice and sugar over the paste to help release the colour in the powder. Once the paste falls off, the henna will appears reddish brown depending on your natural skin colouring.