In order to achieve the best health benefits, you should try to use the Sauna on a regular basis, ideally 3-6 times a week. Having consistent practice is more important than going hard, less often.
As for the duration, we recommend 15-20+ minutes at around 80-85 degrees Celsius.
When you come out of the sauna, try to relax. You could go for a swim at Prevelly, the local beach, which is a 2-3 minutes walk from the sauna on foot. You can also arrange for a cold plunge right outside the sauna!
Have a cuppa (or beer for that matter!), and relax in the grass. Post-sauna is also a great time to meditate, get some sun, ground your feet in the earth, or do some breathing exercises. Our personal favourite is the Wim Hof Method, a technique that Flo teaches during sauna/ cold plunge/ breathwork workshops throughout the year.
You can also do a couple of rounds in the sauna during your visit. It’s important to take a genuine break in between rounds! Get in the ocean, cold plunge, or take a cold shower, and have a little rest. When your heart rate is back to baseline, hop in for another round.
Most importantly: always listen to your body. In the sauna, as in life, it’s important not to compare yourself to others and really tune in to your own body’s needs. Although your resilience and tolerance to heat (and cold) will increase over time, every session is so individual and it’s important to honour where your body is at that moment.
What Does A Sauna Session Include?
A sauna session includes the sauna itself, for a duration of approximately 2 hours. Time can be slightly flexible, simply discuss the session time slot with Flo beforehand. We provide you with towels to sit on, and all the wood needed to keep the fire stoked during your sauna. There is an outdoor shower available too, which you can use at any time during your visit. We also provide a bucket with water and a ladle, to steam up the sauna (called löyly in Finnish).
If you arrange it beforehand, we can also have the cold plunge ready upon your arrival.
What Do I Need to Bring to the Sauna?
We recommend bringing water to hydrate, and anything else you may like to drink during your stay. Hydrating with extra minerals is always a good idea when you’re sweating a lot, but not necessary. If beer or a shot of vodka is more you’re thing, feel free to indulge after your session. Note that drinking before a sauna is not recommended, and since the sauna is in a family-oriented neighbourhood, please be mindful of the neighbours. (Note: if you do want to have a big party, consider renting the sauna for your next event!)
You may also want to bring your favourite soap, to rinse off after the sauna. Since we sweat out many toxins, it’s a good idea to scrub down after your last round to ensure you don’t re-absorb toxins through your pores.
How Long Should I Stay in the Sauna?
Studies suggest that a 15-20 minute stint is optimal for health and longevity, but it’s important to honour your body and not overexert yourself. Many people who visit Kaarnasauna choose to do multiple shorter rounds in the sauna, with breaks in between. You can walk to the beach, take a cold shower, or arrange for the cold plunge to be nice and cold to go back-and-forth between hot and cold– enhancing the benefits of both.
What Kind of Sauna is Kaarnasauna?
Kaarnasauna is a traditional Finnish wood-burning sauna. Flo hand-built the portable sauna, which was originally a horse float. We chose the traditional wood-burning sauna because Finnish saunas are traditional, they are the original sauna experience, an experience that both Flo and Mikku are fond of given their European roots.
This sauna hovers typically from 80-90 degrees C and also has hot rocks that you can pour water on to add humidity (steam) to the sauna.
Most of the studies that have been done on the benefits of saunas were done using traditional Finnish saunas, like Kaarnasauna.
What Should I Do in the Sauna?
The sauna is a great opportunity to go inwards or to connect with others in the space. Sauna time in its Scandinavian roots is really a social event; people come together to share their day, their troubles, their lives. There is something special about a hot room that really opens people up to connecting on a deeper level.
As the heat rises, after a few rounds, the sauna also turns into quite a spiritual experience. Focusing on staying calm and relaxed is important as your heart rate rises, which can help you quiet the mind and go inwards.
Kaarnasauna is a gathering place for the community. If you’ve booked out the sauna with friends, enjoy your time together in the heat. If you’re joining an open-slot sauna, come make some new friends!
Either way, try to go into every sauna experience with no expectations. Without a doubt, you will be pleasantly surprised every time!
What Should I Do After the Sauna?
Hydrate! Sweating a lot will deplete your water and mineral stores, so make sure to drink more than usual for the rest of the day. Adding minerals or a pinch of salt to your water is also a good idea.
