There is a lot of chatter about “dry” sauna, “wet” sauna, and the IRS style stern signage in public saunas:
“Do NOT toss water on sauna rocks”
Here’s the scoop:
Water in the hot room
An authentic sauna is meant to take water on the sauna stove rocks. Loyly, the steam created from tossing water on sauna stove rocks, is an integral part of the sauna experience. Loyly is an intensely important physical, mental, spiritual element to authentic sauna. More on Loyly here.
A little water dumped over ones head in the hot room is not a bad thing. Many prefer to start their hot round with a quick rinse and wet hair. However, dumping water or showering in the hot room is not the right play.
The cool down
A key element to the authentic sauna experience is the cool down. This step is best described as departing the hot room, heading outside and either:
- Jumping into a cold lake.
- Standing under a cold shower.
- Dumping 32 oz. of cold water over one’s head.
The Clean Rinse:
- Gets rid of sweat.
- Helps wash open pours of the skin.
- Stimulates blood flow and helps jump start the endorphin rush.
Three sauna rounds and three Clean Rinse’s will leave one refreshed and more clean than many hours in the shower or bathtub. Why? The repeated process of heat up and cool down is a natural cleaning process. Opening and closing of skin pores. Soap is not needed.
After a clean rinse, it is very important to hang out in the misty garden all wet with rain. Fresh cool air helps relax the body, mind, and spirit. Fresh cool air helps bring the BODY back to a neutral state. Many people return to the hot room too soon. It is best when the entire body cools back down to a neutral state. Otherwise, sauna sessions become microbursts. A constant chase from hot to cold, cold to hot. A chilly wind across wet skin may trigger the mind to say “brrr… cold.. get warm.” But it’s a trick. The body is a radiator with lots of heat mass. Get back to neutral and start again.
“Rinse offs are an outside affair.”