|images via here and here|
recently my local gym renovated the old locker room sauna and as a proud Finn i couldn't be happier. growing up, my Finnish family taught me and my siblings at a very early age the true art of how to take a good sauna. nothing is better at the end of a long day, or good workout than a hot sauna. no matter your level of stress, or worries, after spending time sweating it out you will undoubtably feel VERY relaxed and refreshed. you will also sleep super well. Finland is the birth place of the dry sauna ritual and i strongly believe it's key towards good health and a long life. so for any takers here are a few key notes on how to sauna like a true Finn.
1. Finn's use the sauna almost daily, and heat wise, it should be anywhere between 80-90 degrees Celsius. if you haven't taken a sauna before, make sure your start with minimal time and work your way up gradually so you don't over do it or get light headed. also, start by sitting on the bottom bench and slowly over time work your way up to the top to enjoy that full heat.
2. create some hot steam by periodically throwing a small cup sized amount of water on those hot sauna rocks to create short blasts of heat. if you find it hard to breath in the hot air, a trick is to place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and breath slowly.
|image via here|
3. the hot, then the cold, then repeat method is the best ritual of the sauna by far. the trick here is to enjoy the heat for 8-10 mins allowing your body to sweat and detox. then quickly emerse yourself into cool water like a shower, lake or pool for a few seconds. this might sound unpleasant, but with your body warm from the sauna, the cool water actually feels refreshing and not as cold as you would think. then go back into the sauna and repeat another 3 or 4 times.
|image via here|
4. taking a sauna helps to promote good circulation in the body, but Finn's often take this to the next level by gathering up birch branches and making a "vihta". you dip it into water and gently brush or swat yourself with the bunch to relax your muscles, open the pores and increase circulation.
5. finally complete your sauna ritual by following it up with a fresh shower to rinse, clean-up and close the pores.
sauna's are a ritual to be enjoyed by yourself, with friends or with family. if you have access to one i highly suggest you try practicing these techniques if you can to enhance your next sauna experience. i assure you, you won't be disappointed.