I went for a sauna today. I had not been for a long time and I am so pleased that I went and sweat it all out!
My mother was a Finnish lady. She grew up having regular sauna sessions as part of her culture. I was fortunate to learn this ancient tradition and lifestyle from my mom. It is rather strange as I was brought up in Northern Cyprus which is not the coldest countries of all...
When we had our house built my mum demanded to have a sauna built also and we had at the time the Finnish UN soldiers come and instal our sauna for us. We had many happy family sauna sessions while I was growing up during the winter months when I was young.
Later on as I grew older life got in the way and I lost this practice as I got busy with my work and family life in England. But in the recent few years I re-introduced sauna into my well being practice and here I want to tell you why you should too!
A sauna is a room built specifically to go into experience heat to aid cleansing the body. There are different types of saunas. There are the traditional heat saunas where you heat the room with a burning stove and pour water on it to produce steam. There are more modern saunas which we see in the UK that produce dry heat only and there are the infrared saunas that heat you from within that use a different technology. You don't experience a sweating sensation with the latter perse but you detoxify on a cellular level.
Sauna increases blood flow to the skin and aids sweating which rids the body of toxins. Regular sauna sessions have been shown to be beneficial for cardiovascular health conditions such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
Regular sauna sessions also are reported to be beneficial to muscle aches and strains and various health conditions involving the muscle and skeletal system.
Having a good sauna that induces sweating can be deemed cleansing and uplifting. And in my opinion it is a bit like marmite you either love it or hate it.
I regard having a sauna session as having an anti ageing effect on the body especially the skin as it dilates the pores, causes the blood to flow to the skin and lets our toxins and dirt matter come out with the sweat. This softens the skin and after a good scrubbing you have a squeaky clean exfoliated skin as good as new!
Apart from some of the above mentioned health benefits a sauna also has social benefits. As traditionally families would get together to have sauna sessions. Where they would sweat in the sauna than have a family meal together to end the celebration. This is where a good old traditional Finnish sauna comes into play. Where you would fit families into the room. Where as with a infrared sauna you usually can only fit in one or two persons and so it is an isolated experience only for it's health benefits.
I am hoping to enjoy the benefits of a traditional Finnish sauna this summer when I will throw ladles of water on to the rocks on the stove while I beat my back with beech branches and than jump into the cold forest lake to freshen up and than do it all over again!
I thoroughly enjoyed my sauna session at the leisure centre today. It made me feel refreshed, light and energised. It was a wonderful and peaceful experience that I would recommend to anyone. Just ensure you build up to a tolerable heat gradually to enjoy the benefits. Always make sure you have some water to re-hydrate after you sauna session.