What sounds like a relaxing steam bath turns out to be an unexpected hot and cold attack on your body which leaves your skin silky soft. In order to set your expectations correctly I’ll give you an idea of what an steam bath in Baños is like, or at least what mine was like.
You start in a box that resembles what I imagine an ancient torture device looked like. I now know what it feels like to have your head in the stocks. The box fills with hot steam, and you stay for about 7 minutes.
Next, they will take out out of the steam box and you will use a towel to run freezing cold water over every inch of your body before returning you into the steam. This hot/cold transition repeats 3 – 4 times with 7 minutes in the steam and one full body cover of freezing water. Yes, we paid for this torture.
After you have had enough of the self-induced torture of running the ice cold towel over your body they allow you to sit for a minute in a seat submerged in equally cold water while you once again cool your body down with icy water.
Once you have finished with the bucket of water, in an attempt not to waste the water you are told to pick it up and dump whats left over your head. I’m still not sure if this is actually part of the experience or if our assistant simply got pleasure out of seeing us shiver under the shock of the water. Each step seemed to do the same thing, but they jazz it up with “creative” ways of making you cold.
After every cold water activity you are returned to the steam bath to heat your body again with the sweet smelling steam. With all of the cold water shocking your body, you long to jump back in the steam bath. Your body is constantly switching from sweating hot to ridiculously cold.
At the end of the procedure you are asked to stand in a shower like stall and your assistant will use a (really strong fine tipped water hose) The strength of this water would take paint off a wall. It is highly concentrated and you can tell she practices because she has good aim!
We felt an unexplained enjoyment in response to the ever-changing temperatures. While it sounds like insanity to do this to your body, there was a comfort to knowing that after the cold you knew there was 7 minutes of warm ahead, and vice versa.
We loved the hour steam bath and paid a whopping $4 per person to experience this fabulous torture. When you are in Baños we highly suggest you check out the different spas and get steamed!