Many people asked me over the time a question – What is the procedure of taking sauna? Although it looks like a simple question, many sauna fans would answer it differently. Particularly owners of self-built saunas – after all, who would be willing to admit that his own sauna was too dry, too wet or uncomfortable? I will not argue with any of them here but just describe traditional Finnish way.
The authentic Finnish sauna includes the following elements:
- Loyly (The spirit in the sauna that permeates your soul after throwing water on the stones)
- Whisking (sauna is considered incomplete without that procedure)
You may repeat elements from number 2 to 7 many times. There’s no hard-and-fast rules except for this very important one – Leave yourself plenty of time. In fact the best of all is to forget about your communication to the world (mobiles, phones, Internet, TV and so forth). Hide your watch – you and your inner self is the only one to pay attention to.
Here is a simple guide line taken from the Finnish Sauna Society (www.sauna.fi):
1. Reserve enough time, at least an hour and a half.
Leave your clothes in a dressing room. It is also important to remove your watch, rings and any other jewelry as the heat in the sauna may distort the metal and burn the flash that wears it. Contact lenses and glasses should also be removed, as should dental plates and the like. It is common to wear kick-off sandals to walk in to the sauna though these are usually left on the floor and never used when on the benches. You should also have a clean set of clothes to wear after the sauna. Take something to sit on (for example a small towel) in to the sauna room.
2. Take a shower or a dip in water before entering the hot room. This is to moisten your skin and to remove any possible body or fragrant odors, which do not belong to the sauna.
When entering the sauna, it is important to remember that there will be at least two levels of benches – the high bench is always the hottest.
3. Enter the hot room for the first round. The recommended temperature is 80 to 90 degrees C. At first the air may be dry. Increase humidity by throwing water onto the rocks in the stove. Using the whisk is not recommended during the first round since the skin has not yet softened adequately.
4. Leave the hot room when you feel hot enough and cool off by taking a shower or a quick swim or just by sitting in room temperature or outside. Have a drink if you feel thirsty, but avoid alcohol in the sauna.
5. Take a second round in the hot room, which now should already be more humid than the first round. After warming up you can use the whisk if you please. It feels the best with adequate humidity and temperature.
6. Cool off again.
Repeat the hot-cold cycle as many times as you feel comfortable with. Use the whisk to your preferences. For most of the people two rounds are usually right.
7. Return to the hot room for a short warm up to soften the skin.
8. Wash up.
After washing yourself you can return to the hot room for a while, now preferably to a lower temperature.
9. Finally, clean yourself thoroughly with soap and the sauna brush. Dry yourself with a towel or just by sitting in room temperature. You can also lay down and even close your eyes for a while if you feel like it.
Have a refreshing drink and a salty snack according to your personal taste.
Before putting on clean clothes allow enough time for cooling off, otherwise the sweating may still continue. Also watch out not to get cold since the body is in more “sensitive” state after the sauna than normally.
10. Leave the sauna and the dressing room in tidy condition.
THAT’S ALL. ENJOY YOUR SAUNA!