Saunas: Rejuvenate the Body and Spirits
There is evidence to suggest that saunas were built in the 5th century by the Chinese. Nevertheless, it has essentially evolved from Finland where it was used to rejuvenate and refresh the spirits. They became famous with Finnish small rooms or houses being designed as places in which to experience dry or wet sessions. A session in these “saunas” means disrobing oneself and sitting or reclining in temperatures in excess of eighty degrees centigrade, which is meant to induce relaxation as well as sweating.
Modern day saunas in North America as well as Western Europe are found in many gym complexes as well as in public sports centers, spas and most luxury hotels.
Need To Check Humidity Levels
Sometimes, temperatures in these saunas may approach and even exceed hundred degrees centigrade, which would lead to intolerable conditions, so there is a need to check humidity levels often. Finnish saunas, especially the hottest ones, have very low levels of humidity and so air temperatures are of a more tolerable nature, even though water could easily be boiled at such temperatures.
There are other saunas, such as hammam, in which humidity could be as high as one hundred percent and so require temperatures to be set at around forty degrees Celsius to compensate as the wet heat at high temperatures would result in scalding of the skin of the sauna-takers. Saunas have a very soothing effect but may lead to heat prostration or even more seriously, hyperthermia or heat stroke.
Also, a cool shower or plunge into water immediately following the sauna will result in high blood pressure and, therefore, one need to moderate one’s sessions, especially for those having a history of stroke or hypertension.
According to Finnish culture, a sauna is always followed by a cool and refreshing beer that is believed to help in relaxing the body further. Also, by pouring a minute quantity of beer into the water poured on hot stones, it will help to release an odor of the beer’s grain to release the wonderful fresh smell of baked breads into the air. In addition, other scents are also used and birch tree scents are most liked.
It is common for adults to take saunas in the nude and saunas are also considered sex-free as well as gender-free zones. To adhere to hygienic standards, it is common for persons to sit on a towel as it is more comfortable and, in some hotels, as also on cruise ships, alcohol is also served in combination with the sauna.
There are a number of health benefits to the sauna as the heart rate may increase by 50 to 75 percent and is the same amount of metabolic activity that can be gained from physical exercising. Also, blood vessels become flexible and circulation is improved. Then, there is the cleansing of the skin and sweat glands as a result of induced sweating.