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Some Like It Hotter

Ethnic baths ranked in order of increasing agony.

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5. Turkish Hammam
Top Temp: 90˚f
The most intense room within tiled Turkish bathhouses is called the hararet and houses a central belly stone, or göbek tasi, where ritual scrubs take place. The slab reaches 110 degrees via radiant heat, while the room maintains a humid heat upwards of around 100 degrees.

4. Japanese Onsen
Top Temp: 130°f
The Japanese word for hot springs, onsen has become synonymous with bathhouses. Most onsen also house steam rooms and saunas, but the main feature is the ofuroa deep soaking tub heated to the triple-digit mark.

3. Korean Jjimjilbang
Top Temp: 140°160°f
The signature fixtures of a Korean bathhouse are the Hanjeungmak: dome-shaped, kilnlike saunas heated by a wood fire. They get so hot that hard-boiled eggs are often cooked inside, and bathers are wont to protect themselves from the dry heat with potato-sack-like jute blankets.

2. Swedish Saunas
Top Temp: 160°200°f
Constructed of cedar wood, these saunas produce almost zero humidity, which keeps the conditions slightly more bearable than

1. Russian Banyas
Top Temp: 200°f
The Russians consider it a point of pride to pair relaxation with pain. Rocks inside a closed masonry oven are heated by a 2,500 degree flame and intermittently doused with water to produce steam that can raise temperatures to near-inhumane levels.


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