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Thread: Maqiq aka Steam bath, shower alternative?

  1. #1
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    Apr 2009
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    Tuluksak, AK
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    Default Maqiq aka Steam bath, shower alternative?

    Anyone use a Maqiq (yupik name for steam bath) or a sauna instead of a shower? I've started taking maquiqs with a sponge bath at the end now that I'm living in the bush. Anyone else use them as an alternative to a shower or bath? For 3-5 people we use about 10 gallons of non-purified river water for the steam/ bathing and about 1/2 a quart per person of clean water for drinking. The ones out here are pretty simple/ cheap to build being about 8x12 with a stove made out of a 55 gallon drum or cut down fuel oil tank.

    To me it seems like they are a pretty good "bush" bath and a nice relaxer at the end of a long day.

  2. #2
    Member Alaska Grandma's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    little log cabin on the river
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    We have a sauna/steam bath out here. Our is a simple log cabin style...12 X 8. The 4 X 8 changing room has a plywood partition and a thick blanket and a tarp for a door in the middle to separate the changing/cooling room from the inner hot room. The 8 X 8 hot room has a bench along the long wall and a homemade 55 barrel drum stove surrounded and partially covered with rocks for steaming. I have a 5 gallon pot on the stove if for some reason the water in buckets on the bench do not get hot enough while everything is heating up and also use the hot water in the pan for steaming on the hot rocks. I usually heat our sauna for several hours or more depending on outside temperatures. I enjoy making homemade steam tea/brews and boil that up in a small coffee can on the stove and add more water to that during the steam so it overflows onto the rocks and stove. The herbal steam tea is very beneficial and I have many different recipes of types of wild herbs to use for various purposes...some for the skin, other are good for sinus/cold/flu and some are simply for the aroma therapy. Our sauna can get hot, too hot for some folks at 200F. That is just about perfect for us. There has been a few times when the stove has taken off and it can get to 225 and that, let me tell you, is too hot to sit down on the bench and can melt a plastic bucket if it it not filled to the top. Talk about a difference of temps inside and out when it is -40F outside and 200F inside. Just stepping outside after a hot steam can take your breath away! We use anywhere from 5 to 10 gallons of water per person for washing and rinsing and cooling down. The river is close by so why skimp on water? Since we like it so hot I usually keep an extra bucket of cool/cold water down low on the floor if I feel the need to cool down fast. In the summer we can run down to the river for a quick plunge and have even chopped holes in the ice for a refreshing dunk (in our younger days that is). Now I usually just stick to the cold water in the bucket on the floor.

    We sometimes spend a few hours over at the sauna...steaming then cooling down in the changing room sharing the news of the day then back to steam and heat up some more. Nothing like spending a couple hours naked with your spouse.

    A kerosene lamp that shines from the outside window (don't want an oil lamp inside in that heat) lights up the hot room and just a candle or two is perfect for the changing room. A LED lantern also works well in the changing room. The softer light creates a marvelous atmosphere.

    Sauna's are great and a healthy way to get clean and to relax whether you live in the bush or in town. If you haven't tried taking a sauna you really should. It is wonderful.

    Grandma Lori
    If God had intended us to follow recipes,
    He wouldn't have given us grandmothers. ~Linda Henley

  3. #3
    Member
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    Apr 2009
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    Tuluksak, AK
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    Default

    Since I've started taking them a couple weeks ago I think I've used my shower once (doesn't cost me anything for water but it costs my school district around $.25 a gallon). They are great relaxers and I steam almost nightly with some of the natives in the village.

    Most of the natives here steam instead of paying $2.25 a shower. I had never realized steams were an alternative to showers and wondered how people in dry cabins dealt with bathing.

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