So I live in Finland, the land of the Sauna, and my wife and I just moved into a new apartment with its own sauna (pretty typical of Finnish homes & apartments).
Finns love to Sauna. Some sauna once or twice daily, some only every few months, but most Finns sauna once or twice a week.
Prior to having our own Sauna, my wife and I would only really go when we visited her parents farm (where they sauna every Tuesday and Saturday evening like clockwork), or for special occasions when we would book the Shared Sauna in our old apartment complex.
I know that saunas have lots of health benefits, and I'm guessing that they would be considered a good thing on the Paleo scale. My question is:
How long should I sauna? How often should I sauna? What temperature is ideal? When does sauna become unhealthy? Any other sauna-related suggestions?
asked bytrentasaurus (524)
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on December 29, 2011
at 09:44 PM
When I lived in NE Scotland, I would sauna 1-2 x a week.
My take is that temperature, time and frequency is a matter of personal preference.
Unless your wife is pregnant & not used to saunas (probably not the case from what you've written,) there is no "ideal" temperature.
If you listen to your body, stay hydrated and stand up every 15-20 min (if you feel dizzy--probably time to get out!) you should be fine.
Make sure you are getting enough Magnesium & Potassium if you sauna daily--you want to keep your electrolytes balanced.
on December 30, 2011
at 12:16 PM
I'm Finnish, so I'm The Authority on this matter. Having said that, Dragonfly's answer pretty much covers how to do it.
There's hardly a better way to relax. When you really want to relax, I recommend going in for however long is comfortable, and out to cool down to take a dip in the lake, rolling in the snow in the winter if you can't make a hole in the ice or don't have a lake, or to have a drink, and repeating several times.
The sauna hierarchy is: electric saunas are the worst, wood burners better, savusauna (smoke sauna) is best (no chimney).
As for proper etiquette:
- No clothes allowed, only pussies wear clothes in the sauna, whether it's a public sauna or unisex (Finnish women are no pussies, either).
- Real men stay in sauna and throw increasing amounts of water on the rocks until their buddies run out because they "heard their wife calling them," others take it as it goes (Dragonfly's guide)
- Vihta or vasta (bundle of freshly cut birch twigs with leaves on them) is excellent to whip yourself with in the summer in the sauna; no, it's not cruel or unusual punishment http://www.flickriver.com/photos/tags/vihta/interesting/
- Eating or drinking is not allowed. Alcohol doesn't count.
- Only talk allowed is grunts, but if necessary (for example, the sauna is on fire), 1-3 word sentences are allowed. Cursing doesn't count.
on December 29, 2011
at 11:33 PM
I once visited Norway for winter holidays. At the end of every day (not hunting for elks but doing cross-country) we ended up in the sauna. Really relaxing, cooling ourself with fresh snow from the outside.
The sauna was that big we even started snowball fights from time to time. Totally refreshing. We were really longing for dinner afterwards. I enjoyed it very much. Every single day!