A Sauna Primer For Curious Intellectuals

Saunas have been around for centuries, or perhaps even millennia. They originated in Finland as far as history can tell. They can be an excellent way to relax and they can provide a great venue for getting some much-needed headspace. If you’ve never had any experience using a sauna though, there can be some questions that might come up in your mind. Especially here in the United States, where sauna use is a bit less prevalent than in other parts of the world.

Why Should You Sauna?

There are so many reasons why people choose to sauna. The most common use is probably for leisure, as it can simply be a nice and calming way to relax. It can also be a great way to sooth your muscles or participate in heat therapy (talk to a qualified professional before going this route, of course). Believe it or not, it’s also a common way that people socialize in a lot of eastern European countries.

What Type Of Sauna Should You Use?

The absolute best type of sauna that you can find these days from a functionality and user experience standpoint is the barrel sauna. They have a lot of room, can be made to heat up quickly and efficiently, and they have an aesthetic quality to them that makes them stand out from the rest. The main issue with them, however, is that they most often need to be installed outdoors, which can be undesirable for any number of reasons. This is why it’s more common for people to get indoor saunas, they are simply more practical in the society that we live in.

How Often Should You Sauna?

This is is something that will vary from person to person and really comes down to why you are using the sauna. MBISR recommends a few different schedules depending on what your personal needs are. If you are someone who is heavily into fitness it probably makes sense to use the sauna after you have finished your exercise. If you are just looking to relax, the end of the day can be a good time to let your body reset. Some people like to pair sauna sessions with cold showers, as they feel that it’s the best way to get the most out of your efforts. The one thing to be aware of is that you should really avoid using the sauna too frequently, as you can overdo it.

What Temperature Should Your Sauna Be At?

This is again something that will vary depending on your personal preferences. However, there are at least a few guidelines you can use to help get you started. You obviously don’t want it to be too cool, and anything below 60˚C (140˚F) simply won’t cut it. On the other end of the spectrum, you can literally cook yourself if you go too hot. Finnish saunas can get up to 100˚C (212˚F), which is certainly extreme. If you’re just getting started, try out a sauna at 60˚C and see how it goes. You can always increase the temperature next time.