The Sauna Throughout The Ages

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The sauna has been appreciated by man since time immemorial, and is still loved today.  Let’s explore the reasons why saunas continue to have such a strong presence.

A sauna is a small room or dwelling specially designed for bathers to experience wet or dry heat sessions.A bather, or group of bathers, can gather inside of a sauna to experience temperatures as high as 80 degrees Celcius or more. The opening of the pores and sweating make it possible for impurities to easily be removed from the body. In fact, the sauna’s popularity can be attributed to its many health benefits such as stress reduction, detoxification of the body, an improved immune system and other positive changes.

”Sauna” is world that developed in ancient Finland and means a traditional Finnish bath. Stones were heated to very high temperatures and water was poured over them in order to create heat and moisture in the form of steam.The heat would be so strong that often people would undress when this was done.

Over time the sauna evolved to include a metal woodstove with a chimney. In traditional Finnish saunas the temperatures within often exceeded 90 degrees Celcius. Spraying water onto the hot rocks helped perfect this experience by adding a soft steam.

Historically, the Finns used a vihta, a bundle of birch branches with small fresh leaves. They would bind the branches together and use it to gently swat themselves and other bathers.Many bathers continue to practice this today because the vihta stimulates the pores and cells, therefore improving blood circulation. Also, the pleasant birch scent aides in relaxation.

Saunas relieve stress in two ways. One obvious way is psychological; the heat and steam have a highly relaxing effect. The other way in which a sauna relieves stress is by releasing chemicals from the body. When your skin heats up during a bath, large quantities of chemicals that cause stress are expelled from the body. Thus, in addition to reducing the amount of chemicals in the body, the sauna bath also slows the formation of chemicals.

The opening of the pores also makes it easier to remove toxins from the body. Toxins travel through your sweat glands and are released with your perspiration. As noted earlier, a sauna creates a high amount of perspiration and therefore is excellent for detoxification

Finns utilize home saunas on a regular basis, and saunas are lauded thoughout Finland as the best, most natural way to cleanse oneself both in body and mind. Then and now, the sauna remains a key component to healthy living in Finland. Families often bathed together in home saunas, and in the past Finnish women often gave birth in saunas.

As more and more Finns moved to other countries, their customs moved with them, including the sauna. Cultures all over the world now enjoy the pleasure of the sauna. Today, many modern saunas have been improved further, from electric saunas to infrared saunas. The popularity of the sauna has only increased, and people from all over the globe now recognize and enjoy the benefits of the sauna.

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