As my daily doldrums continue, there haven’t been any blog-worthy events last week. Just the usual workouts and the usual meals, mostly prepared by the Husband. But yesterday I felt like it was time to indulge a little. So I convinced the Husband to take a trip to the Sauna. It was our first visit after a long hiatus, as I don’t like to go during the warmer months.
Doing some research, I’ve found out that saunas are very different, depending on the country and culture you live in. In Germany, most public swimming pools and gyms have attached sauna areas. They are usually mixed-gender areas and patrons are not allowed to wear any clothes, but you can cover yourself with a towel or a bathrobe. (I have recently bought a so-called ‘sauna kilt’, which is a large towel with a velcro strip. Very handy!)
Sauna etiquette varies a lot, depending on the facility you are visiting, so you should always read and follow the prescribed instructions. Anyway, this is my own personal approach to get my sweat on in the sauna:
- Before I go, I make sure to drink a lot of water (but not a gallon in one go!) and have a light snack. Just like you would before an intense workout, you want to be properly hydrated, but avoid a full belly.
- After entering the sauna area, I take a warm shower, towel down thoroughly, and put on my sauna kilt (see above) and my flip-flop sandals.
- Before I enter the actual sauna room, I take of my kilt or towel and my shoes. I usually choose a lower bench, where the heat is more moderate, and lie down on my towel. I close my eyes and enjoy the silence while my body heats up slowly.
- About 5-10 minutes later, I sit up slowly, waiting for a few more minutes until my body has adjusted, then I leave the sauna.
- Next up is a short outdoor cool down, to get some fresh air into your lungs.
- Now it’s time for a cold shower! This might sound painful, but your body gets really hot in the sauna, so a slightly cold shower actually feels great.
- After cooling down I like to take some rest and drink a glass of water or juice.
If I’m in the mood and have enough time, I might repeat all those steps.
In many German saunas, staff members perform a so-called ‘Aufguss’, usually once an hour. This means that they slowly pour a mix of water and fragrant oils onto hot stones to increase humidity. The staff member also swings a towel around to circulate the hot air through the sauna. This is intense! Even though the temperature stays the same, the air feels much hotter because of the humidity. An ‘Aufguss’ is definitely not for beginners! As usual, listen to your body, and leave the sauna as soon as you start to feel uncomfortable.
Do you like to go to the sauna, too?