Lockdown Sauna Deprivation

  I've never owned my own sauna - I don't live in Finland, it's normal there, but not in the Netherlands. In my country most sauna fans will simply visit what we call a "saunabedrijf" - in English you might call it a spa, with several different sauna rooms, one or more steam rooms, several baths and pools, a restaurant and lounge, and other facilities. The advantage is obvious: you could never have all that at home, if you're not rich. But there's a disadvantage as well, which has become glaringly obvious due to the COVID-19 pandemic: it's a public facility. And public facilities get closed during lockdowns. And even when restrictions are eased or lifted, and officially you can visit them again, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's safe to do so. So ... I haven't been in a sauna in over a year. And I'm feeling sauna-deprived! The health and relaxation advantages were always so obvious, that not going makes missing them all too clear. I

My Favourite Thing to Do in a Sauna

 One of my favourite things to do in a sauna, is to attend what we call an 'opgieting' - Germans call it 'Aufguss', which literally means 'pouring on'. I've heard it compared to the Finnish 'löyly', but I understand that has a much wider definition, and I've never been to Finland, that's still on my wish list of destinations. Anyway, what's an 'opgieting'? People gather in a sauna with a good temperature, usually around 90 degrees Celsius. During a session of at least 15 minutes, a sauna master pours water scented with essential oils on the stones of the heater, and starts to distribute the resulting steam through the sauna. Different methods of doing this are employed - most often with a towel sometimes with a fan, or a banner. And most sauna masters try to reach every single person in the sauna with their towel movements, so that everyone feels the result. Image by Ulrike Leone ( What makes it such an interesting exp

How I Became a Sauna Fan

I come from a family where health was a daily subject of discussion. And I always felt that I had to take care of myself. But in a period of deep depression, taking care of myself became much less of a priority. I neglected even the most basic things you can do for your health, and I certainly didn't get around to trying anything new. One of those 'new' things I had been curious about, was sauna use. Not knowing anyone who used a sauna, I had only been able to just read about it.  And I remember being both mystified and attracted by what I considered contradictions in the concept. Take, for instance, the idea that you could seriously burn yourself with water of a hundred degrees Celsius, but that spending time in air of the same temperature was both pleasant and beneficial! Seriously?! But I had no one to ask about his or her personal experience, so I reserved the idea for when an opportunity presented itself to find out more from someone who had been there and done that, s