Hot and Bothered

Get beaten with sticks at an old-school steam bath.

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idden in an ugly brick building in the shadow of the Tobin Bridge, Dillons Russian Steam Bath is an anachronism in a world of trendy gyms and pricey spas. The oldest Russian steam bath in the United States, Dillons has been around since 1885, subjecting patrons to 180-degree heat and the odd tradition of pleytzik (Yiddish for “shoulders”), which involves being beaten with soap-imbued oak leaves. “Jewish acupuncture,” the regulars call it, and they swear by it. And those regulars? They’re almost all men. Low key and unpretentious, Dillons is for men only, except on Monday nights, when it’s for women only. Nor is Dillons for the meek. People of all ages walk around naked, enjoying a shvitz or a reasonably priced massage on one of the communal benches. It’s the cheapest way to let everybody see you sweat—and enjoy it. Jacobson

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Of the estimated 2.95 million Americans who claim Russian ancestry, 44 percent live in the Northeast, and 50,000 in the Boston area.

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