Saunatimes interview series continues.
Kevin, Tyler, Chris, and Doug share with us their sauna routine through this interview and their video production.
Welcome to saunatimes. First off, where are you located? Where is the sauna located that is featured in the film?
We are located in Utah. The sauna we go to is located in the men’s faculty locker room on our university’s campus –which we would like to remain anonymous (Even though there are clues in the video as to which university it is, haha).
You outline your sauna routine as 3 sessions, or rounds, I’m interested in learning how you came up with that number. It seems “three’s the charm” for a lot of people in a lot of cultures.
We settled on the 3 sessions for several reasons. First, we often try to sauna for around an hour and we find that 3 sessions that last 15 minutes each is the optimal time in-sauna for heating up. We also find that it leaves us some 3-4 minutes between sessions for an ice cold shower to cool us off to the point of brain freeze and thereafter lets us experience the euphoria of heating back up. After the 3rd session we take normal showers, wash off and get dressed in the remaining 10 or so minutes, now completely clean. Somehow there is this “feel” that an hour sauna-ing is right. Less time, either shorter sessions or fewer sessions, isn’t enough and longer sessions or more sessions will often be too much. Getting 3 fifteen minute sessions in is perfect.
The cold shower. Is it hard to turn the shower all the way to cold, when you don’t have to?
The shower draws water from some external source, a tank presumably, that often reflects the temperature outside. We sauna year-round but the best time to sauna is in the winter. It heats you up to the very core, to the bones. When it comes time to take the cold shower during the winter the water literally becomes ice cold as we turn it to the maximum cold setting so we experience brain-freezes. Sometimes we leave our sessions pre-maturely or before we’ve been able to heat it up hot enough, usually after the very first session, and so we do sometimes find it to be intimidating to take a cold shower when we aren’t heated up all the way yet, but we do it anyway because the euphoria of heating back up after freezing oneself is worth it.
We noticed “absolutely do not throw water on the sauna rocks” sign in the hot room. And you have found a way to abide by this rule in creative fashion. Can you describe? And do you think all sauna stoves are meant to take water on the rocks?
That is a great question. We actually do abide by the spirit of the rules and we are completely respectful of the location and what we are asked to do, despite the satirical nature of some of the things we say in the documentary. Some years ago when we first started sauna-ing the rule didn’t exist. We used the sauna according to our custom for years of blissful sessions. From time to time, we noticed that we would go into the sauna and it would be turned off. Eventually, the sign seen in the documentary was posted. We subsequently discovered that the reason it was turned off on occasion is because sauna-noobs will go in and pour so much water onto the rocks that the rocks, even as hot as they are, can’t evaporate the water entirely before drips flow into the heating element coils inside. When water hits the coils, it trips the breaker in the sauna which will require someone to come in and reset it, or “fix” it. We have never tripped it because we know how to apply water in a fashion sufficiently sprinkled that the water always evaporates on the rocks and never reaches the coils. This steaming is also how we get the essential oil aromas to diffuse effectively through the whole sauna, such oils as lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, and others that we apply at random during our sessions.
Additionally, we’ve found a couple of other ways that don’t include applying water to the rocks to heat it up. Often we will fill up a gallon jug with water and drench the wood walls of the sauna. That water will evaporate very effectively in a “time-release” fashion and is the secret to getting the sauna ultra-hot when combined with one other technique: cooling off the heat sensor. Above the sauna is a temperature sensor on the wall. When we throw water onto the sensor, it tricks the mechanism into thinking it is cooler than it actually is which kicks the sauna heating element on. These techniques combine into achieving optimal, true Finnish-style temperatures in the sauna.
Have you or your posse taken a sauna heated by a wood burning sauna stove? If so, what’s your thoughts?
We have not yet experienced a wood burning sauna, unfortunately, so we aren’t able to speak to that topic. However, we would be very interested in experiencing that and every other kind of sauna we can at some point.