WHAT TO WEAR, HOW TO GO, WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOURSELF – a person who is going to a bathhouse or sauna for the first time has a lot of questions. And those who have already gone to take a steam bath often feel uncomfortable in the bath and do not understand what exactly needs to be done there. To make your visit to the sauna (city or country) as comfortable as possible, we have compiled a short guide on how to choose a sauna or bathhouse, how to behave, and what to expect from the first trip to the steam room.
How does the sauna differ from the bath?
There are not so many differences as it might seem. Russian baths and Finnish saunas were traditionally used not only for relaxation but replaced bathrooms where they could not be installed. In tsarist Russia and later, public baths were preserved, much less luxurious than Sandunovsky, but allowing the inhabitants of the city to maintain themselves in relative cleanliness. And in Finland, up to the 1940s, many children were born in the sauna – it was often the cleanest place in the land, and even allowed to carry out a “shameful” procedure away from the eyes of men, as was then considered necessary.
Now saunas and baths can consist of only two rooms: the changing rooms and the steam room itself, but there must be, if not a separate room for washing, then at least a shower nearby. The main thing in both the bath and the sauna is the heating process itself, which is achieved in slightly different ways. Although the temperature in the Finnish sauna is high (about 80 degrees, but it can reach 160 degrees), it allows you to stay in the steam room for a relatively long time and generally provides a relaxing pastime. In the bath, the air is usually hot (at 100 degrees and above), and the humidity is higher, so you need to sit in it only until the moment when the situation begins to cause discomfort (even if this happens after a few minutes). By the way, funny felt hats in the bath allow you to avoid heatstroke, so you shouldn’t neglect them.
Temperature and humidity are the main differences between saunas in different cultures, so it makes more sense to focus not on their name, but the combination of these characteristics. If you are not enraged by the high humidity, you can try the hammam: the heat is relative there, 30-50 degrees, but the humidity reaches 100%. It will be drier and hotter in the conditional Finnish (the preferences of the Scandinavian neighbors do not differ much from the Finns’ ideas about an ideal sauna), but very hot and, sorry, humid – in a Russian bath. Infrared saunas stand apart: they heat not the air, but the body, and deeper, so this is an ideal find for those who cannot stand high temperatures. There is talk about the ability of infrared saunas to normalize blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and relieve chronic fatigue syndrome, but there is no clear evidence of this yet.
How to behave in a bath or sauna?
A little captaincy: in any public place you need to behave politely, and the baths are no exception. Other sauna goers also come to relax, so they will probably be bothered by loud conversations. You should not take any gadgets with you: in a place with high humidity, they, firstly, have no place, and secondly, almost every modern device has a camera – even if you choose a playlist in Apple Music, and do not photograph the neighbor opposite, he probably doesn’t know about it.
In general, it is worth taking only a towel from extraneous things to the steam room: it is not clear who could sit on the same bench before you, so it would be at least unhygienic to sit on it with a covered or uncovered heel point. In addition, everyone has a different threshold of disgust, and if the puddles of sweat on the bench do not bother you, then they may well ruin the mood for other visitors. Well, you shouldn’t use odorous shower gels and even more perfume, because foreign smells in a closed hot room are no less distracting than chatter.
A separate conversation is about the use of cosmetics. Everything that you would like to smear on yourself in the steam room (scrubs, masks, creams) is best used between visits to the steam room, and optimally after the last one when you will have a rest before taking a shower. It’s not even about etiquette (in a home bath they probably won’t mind a mask on the face), but the fact that cosmetics must be stored and used at a certain temperature, and there is no guarantee that any component of the cream will behave differently. It is unlikely that a mass-market cream that contains few active substances will cause great damage, but it is better not to check natural remedies and cosmeceuticals with heat. In addition, hot skin is softer, meaning it is easier to injure with a harsh scrub. In general, even 10 minutes after visiting the steam room, the pores will still be open, and the skin will be receptive, so the effectiveness of cleansers and moisturizers will not go anywhere.
What to wear?
You can go to the sauna with or without clothes. Some lovers insist that sauna baths are called baths for a reason – they say, they don’t take a bath in linen. Nevertheless, it is best to focus on your feelings: if you are uncomfortable without clothes among strangers, you should tie a towel around yourself, even if the other participants are sitting without everything – in extreme cases, you can politely answer a perplexed look that you are not ready today. get naked, but don’t mind if others do it.
If you are invited to go to a bathhouse or sauna in a company, you should check with the organizers, um, the dress code, and the composition of the steam room. Some prefer to take a steam bath with their families, some with girlfriends or friends, for others nothing is embarrassing about the age and gender composition of the participants. Depending on the answer, you can figure out whether to take a cape with you or not.
You definitely shouldn’t go to the steam room in a swimsuit. The fabric of the swimsuits is dense, and even if you have not swum in the pool before, it is simply uncomfortable to sweat in it. But a swimsuit soaked in chlorine is even worse because the chlorine evaporates at high temperatures, and inhaling it is not useful even for those who do not have allergies. There is no point in appearing in more closed clothes in the steam room (including in sports ones), but slates in public will come in handy – hygiene is still above all.