Sauna Accessories for an Even Better Sauna Bath

Every experienced sauna bather knows how valuable the right sauna accessories can be. Oftentimes, it is these accoutrements that make the difference between a session that is second-rate and one that is truly superior. Used properly, accessories can help a bather create the perfect ambiance for a relaxing and refreshing soak in the soothing heat of a sauna.

The following is a list of some of the more common sauna accessories used by sauna enthusiasts around the world:

Loofah sponges. When used as a bath sponge, the loofah, a very popular item in Asian baths and European spas, is known to produce a mild glow and to revitalize the skin. It is a natural, organic, cleansing sponge that is also known for improving blood circulation, exfoliating dead skin cells, and promoting healthy skin. The blood circulation the loofah sponge induces on the skin has been credited as a relief for rheumatic and arthritic sufferers. Loofah is environmentally safe, biodegradable, and a renewable resource.

Sauna brushes. Many sauna enthusiasts enjoy scrubbing their bodies with special brushes as they sweat in the sauna heat. Regardless of whether the brush has a long handle for those hard-to-reach places, a detachable handle or no handle at all, a sauna brush is a good tool for helping to cleanse and massage a bather’s skin. The soft natural bristles of most brushes aid skin exfoliation and can contribute greatly to a session that is refreshing and invigorating for the bather. Using a sauna brush properly can also improve blood circulation, so there’s really no good reason to not have that brush among your accessories.

Sauna buckets. Also commonly referred to as sauna pails, wooden buckets are used to hold water in traditional Finnish-style rock saunas. Many experienced bathers prefer their buckets to be made of cedar, pine or copper. If you purchase an all-wooden sauna pail, be sure to empty it after each use and to store it upside down. As well, since intense heat can make wood expand and contract, you might want to consider buying a liner for your sauna bucket to help prevent leakage.

Sauna fragrances and essences. Eucalyptus, birch, pine, spruce, wintergreen, menthol, lemon and lime are just some of the deeply appealing scents available in today’s all-natural fragrances. Add a few drops of these fragrances to your loyly water and surrender yourself to the olfactory ecstasy. Why not combine sauna therapy and aromatherapy for a powerful one-two punch of pure sensory pleasure?

Sauna headrests and backrests. Complete comfort can be achieved through the use of these important accessories. A wooden headrest or pillow gently cushions the head of a reclining bather, while a backrest offers support, relief and luxury to, as its name suggests, the person’s back. Headrests and backrests can also serve effectively as footrests, if desired by the sauna bather.

Sauna ladles. Sometimes called dippers, ladles are as essential to proper traditional sauna bathing as the buckets. It is a dipper or two of water tossed over the hot rocks of a Finnish sauna that creates the vapor or loyly that many purists insist helps define an authentic sauna bath. Any water applied to the rocks in a sauna heater should be done using a dipper or ladle. Doing so keeps your hand away from the resulting steam, preventing a possible steam burn, and it helps you better control how much water you pour onto the rocks and, in turn, the level of humidity in the room. Although many ladles are made entirely of wood, some feature copper or stainless steel scoops and cedar, birch or pine handles. Some ladles also come with attached leather straps.

Peg racks. Sauna peg racks are recommended for anyone who wants a place near or in the sauna room to hang their towel or bathrobe. Wooden racks with four, five or six dowel peg hooks are popular with bathers who enjoy the company of family or friends in their place. Peg racks such as these are sometimes called clothes racks or towel racks. Another word commonly used to describe a peg rack is hanger.

Sauna soap. Regular soap may be too harsh for some sauna bathers, but sauna soap is specifically intended for tender sensitive skin and can be infraredsauna very effective under sauna conditions. Long-lasting, hypo-allergenic soap with either a birch or pine fragrance is a popular choice of many hot room devotees. Additional bath and body products can be used either before or after a session to help cleanse and moisturize your skin.

Sauna timers. Some sauna bathers use timers to help them keep track of how long they’re in and ensure that they not spend too much time in the heat. Traditionalists may prefer the simplicity of a 15-minute sand timer, while folks with contemporary tastes may rely on a 90-minute electronic timer or the more modern, programmable device that often comes as part of a sleekly designed control panel and offers time-delay and automatic shut-off safety features. Since wearing a wristwatch in a hot room is both impractical and dangerous, the sauna timer can certainly be a useful accessory.

Sauna whisks. In Finland, a sauna whisk is called either vihta or vasta. In its most traditional form, the vihta or vasta is a thick bunch of young, tender, leafy birch twigs used to promote blood circulation and cleanse a bather’s skin once perspiration has sufficiently softened it. The bather actually flagellates or slaps him or herself with the twigs after dipping them in water. Although the amount of force used usually depends on personal preference, this activity is not supposed to be painful or sexual, and many Finnish enthusiasts see nothing wrong with asking someone else in the place to hit them with the twigs. Purists may argue that bundled birch twigs make the best whisks, but, in some countries where birch is hard to find, cedar or pine is sometimes used. Whether the twigs are birch, cedar or pine, the slapping action causes a pleasant aroma to be released into the air. Other possible choices include oak, maple, mountain ash, hazel and eucalyptus.

Thermometers and hygrometers. By definition, thermometers measure temperature, by using materials that change in some way when they are heated or cooled. In a mercury or alcohol thermometer, the liquid expands as it is heated and contracts when it is cooled. German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit invented both the alcohol and mercury thermometer in the early 1700s and introduced the temperature scale that bears his name in 1724. Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius invented the Celsius temperature scale, also known as the centigrade scale, in 1742. A hygrometer measures the moisture content or the humidity of air or any gas. Italian artist, scientist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci built the first crude hygrometer in the 1400s, and Italian physician Francesco Folli invented a more practical one in 1664. As accessories, thermometers and hygrometers are available separately as two items, combined as one, or in package sets. They are vital instruments for any bather who wants to monitor and control the temperature and humidity within a sauna.

 

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