The ‘black banya’ (a sauna with a stove but without a chimney), as a heating process, has a more ancient history than the traditional Russian sauna. During the Old Testament times, ‘black banya’ fascinated both the common people and the nobility. And there were good reasons for this - with a skillful approach, such a bathing procedure brought significant health benefits and real pleasure.
‘Black banya’ or ‘smoke sauna’, as our ancestors used to say, is heated without the smoke being released through the chimney. The fire is lit in the hearth, and smoke gradually fills the entire room. Since smoke is contained within the room, it naturally begins to smoke the walls and the ceilings of the room. Black soot and carbon monoxide gave rise to myths about the dangers of this kind of heating process which gave it such a discordant name.In fact, according to all the rules, after the heat and warmth have set in, the sauna ventilates the toxic gas and aerates the room. And in order to make the bath more comfortable, people periodically keep ‘infused’ the space by throwing hot coals and herbs in vats of hot water.
Functionally, ‘black banya’ differs significantly from a conventional one in several parameters. The enclosed room warms up not only several times faster, but also more intensively. Heat simultaneously warms all surfaces, and accumulates at the bottom. Consequently, the old Russian huts were built low, so that the room was as warm as possible, especially on the floor. After all, a person stands on the floor with his feet, and the gentle heat on one's feet is a great way to cure colds and joint diseases.What is more, the air in a ‘black banya’ is drier than in the regular one, and its temperature is higher with the same warming-up time. Hence people experience different physiological sensations.
V. Vysotsky asked for the ‘black banya’ for a reason in his famous song, the use of ‘black banyas’ is not just a myth. Firewood smoke is a natural antiseptic that disinfects all surfaces, kills all fungal growths and pathogens. Once heated, the room becomes sterile, and the air becomes clean. The resins released at high temperatures from the wood in the stove are very beneficial for the respiratory tract.
Intensive heating of natural materials such as brooms, bundles of grass and herbs and wooden structures causes the release of phytoncides, which are herbal antibiotics. A visit to a ‘black banya’ has a beneficial effect on the entire body, because the respiratory organs are the entrance gates for various kinds of infections. Inhalation of healing and fragrant air destroys the microbes in the body.In a well-heated steam room, as the internal and external body temperature rises, the blood circulates faster and rushes to the organs stimulating metabolic processes on a cellular level. The resulting water vapor formed from the contact of water and hot stones, opens up all the clogged pores of the skin allowing it to breathe and absorb healing substances. During these moments, any cosmetic procedures: masks, scrubbing and peeling will be much more effective in rejuvenating and healing the body.
There is a special atmosphere occupying ‘black banyas’. The smoke permeates all the surrounding textures, mixed with the substances emitted from wood, plants and shrubs recreates a unique spirit with the native smells of forests, mown hays, campfires... Peace and tranquility settle in the soul; all your thoughts and your body become clean and bright.
Visit our Bath Complex in Moscow and experience these indescribable sensations in the same way the great Russian Tsars used to!