Massage Marrakech is about treating yourself to an exotic form of relaxation. The hammams that offer these massage services have long been a testament to this old age tradition that the people of Morocco and most Middle Eastern countries have to offer. There is one particular hammam in Marrakech that I know of that’s been around since the 1500’s and who claims to have served such notable personalities in history such as Florence Nightingale.
These bath houses are huge contributors to Marrakech tourism and is certainly one of the reasons people visit Marrakech today. That is of course aside from the Souks and Riads as well as the appeal of adventure travel that this small and ancient country in the African continent has to offer. Marrakech is a place full of wonders and each visit never ceases to amaze me.
I have been to Marrakech in Morocco twice and on both occasions, I made sure that I visited these hammams and indulged myself in this hygienic and relaxing ritual; massage included. Aside from your basic scrubbing and bath, these hammams also offer their own kind of massage. For those who are not familiar on how these Marrakech bathhouses operate, let me tell you a little bit of history how all these started.
A hammam or bath house was started by the Romans and later on refined by the Ottomans into the Turkish bath that it is famous for today. It was commonly patronized by the people in these areas including Marrakech since their houses lacked indoor plumbing. These ancient structures have evolved into a place of relaxation and a venue for the men and women to socialize aside from just places to clean themselves.
These traditions can still be experienced in many natural hot springs of Turkey, Tunisia, Spain, and Morocco. Before the massage, the procedure starts with a warm-up phase in a steam bath to ensure that the body and skin are well-supplied with blood after which you will be rubbed with black soap made of eucalyptus which is left on your body for around 15 minutes. There were basically three interior rooms that you will be led into.
First is the hot room for sweating in the steam, bathing and is where a traditional full body peeling is then carried out with a “Kese” (pronounced as keys), a glove made of raw silk, loofah or goat’s wool. This is rubbed over the entire body to remove dead skin cells. You would be surprised to see your dead skin literally fall off while you are being scrubbed meticulously.
The second room is the warm room for sitting and for the massage on the floor or on a marble slab. This is where you will be given a massage using fragrant Argan oil derived from the Argan tree which is endemic to the area. The Massage itself soothes your knotted muscles and I would swear it feels like your being run over by a friendly steam roller!
The masseur, whose name I now cannot recall, was exceptional! He told me he had been training on the job since he was a boy. It was undeniable that he had no formal education in physiology or physiotherapy but he definitely knew which muscles to squeeze, what to bend and stretch without pain while I lay face down on the marble slab. I guess you could attribute that to years of experience in giving a massage.