Immediately after the sauna, you may also want to cool down with a cold shower or a jump in the ocean. Once you’ve cooled down a little, make sure to soap off in the shower before taking off. We sweat out many toxins during a sauna, and a good scrub down is in order to remove the toxins from your skin (and prevent re-absorption).
Depending on how used to the sauna your body is, you may also feel a bit more tired than normal. Try and relax, and prepare yourself for a night of great deep sleep!
What Are the Benefits of Sauna?
The benefits of regular sauna use are truly incredible. We’ve rounded up the top 10 benefits of sauna for you:
1. Saunas reduce stress and improve overall health and wellness
Relaxation is one of the common reasons people pursue sauna use, without ever considering the vast benefits. But stress reduction alone is perhaps one of the most important benefits that sauna has to offer because stress impacts our health in profoundly negative ways.
Sauna reduces stress in many ways, firstly by pressing pause on the habit of always “doing”. When we sit in the sauna, we take time for ourselves and decompress. We connect with other people or we sit in silence, but we’re not in the go-go-go mentality that drives many of our modern stress pathways.
The heat from the sauna relaxes the body’s muscles, improves circulation, and stimulates the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s all-natural “feel good” chemical, and their release provides a truly wonderful “after sauna glow.”
The stress adaptations that occur due to the heat-shock proteins in the body also help you become more resilient outside of the sauna. The kind of beneficial stress induced by the heat, paired with the overall relaxing environment of a sauna increases your capacity to deal with stressors out in the “real world”. By choosing to stay in a hot environment but stay relaxed, you’re actually creating neural pathways that help you take that resilience into other stressful aspects of your day-to-day life.
The heat in the sauna also helps us to relax by regulating the level of cortisol in our blood. Cortisol is the hormone that is released when we’re stressed. When cortisol levels are chronically elevated, various health markers like the immune system are suppressed. Not only does the sauna help reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone), but it also helps boost serotonin levels, the happy hormone! It’s no wonder you feel amazing after a sauna session!
2. Sauna aids in recovery after intense physical activity. Saunas relax muscles and soothe aches/pains in both muscles and joints.
Under the high heat provided by a sauna, the body releases endorphins. Endorphins can have a mild, enjoyable “tranquilizing effect” and the ability to minimize the pain of joint and muscle soreness other than, say, an intense physical workout. The body temperature also rises from the heat of the sauna, which causes blood vessels to dilate, therefore increasing blood circulation.
This increased blood flow speeds up the body’s natural healing process by getting fresh blood (oxygen and nutrients) to the muscles. After participating in physical sports, use the heat and/or steam of a sauna to promote muscle relaxation by helping to reduce muscle tension and eliminate lactic acid and/or other toxins that may be present.
3. Saunas flush toxins via the sweating process
As humans living in the modern world, we as a whole do not sweat enough. Our environments are so adapted to make us feel comfortable (we dress to balance out the temperature, we use air conditioning or heating in the car, and we use blankets or fans to constantly try and temperate our environments). We also don’t move our bodies enough in vigorous enough ways to induce deep sweat. As a result, we don’t benefit from the incredible benefits of deep intense sweating!
Deep sweating has so many incredible health benefits. Benefits derived from a deep sweat can be achieved via regular sauna bathing because the key is really a consistent sweat that cannot be effectively achieved without relaxation. Although we do sweat through exercise (again, for most people not enough), the kind of sweat you get in a sauna comes from the capacity to stay relaxed, and therefore experience longer periods of sweat.
In the warmth of a sauna, the core body temperature begins to rise. The blood vessels then dilate, causing increased blood flow. As heat from the blood begins to move toward the skin’s surface, the body’s nervous system then sends signals to the millions of sweat glands that cover the human body. As the sweat glands become stimulated, they produce sweat.
Sweat production is primarily designed to cool the body and is composed of 99% water. However, deep sweating in a sauna can help reduce levels of lead, copper, zinc, nickel, mercury, and chemicals – which are all toxins commonly absorbed just from interacting with our daily environments. There is no shortage of books from Doctors and practitioners, who describe the benefits of detoxifying our bodies regularly. As many doctors will agree, a big reason for the popularity of saunas is that they are one of the best ways to detoxify our bodies!
This is also why it is SO important to take a proper, soapy, shower after the sauna. Your sweat is filled with toxins, and giving it a good rinse after your last round in the sauna will prevent you from re-absorbing the junk you just sweat out!
