Like most sports or hobbies, using quality gear the right way propels enjoyment and satisfaction:
- Bicycling: $100 bike shorts and you can go 80 miles without your ass on fire.
- Canoeing: light kevlar canoe and you can portage to Montana.
- Yoga: the right teacher and your body and mind are in synch vs. feeling like you’ve just hung sheet rock for 8 hours.
Same gig with sauna. One’s appreciation and enjoyment of the authentic sauna experience is heightened by good technique and a good sauna. Unfortunately, most hotel saunas and health club saunas are lame. What’s worse, most hotel saunas and health club saunas are in environments of huge compromise, antithesis of nature and fresh air . Three Tips:
- Cold water plunge. The temptation is to turn the shower to lukewarm. Avoid this, take as cold of a shower as you can handle. This is important for maximizing the rubber band theory of sauna.
- Cool down between rounds. Sit outside between rounds. March through the hotel lobby in your towel and seek a cool spot outside for cool down. Avoid the self consciousness of looking like a dork. Nobody cares. Fresh air is important for the cool down, body and mind. You paid to be there, it’s not your fault they haven’t provided a nice outdoor courtyard. Bring a beer with you.
- It’s ok to be a Low Bench Larry. When tossing water on sauna rocks, hotel saunas and health club saunas often suffer from burning “ouch” vs. Loyly “ahh”. A good sauna round is 10 minutes or so in the hot room, and equal time cooling down. With an all on or all off extreme of electric sauna stoves, sometimes the low bench is how one can ride out the burning sensation of water on the sauna rocks.
So, like an expensive road bike, or kevlar canoe or high end yoga classes, we sauna enthusiasts have chosen to build our own saunas – our backyard sauna, or cabin sauna for our own health and wellness satisfaction in the misty garden all wet with rain.
No guru, no method, no teacher, just you and I in nature.