You may have already tried a sauna session, or you may still have this experience ahead of you. Whatever the case, there’s still probably quite a bit you can learn about this treatment. There are various health benefits, but also health conditions that can make visiting a sauna a bad, even dangerous idea. Additionally, with the history of saunas going back hundreds of years, it’s worth getting to know proper sauna etiquette.
When using the sauna, there are certain rules you should follow. Not everyone, especially a sauna “beginner”, is aware of these guidelines. As we are usually not alone in the sauna, it’s important to follow these rules properly. So how should you use the sauna? How should you act? Read on to learn answers to these and many more questions.
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What you should know before your visit to a sauna
To begin with, you’ll want to focus on two things–how to prepare your body for a treatment and what is the aforementioned sauna etiquette. Learning these tips and rules will help you fully take advantage of a visit to a sauna.
So here are some “before” tips:
- Two hours before using the sauna we shouldn’t eat a huge meal, but we also can’t be hungry. It’s best to eat something light that won’t make us feel heavy. It’s also a good idea to drink a glass of water or juice immediately before entering the sauna. Hydrate your body!
- Under no circumstances should you enter a sauna if you’ve had some beer or other alcohol. This may be dangerous!
- Remember to visit the restroom beforehand, so you won’t have to exit the sauna during the session.
Entering the sauna:
- Entering the sauna area, we need to take off our clothes, our watch, and jewelry, as it may burn us under the influence of the high temperature in the sauna.
- Immediately before entering the sauna we should wash our entire body with soap or gel to remove any residue and impurities.
- Before entering the sauna we need to take off our bathing suit or underwear and our flip flops. In most cases we’re only allowed to use a towel.
Sauna rules explained
In a sauna we should cover our body with as little material as possible. Why? A bathing suit heats up quickly and can burn your body. Additionally, it can prevent your body from properly removing toxins. Hence, you should completely undress before entering the sauna. If entering nude makes you feel uncomfortable you can cover your privates with a towel. However, it is recommended to remove the towel as well. The towel that covers the body neither absorbs, nor gives off heat, inhibiting the natural processes taking place during a sauna session.
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A towel in the sauna is required in order to sit on it or to lie down on it. This is necessary to maintain proper hygiene. Additionally, lying with your naked body on unprotected boards will leave traces of sweat on them. It is also worth having a second towel with you, which you can use to wipe after getting out of the shower. When entering a Finnish sauna you have to have a dry towel, as a wet one will cause stains on the wood.
Here we need to mention the difference between a dry sauna and a steam sauna, as the rules are a bit different. We don’t take a towel into the steam sauna as it would get wet quickly due to the high humidity. Here we sit down directly on the tiles, which we first rinse off with water from a special hose.
Proper behavior is also an essential part of the sauna experience. Being in a small space among strangers requires appropriate conduct. When entering the sauna, it’s worth saying hello and that should be the end of talking. Conversations are considered out of place as people go to a sauna to relax. In a sauna we need to respect the needs of others, be polite and quiet.
When you shouldn’t visit a sauna
If you’re healthy, there aren’t really any reasons why you shouldn’t go to a sauna. However, a sauna is not a good idea for you if you are pregnant or have any of these health issues:
- Cardiovascular diseases,
- An infection or a cold,
- Ulcer issues,
Of course, if you have any doubts as to whether you can visit a sauna, we recommend you ask your doctor.