Some university fitness and community recreation centers have a little thing known as a sauna. Usually, when I hear the word sauna, I associate it with massage therapy or just a general feeling of stress relief. If you have never been to one, however, it can be a bit different than what they portray in the movies and on commercials. Prior to a few weeks ago, I had never been to a sauna, and I found my first encounter with one intriguing, and at first, a bit confusing. So here are some things you need to know:
1. What to Wear
So, this may seem like a bit of a given, but you can't just go into a sauna in nothing but your birthday suit. I would suggest for girls a sports bra, flip-flops, and some gym shorts, and for guys some shorts and flip-flops.
2. What to Bring
When you're in the sauna, you get pretty sweaty--obviously. That being said, make sure you bring a towel and a water bottle (either into the sauna, or leave it in a place nearby). You're going to want to bring a change of clothes if you need to go somewhere afterward. Also, if you have longer hair, you might want to bring a hair-tye to put your hair in a bun with.
3. You're Going to Sweat
ALOT--and it won't be pretty, so just be prepared for that. Again, bring water and a towel!
4. Don't Stay in There Too Long
There will probably be a sign posted that says how long to stay in that particular sauna. I only stay in for about 15 minutes, as stated on the sign at my fitness center, but believe me when I say: it's long enough.
5. Don't Take Selfies
Your phone will overheat, and you'll probably get made fun of. I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory, though.
6. Don't Be Afraid
You laugh, but when you first step in that sauna, it's going to be HOT. I mean, 170 degrees hot. It will hurt a little bit to breathe through your nose, especially if it's winter time and your snoz has gone through a lot of tissues.
7. Go With Friends
Honestly, if you go alone you'll probably get a little bored unless you really need some alone time. Having friends to chat with will help the time go by a lot quicker, and you won't have to worry about being the only one looking sweaty.
8. The Bucket and Ladle
The bucket and ladle are there so you can pour water over the coals and make the sauna more humid. Not all saunas have this, but rather a button to press for more steam. In the event that your sauna does have it, though, that's what it's for.
9. Have Fun!
It's actually pretty enjoyable once you get over the initial shock. So grab some friends and go have fun sweating buckets.