Banya and Mental Health



Sigmund Freud is sitting half naked on a bench with his legs crossed, his middle covered by a checked towel, while his friend Carl Gustav Jung has a towel slung over his shoulders and sits on a step a few meters away. Both men are relaxing on the porch of what looks like a simple, countryside banya and both men appear to have recently enjoyed the steam. Freud looks directly at the camera while Jung is looking pensively to his left. The two fathers of psychoanalysis are silent, but united in the calm after the steam.


Sadly the photo is a fake. The faces of Freud and Jung have been photoshopped and, although they were great friends, there is no evidence that they bathed together. Which is a shame because it would be a great pretext for an article on mental health and the banya. However, I like to think of the two of them taking a banya together and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that steam baths can promote better mental health and are a great remedy for some of the ills of modern life. They would approve. Most of us probably feel like the man sitting behind Freud, with our heads in our hands after more than a year in the grip of Coronavirus. Here’s why banya can help us emerge from that state and repair our mental health.


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