In the old days people in Scandinavia usually only had one hot bath per year which happened the day before Christmas. Growing up my family had a modern take on this tradition; every year on the 23rd of December we had a “Christmas sauna”. Not the “health and safety regulated” sauna you find at the gym, but a real Scandinavian sauna.
What is so special about a Scandi sauna? Firstly the sauna should be HOT, 80°C at least. Once you are used to the heat you splash water over the aggregator and fierce steam hits you like a whip. When you had enough, you run outside and roll in the snow, alternatively jump in the freezing sea. The cold pins you like a thousand needles and you heart starts racing. You run back into the steaming sauna and do it all over again. Afterwards you are exhausted and invigorated at the same time.
There is a common misconception that saunas detoxify your skin. Toxins are too large molecules to migrate though your blood vessels and skin and leave your body. (It is your liver and kidneys that handle the detox). What does happen is that blood rushes to you skin and your skin is more access to oxygen and other nutrients than usual. So your are adding more nutrients to your skin, rather than removing toxins. Some studies also show that the skin’s ability to retain moisture improves with regular sauna visits.
More blood in your skin, means less blood to your other organs which explains why you feel relaxed and sometimes even lightheaded when being in a sauna. Then when you run out in the snow all the blood rushes back to your organs, your heart starts racing and you feel very alert.
Dare to try?