Did you know that the only Finish word that is used in everyday English is ‘sauna’?
Finnish people are really into their saunas. Did you know that there are more saunas in Finland than cars?
Have you been thinking about trying out this relaxing tradition but don’t know much about it?
Check out these ten sauna tips for beginners.
1. Take a Shower First
Similar to when you use a swimming pool, it’s polite and courteous to shower before taking a sauna. The reason you want to do this is that taking a shower will remove the oily film from your skin and improves your ability to sweat. After showering, make sure to dry yourself thoroughly.
2. You Don’t Have to Be Nude
The sauna is a traditional Finnish practice, and it is customary for Finnish people to go into the sauna nude. That being said, there’s not usually a rule saying you have to be naked if it doesn’t make you comfortable! Wearing a towel or a swimsuit is perfectly acceptable.
3. Respect the Sauna
Americans might think a nude communal activity is obviously raunchy, but this isn’t actually the case. The sauna is a place to cleanse yourself mentally and physically, not to take selfies and get too cozy with your date.
In Finland, there is a belief that you should act in a sauna much like you would in a church. This means you should keep quiet and have reverence. This is a place to relax and rejuvenate, not party.
4. Stay Hydrated
Going in the sauna is going to make you sweat. That means that you’ll want to make sure you’re adequately hydrated ahead of time.
5. Pair it With an Ice Bath
Have you ever jumped from a hot tub into a cold pool and then back again? Consider doing something similar but more extreme when you are using a sauna.
In Finland, it’s common to include an ice bath as a part of the experience. When you hop into an ice bath after steaming in the sauna it can help increase your blood circulation.
6. Know That There Are Several Benefits of Saunas
There are a lot of benefits of saunas. They can help improve your overall wellness, health, and performance. They can also help you recover after intense physical exercise.
Since saunas make you sweat so much, they can also help you release toxins from your body. Some studies have even found that saunas can improve your brain health!
When you use a sauna, you might find that it helps relieve your stress and leads to a better night’s sleep. With regular sauna use, you might find that your skin is cleaner, and some people even use the sauna for weight loss.
7. Know the Different Types of Saunas
There are four different types of saunas. There’s a lot of discussions these days about which type of sauna is the best, comparing and contrasting infrared vs steam saunas, etc. Here’s a breakdown of the four types:
Traditional Finnish Sauna
Also known as the traditional sauna, this sauna is wood-lined and beautiful. Inside, you’ll find a pile of heated rocks, a ladle, and a bucket of water. The way you control the humidity is by pouring water on the hot rocks.
The steam from the rocks changes the humidity in the room. The higher the temperature it is in a traditional sauna, the lower the humidity is.
A dry sauna is very similar to a traditional Finnish sauna. This is because it also has heated rocks inside to raise the temperature of the structure. In a dry sauna, though, there isn’t any water or a ladle.
If you’re looking for a sauna with a lower humidity level, this might be the one for you. Dry saunas are often found in gyms.
Steam baths have walls lined with glass, tiles, or acrylic. The temperature is lower in a steam bath, at around 120 degrees, but the humidity is 100%. Since the humidity is so high, it feels hotter in a steam bath than it actually is.
An infrared sauna is quite different than the other types of saunas. There is no humidity in an infrared sauna, and the only heat source is far-infrared light. Rather than heating the air in the room, infrared saunas heat your body directly without having to warm the air in the sauna.
This might seem at odds with the description of viewing the sauna experience like a church experience, but it isn’t exactly. There is a difference between relaxing, meaningful socializing, and debaucherous rough-housing. There’s nothing that says being in a sauna has to be a stuffy experience, and it’s an awesome way to spend time with others.
9. Don’t Eat a Huge Meal Right Beforehand
You don’t want to be super stuffed when you first get into the sauna. At the same time, you also don’t want to have an empty stomach. It is ideal to have a light snack before you get in the sauna, maybe some fruit or yogurt.
Before you use the sauna, you can indulge in a warm cup of chamomile tea to improve your ability to sweat.
Nothing is better than a relaxing sauna, whether alone or with good friends. No matter what, when the time comes, just relax. Enough your time chatting with friends or mindfully unwinding from a long day.
Use These Sauna Tips as a Beginner
Trying something new can always be a little nerve-wracking, but the chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your first sauna experience. It can take a little while to acclimate to the heat and humidity, but soon enough you’ll be coming back for more!
Did you find this article full of sauna tips useful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog!