Wednesday 1 June 2011

Holiday Snaps: A Turkish Scrub

Try Turkey

Turkey is a country of many things and for any visit to Turkey you are expected to try a number of things like authentic Turkish delight, baklava; an overly sweet dessert, Turkish coffee, a Turkish bath, raki; an alcoholic beverage amongst many things, this list not being exhaustive by any chance.

Today, it was the Turkish bath though I was not sure of the kind of massage I would receive from the benign oil massage to the muscular type that had a naval officer of seriously manly bulk off HMS Illustrious think he had been mugged.

So, on getting to the Turkish bath, I was advised to put all my things in a locker and putting on a geometrical print towel I first made for the sauna.

Prankish silliness

After 15 minutes by the hour-glass I moved to the bath house where a number of patrons were in prankish abandon having been covered in foam and wearing silly hats has pictures taken in the silliest of poses – I could find no mirth or humour in that apart from the public setting of the place.

I was asked to lie down on a marble slap and I got scrubbed down with a sponge that exposed the fact that the medicinal qualities of a mud bath did not include any cleansing ability.

I was amazed at the kind of oily grime mixed with exfoliated dead skin that came off every part of my scrubbed being, I could barely look at the stuff but it was a relief to see that there was some benefit to the scrub.

After a wash-down, foam was applied through the technique of soaking a pillow case in soapy water, this was then aerated with a billowing shake through the air and with the open end closed the inflated pillowcase was rubbed along the body with the expelled air coming out of the body of the pillow case creating lots of foam. I refused the pleasure of being photographed in a less than decent pose.

Tools to the pedicure

My Turkish bath deal included an oil massage with optional extras, I decided on the pedicure, it was the first time my feet had received any non-medical treatment after I had cancer. I did inform the man in charge that my feet were the state they were because of cancer and he did not think that was a problem.

At first the dry skin was filed, scraped, cut, shaved and picked off, he has a filer, pliers, scissors, special shaving stick and sandpaper; my soles are full of the colour of medical condition, but the pedicurist was not fazed by any of that as he worked on both feet. My left foot was somewhat tender after he started working on it.

Garra rufa fish

Then, reclining in a deck chair a mud screen was applied to the feet and left to dry after which they were washed and then I put my feet in an aquarium of Garra rufa fish [1] (Cyprinion macrostomus) which are supposed to feed off dead skin just as bed bugs do their thing, though they were quite ticklish at first, the effect was soothing.

It appears to be a sort of health craze and now I read that there might be some health consequences for such treatment though some anecdotal evidence points to its therapeutic effects for those suffering from psoriasis.

The 20-minute nibbling lead to a foot massage and then an oil massage, it was all refreshing though not as dramatic as I expected it to be, but I can say I have been to a Turkish bath too and feel the better for it.


[1] Doctor fish - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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