Sauna Q&A / Jan Seepter

Why Sauna in the Summer?

20 Jun 2022

The sauna season is just beginning! While sauna seems like an obvious choice in the winter time, because who wouldn't like to escape the humidity and cold, sauna in the summer, on the other hand, is a very reasonable choice.

The fact that the sauna is used happily both in the summer as well as in the winter, even in the Mediterranean climate, may be assumed on the basis of a historical fact that by the 3rd century, approximately 850 saunas or terme were built in Rome - the centre of indulgence of the era, or sudatoriums, were heated up to 70°C. But why on Earth? Here are 7 excellent reasons why sauna is a great choice in the summertime.

1. Sweating, sitting on the sauna bench - deep cleansing of the body. In order to keep our body in the best possible condition, we must be able to get rid of residues on an ongoing basis, some of which accumulate under the skin and can only be excreted during long-term sweating. Especially in the summer. It can be successfully and pleasantly done in the Iglucraft sauna, which does not require to heat the steam room too hot. To sweat properly, moderate heat (approx. 70°C) is sufficient, at which it is nice to sit on the stage for a long time or, if the dimensions allow, also to lie down. Steam could also be created by pouring water on the hot stones of a sauna stove very moderately so that condensation does not block the sweat glands. The possibility to beat yourself with the whisk of twigs is like a cherry on top of a cake, which can be applied, in order to raise the body temperature even more to activate the function of the skin and the intensity of sweating.

2. Fresh twigs / herbs bound together in the sauna whisk, which are freely available only in the summer, fill the steam room with a pleasant aroma. Also, the active ingredients of herbs are usually the most intense in the recently collected whisks. According to the folk medicine, many different herbs may be bound into whisks, the use of which has traditionally been varied. However, it is certain that massaging the body by beating it with whisks helps to transport the heat into deeper layers of the skin, it intensifies metabolism, lymph and blood circulation and improves skin elasticity - thus, it has a rejuvenating effect on the skin. The impact is especially noticeable immediately after the sauna, but with frequent sauna visits, interaction with relaxation and reduction of stress, the duration of the rejuvenation treatment is more durable.

3. Muscle relaxation after intense physical activity, effort. Traditionally, in Estonia, the sauna was heated after each working day, when the body had to put up with extreme load performing the field work. Nowadays, the source of muscle tension has become sedentary work and lifestyle, as well as physical exertions during trainings and hikes, after which the heat of sauna is a great way to relax tensions in the muscles. Once again, there is no need to try to create extreme heat. Rather, it is recommended to contribute to a longer stay in the steam room, upon which the effect will be long-lasting and relaxation more thorough. The massage performed by beating oneself with the whisks is also of a great help, especially if it is possible to entrust somebody else with the task and at the same time lie down and enjoy oneself.

4. Cardiovascular training. The influence of self-heating and subsequent cooling in the sauna is like a massage of internal organs and blood vessels. In the steam room, the blood vessels dilate, the heart activity intensifies, oxygen-rich blood is directed from the "reserve" of the internal organs onto the surface of the body to support cooling processes, sweating. The opposite process takes place when plunging from sauna to a much cooler environment - a pool or a body of water or pouring oneself over with cold water. The blood vessels narrow, the heart activity intensifies as a result of a shock and then slows down to a considerable extent. The whole process strengthens the heart and improves the elasticity of blood vessels, which helps to prevent / alleviate hypertension, especially if you can use spring water for cooling. In summer, it is also possible to stay in the water for a longer period of time after taking a steam bath as if floating in the mother's womb, which is an extremely relaxing and sometimes even ecstatic undertaking. This sort of luxury, though, can be afforded only in a perfectly warm water, instead of plunging into an ice hole during the winter or in a water body during the autumn or spring coolness. 

5. Stress relief, holiday travel. If, after an active day, it is possible to take a steam bath in the sauna, let the heat warm your body, sweat, massage yourself with fresh, pleasantly smelling whisks and then cool down, by plunging into a natural or artificial water body or, in their absence, taking a cool shower, the body's defence mechanisms activate. Intracorporeal hormones, which come to the rescue in a stressful situation, should ensure the stability of the body's functioning and find a solution in case of the emergence of any problems. Anyhow, since we have already relieved the muscle tension in the steam room by pleasantly massaging the body with the whisks and then only simulated a stressful situation by alternating cold and hot, we have tricked our body to obtain a lot of extra relaxation. It is also not uncommon that after the relaxation of internal tensions one reaches unprecedented peace and bliss, or in other cases be brought to ecstasy, lying and meditating alone in the sauna.

6. Improved skin, which tends to be a problem especially during hot summers. The intense and controlled heat of a sauna stimulates circulation within your body. This helps remove dead cells, relax facial tensions, improve skin elasticity, and detoxes out unhelpful bacteria. Ultimately leaving your skin refreshed, nourished, and glowing. 

7. Sauna - an enjoyable social pastime that is always special. One goes to the sauna only in a good company, leaving all worries behind so that one may feel free and unforced. Such wisdom has been shared mouth-to-mouth for centuries. By doing this, all the tensions in the body and mind may be blown off in the four corners of the world, in order to relax, to be purified. In this peaceful mood, special sensations and experiences of wow-effect have occurred that are good to be shared with friends and loved ones.

This how special and trusting the atmosphere may become in the sauna may perhaps be illustrated by a memory of mine, when once during another sauna seminar that I was holding in Saaremaa, a former manager of an agricultural holding came up to me and said that all the agreements concluded in the sauna at the time worked and lasted long, thus there was no need to write them down.