Golden Rules of Going to the Russian Sauna, Banya

Why Should You Go To the Russian Sauna?

Because it's healthy. Russian sauna or bath or banya is very closely related to the natural medicine. It stimulates blood circulation and heart work. It improves eyesight. Your skin gets purifed as your pores open. Great cleansing practice for those who have skin issues like pimples. It also helps to fight fungus as harmful bacteria die in high temperature.

Milk acid and slag are removed from the body together with sweat. Slag normally slows down bodily functions. By removing slag you obtain a better functioning body. Thus sauna has a rejuvenating effect.

Russian sauna is a tremendous spa thing.

There are many ways to soak twigs, but the twig is the key instrument in the Russian sauna.
There are many ways to soak twigs, but the twig is the key instrument in the Russian sauna.

What keeps you from going to a Russian sauna?

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From Russia With Leaves

The most important part of the Russian sauna is the twig. It can be used for a massage and for an infusion.

Birch-tree twig is very useful for the head skin: its infusion strengthens hair and prevents scurf. Its massage is helpful after hard physical work as it's very muscle-relaxing and pain-relieving. It purifies skin, heals grazes and scratches, has a calming effect, raizes up spirits, is great for lung ventilation, soothes the skin and gives it elasticity. Before using dry twigs are soaked in warm water which is gradually deluded with hot water.

Nettle infusion has just the same effect on the head skin, while nettle twig massage helps cure radiculitis, rheumatism, gout. It is good for kidneys and joints. Its regular use helps soften nervous strain and lower high blood pressure. As nettle stings you'd better infuse your nettle twig in hot water first, and then soak it in cold water. Thus the nettle gets easy on your skin.

Juniper is a very valuable plant for making twigs. Herbs can be added to the twigs to give extra aroma and better healing effect.

Fir is used in twigs, too. Its massage is healing for the spine while the plant is air-detoxing and helps prevent respiratory deseases. The fir twig should be soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes. You can also add a couple of fir brunches to a birch-tree twig.

Beneficial twig massage in a Russian sauna.
Beneficial twig massage in a Russian sauna.
Contrasting temperatures are one secret of the Russian sauna.
Contrasting temperatures are one secret of the Russian sauna.
A cup of hot tea after the sauna or between sauna sessions is a great idea.
A cup of hot tea after the sauna or between sauna sessions is a great idea.

Russian Sauna Dos and Don'ts

What you should do:

  • Do take a warm shower before going to the sauna. But don't moisture your hair.
  • Dry yourself thoroughly with a towel. This is how you can better sweat.
  • Stay in the sauna for 5-7 minutes during the first session. Wear a special hat that you can from time to time moisturize with cold water.
  • Use a twig during the second and third sauna session.
  • Augment timing by adding 2-3 minutes every time to the next sauna session.
  • Contrast bathing, that is cold shower, snow-rubbing and cold water pool right after the hot sauna - for a short time.
  • Drinking hot tea during the breaks between sauna sessions for better sweating.
  • Wash your body with soap after the last sauna session.
  • If you want a regular massage, do it right after the sauna session while your body is still hot.
  • Go to the sauna 1-2 times a week. More often is no good as the body gets used to it and the effect is no longer useful.

What should be avoided:

  • Overeating before the sauna.
  • Being hungry.
  • Don't moisturize your hair before the sauna. This is risky as you may get a heat stroke.
  • Don't go directly up to the highest shelf.
  • Standing is not allowed when in the sauna.
  • Regardless of the number of sessions don't stay in the sauna longer than 35 minutes.
  • Washing with soap before the sauna session is not a good idea. It's very unhealthy when steam is combined with soap.
  • Drinking alcohol when in the sauna is absolutely unhealthy.

Russian Sauna Timing Basics

Frequency
Session length
Total stay
1-2 times a week
5 - 7 minutes augmented by 2-3 minutes for each next session
maximum 35 minutes

Today there are Russian saunas in many big cities, not only in Russia. So why not cater yourself to some exotic pleasure and get all the benefits if the banya?

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© 2014 Anna Sidorova

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