Tuesday, March 16

Sauna 101

The backyard sauna....
A sauna (pronounced /ˈsɑunɑ/), is a small room or house designed as a place to experience dry or wet heat sessions. The Finnish sauna gets its name from the fact that it originated in Finland (duh), where almost every family owns and uses one. The Finnish sauna is an ideal means of relaxation, but in Finland it is also a means of familial and social bonding. It serves as a communal meeting-place, since almost everyone in that land uses a sauna at some time during the day. 
A sauna session can be a social (or alone) affair in which the participants disrobe and sit or recline in temperatures of 70°C to over 100 °C.  This induces relaxation and promotes sweating.  Sauna bath opens the pores on skin and helps body to remove toxins and other impurities from within the body and blood.  People experience freshness in mood and health for longer time once they take sauna bath, as the body gets cleansed through sweating and muscles are relieved leading to the feeling of well-being.

Sauna bath is also useful in joint pains as the warm steam helps blood flow resume effectively in all parts of the body and the contracted muscles are relieved.  Regular sauna bath can also help mental and physical relaxation and release tension. People with sleep disorders such as insomnia and improper sleep condition can be benefited through sauna as it is very effective in inducing a good long relaxing sleep.  The heat generated during sauna bath helps our body in improving our immune system by increasing our body heat which simulates the fever condition. We also know about the medical properties of steam, which proves to be of great help in treating problems like cold (sinusitis), bronchitis, laryngitis etc.   (We put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the water that goes on the rocks- works great!)  So there you go, everything you needed to know about the sauna!! (mostly according to wikipedia)

Many years ago Bill got the idea in his head that he wanted a sauna. I probably rolled my eyes, why ever would we need a sauna? How about a dishwasher instead??  He talked about it for a long time and finally one day had our faithful heavy-lifter friends help him move a sauna building to our back yard that he found from an ad in the paper. The kids thought it was great, they were little at that time. We would all sit in there and tell stories and knock-knock jokes and then run out and jump in the snow or the water sprinkler. Well, not all of us would do that, I still can't bear to do that.
When we moved to this house 10 years ago our faithful heavy-lifter friends helped us move it again. It was a sad night on New Years Day a few years later when it burned down in a matter of minutes; I guess it got too hot behind the wood stove. In the front part of the building we had stored all of our camping equipment. So Bill and I had a great weekend in Duluth shopping for all new camping stuff after the insurance check came and then he started sauna hunting again! This time he bought a kit that came from Canada and it went up relatively easy after we had a foundation ready for it. We stained the outside and even learned how to lay brick for the insert where the wood stove loads from the outside of the building.  It can accomodate five very comfortably and seven if you squeeze, which let's just say is not too desirable in a sauna.

I have gone from being a skeptic to a sauna lover liker, lover is a little strong.  There is a momentary uncomfortableness in between feeling REALLY hot and starting to sweat but once the sweat starts dripping it feels lovely.  And from there it doesn't take too long depending on the temperature.  I know I am cooked thoroughly when the sweat is pouring, the skin is rolling and I can feel/hear my heart beat throughout my entire body.  Bill ususally does a cool down and then goes back for another session but not me, I am done at this point.  However, I am not a true Finlander because I can't do the shocking cold thing like most real sauna -ers.  Occasionally, someone is brave enough to throw cold water or snow on me, but this is not a good idea, because if momma ain't happy........well you know how it goes.  So I still take a warm shower afterwards, and loofa all that dead skin off.  And wah-lah, your skin feels incredibly soft and smooth and you are so relaxed you could fall asleep instantly.  You should try it!!

If you ever feel like you need to relax or you have a cold and need to get some moisture in the lungs or maybe just want to do some social communing and bonding, call us and we will stoke the stove and have it ready for you!  Our sauna house is your sauna house.


Rachelle said...

Ahhh... sauna. I never pronounce it correctly.

Connie said...

Neat sauna! We have an infrared sauna in our basement. I should use it more often, but getting all hot and sweaty isn't my most favorite thing! It IS an excellent way to detox your body.