Sauna originated in Finland, where pits were dug in a slope and were primarily used as dwellings during winters. The dwellings had a fireplace with stones heated to a very high temperature. To warm up the place, water was poured over the stones, which produced steam and the dwelling became warmer in the cold winter months. In some cases, the temperature would increase so much, that people in the house would feel like taking off their clothes! However, over a period of time this method was adopted to experience dry or wet heat sessions. In most cases a sauna session is a social affair, where individuals sit comfortably and relax in temperatures maintained between 70 to 100º Celsius. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the sauna etiquette to be followed so that the sauna session is an enjoyable and relaxing experience for yourself, as well as for others in the sauna.
Dos and Donts in a Sauna
- The first of the sauna rules is to check whether nudity is permissible. In some countries, nudity is permissible, while in others, it is not. Check the rules of the gym or hotel, as they may differ from one establishment to another. Although nudity is permissible, some prefer wearing a towel or on a swimsuit.
- Before entering the sauna room, taking a shower is advisable. This will ensure that the sweat or chlorine from the swimming pool does not accompany you to the sauna room. Taking a shower also ensures that you do not stink.
- As far as possible, do not talk loudly once you enter the sauna room. If at all you must talk, then the 'talk' should be in whispers. Remember people are there to relax themselves and not listen to your woes or gossip.
- In case you want to pour water on the sauna rocks, you should ensure that people present in the sauna do not have any objections to it. If the purpose is generation of dry heat, pouring water on the stones will cause steam generation, thus defying it.
- It is not advisable to do ten other things during your relaxation time in the sauna. A sauna is not the place to trim and file your nails, for example, it's a place to relax.
- While in some countries, mixed sauna sessions are in vogue and permissible, in others, only single sex sauna sessions are allowed. If you are traveling to another country, then you will want to update yourself with the rules of the land regarding single and mixed sex saunas.
- After entering the sauna, it is best not to make an eye contact with the people around. Staring at others in the sauna can make the person you are looking at, feel awkward and uncomfortable. Keeping to yourself is good. One is not in the sauna for socializing.
- Here is one important tip for men and women. While sitting in the sauna, keep comfortable space between yourself and the person next to you. It is not advisable to sit, within spatter distance of someone else. Remember, one needs to be comfortable and be able to breathe properly, while in the sauna.
- Following the entry and exit policy in the sauna is important. Also judge rightly, when you should enter and/or exit the sauna and plan the time you should spend inside.
These were some of the basics of sauna etiquette, which you should make a note of. The etiquette will change from one land to another. Therefore, it is best to get yourself acquainted with the policies and rules of the sauna you plan to go to.