Sauna for Rookies
The Art of Sweating
Heat baths are the oldest traditions known to man. Saunas and steam baths have been used in religion and relaxation for centuries. And their health benefits have been documented in several medical journals. From Mayan’s religious sweat house ceremonies to Finland’s national pastime and Russian banyas, it’s clear we love to sweat. So, of course, there’s an art to sweating. Here’s a quick guide for beginners.
All “saunas” aren’t equal. A good sauna for the method below is one that heats up to 194 degrees Fahrenheit and is dry. So, skip the infrared units and the steam rooms and stick to the traditional Finnish sauna. The Finnish Sauna Society suggests you have a minimum of 150 degrees; anything below and bacteria will flourish. Before you begin this spiritual journey, know that aromatic fragrances, colored lights and music has no place in a sauna. Most sauna pros keep it simple with the aroma of fresh birch and natural tar.
- To start, get your sauna as hot as possible, and make sure you’ve got two to three hours to devote to your sauna experience.
- Get in the sauna and relax for about 12 to 20 minutes or until you first break a sweat.
- Hop out of the sauna and into a cool pool or stand in the shower for 5 seconds.
- Follow this by a 15- to 20-minute relaxation period.
- Repeat the cycle twice.
- If you feel any discomfort, listen to your body and abort mission.
- Once you’re done cool down gradually and drink 2 to 3 glasses of water.
As you enjoy your experience, be purposeful with your experience. Don’t spend it on your phone. Use the time to reflect or let your mind wander. Take our tips seriously and you might just sweat out what ails you, physically and spiritually.