The Sauna Is… by Bernard Hillila – book review

A few excerpts from his 1979 book:

  • Time:  “The sauna was not built for saving time, but for spending it well.”
  • Honesty:  “Perhaps the setting is conducive to honesty and getting at the bare facts of an issue: rank and status disappear with the clothing, and one must communicate simply as one imperfect individual who must accept another individual.”
  • Sleep:  “After a sauna one does not worry about insomnia.  And one doesn’t need a prescription for a tranquilizer.”
  • Scalp:  “Bathing… in sauna is, in fact, and excellent first step for good scalp care, which contributes to healthy hair.”
  • Skin: “The sauna does give the skin an aura, and it is said that a woman looks her most beautiful an hour after sauna.  In the sauna… dead skin is removed, and live skin is rejuvenated.”
  • “In this age of slick promotion, the concept of the sauna has at times been misunderstood and misrepresented.”
  • “The acme of the sauna experience is achieved when the shower is replaced by a dip into a lake and when one can sit outside in the altogether, dried by unpolluted breezes.  Some brave souls enjoy a roll in the snow or a dip into a hole in an ice covered lake.  While contemplating such an experience can be a shock, the sensation itself is delightful.”
  • “Many persons find it particularly enjoyable to combine exercise and sauna bathing.  A good workout in tennis, swimming, bowling, or jogging, followed by relaxing and cleansing heat, is a most satisfying  experience.”
  • “In Finland it is very natural to ask friends or neighbors to come for sauna.  As more Americans build saunas, this custom will develop naturally.”
  • “In the sauna a very unusual combination of processes develops: a person sits peacefully at rest while his blood vessels, nerves, and glands work hard.  After such an experience, the person may well feel that he has had a strenuous workout, even though he has been quite relaxed and at ease.  It is difficult to gain a greater senses of physical renewal than that which is provided by this unique combination of exertion  and rest.”
  • “There is no rigidly prescribed procedure – one should use the style he enjoys most.”

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