4. Saunas improve brain health
A 20-year study conducted with more than 2,300 participants at the University of Eastern Finland by Dr. Jari Laukkanen and his colleagues revealed regular sauna use (4-7 times per week) at 176 degrees F for 19 minutes lowered the risk for both Alzheimer’s & Dementia!
The key with sauna and many of the long-term benefits is consistent use. So come visit us at Kaarnasauna regularly, to support your health today and in the long run.
You can read the study here: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2130724
5. Saunas can induce a deeper sleep
Research has shown that a deeper, more relaxed sleep can result from sauna use. This is due to various factors. Firstly, it promotes various hormonal balances, including a drop in cortisol and a rise in endorphins like serotonin. Cortisol is an antagonist to melatonin (the sleep hormone), so dropping cortisol levels in the sauna helps ensure you can actually start making melatonin come nightfall. In addition, body temperatures, that become elevated in the late evening, fall at bedtime. A drop in core body temperature is actually required to fall and stay asleep. So getting heat exposure during the day can help regulate your temperature levels come nighttime.
Science aside, numerous sauna bathers worldwide recall the deep sleep experiences that they feel after bathing in the calming heat of a sauna. It takes nothing but a single sauna session to realize, “I am going to sleep well tonight”.
6. Saunas can help fight illness
German sauna medical research shows that saunas were able to significantly reduce the incidences of colds and influenza amongst participants. As the body is exposed to the heat of a sauna and steam (in the case of traditional saunas), it produces white blood cells more rapidly, which in turn helps to fight illnesses and helps to kill viruses. In addition, saunas can relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of sinus congestion from colds or allergies – especially when used with steam (tip: add eucalyptus to the water for added benefit and overall enjoyment). The steam vapor action helps to clear up unwanted congestion and is a wonderful aspect of the traditional Finnish sauna experience.
8. Sauna cleanses the skin
Heat bathing is one of the oldest beauty and/or health strategies in terms of cleansing one’s skin. When the body begins to produce sweat via deep sweating, the skin is then cleansed and dead skin cells are replaced – keeping your skin working optimally. Sweating rinses bacteria out of the epidermal layer and sweat ducts. Cleansing of the pores has been shown to improve capillary circulation while giving the skin a softer-looking quality.
Again, remember to properly rinse off after your last round in the sauna, to prevent your skin from reabsorbing the nasties that you have just sweat out!
9. Saunas burn calories
Outlandish claims are often made by some sauna sellers to promote saunas as an end-all weight loss tool. While some individuals may experience high amounts of calorie burn at first – particularly those individuals in poor shape to begin with – over the long term, saunas are simply treated as one of many tools in our arsenal when it comes to burning additional calories.
The sweating process itself requires a notable amount of energy. That energy is derived from the conversion of fat and carbohydrates in a bodily process that burns up calories. According to U.S. Army medical research (Ward Dean, M.D.), “A moderately conditioned person can easily sweat off 500 grams in a sauna in a single session, consuming nearly 300 calories in the process.” The body consumes said calories due to the acceleration of heart activity (the cardiovascular section). As heart activity increases and as these processes demand more oxygen, the body begins to convert more calories into usable energy.
As such, the sauna is a fantastic way to increase your cardiovascular capacity, without putting any pressure on your bones, joints, or muscles. Although the sauna doesn’t replace other benefits of exercise, it is a great way to burn a little extra, without stressing out the body.
10. Saunas bring out recreational and social benefits.
This may be one of the most important and under-discussed benefits of the sauna: community. The sauna can be a private, personal area of relaxation and solitude but often it is an environment for socializing with family, friends, and soon-to-be friends. The sauna room environment is conducive to open, intimate, and quiet conversation. If you have dipped your toes or dived in headfirst to sauna culture, you know what we’re talking about!
This was one of the driving forces behind Kaarnasauna: community and connection. Community is immunity. Come join us, and get to know why the sauna has such a transformative impact on your health not only physically but emotionally as well.
11. Saunas just feel good
You don’t always need a list of benefits to know when something is good for you. Instead, you can check-in with your somatic knowledge (your body’s wisdom). When it comes to sauna, it just feels good! Of course, you’ll reap all the benefits as a great bonus, but learning to trust your body’s innate knowledge, and letting that wisdom guide you through life is key. So trust your body, and come have a sweat with us at Kaarnasauna!