Bringing nature to the sauna does not have to be cumbersome but can consist of small things.
A homemade steam scent from conifer needles is quick and easy to implement.
Nature and sauna undoubtedly belong together. However, it is not always possible to have a sauna in the heart of nature and so then you can bring in the nature to the sauna. I encourage you to incorporate a piece of nature into your own sauna ritual. I believe that with small things you can get more out of your own sauna experience.
One way to choose suitable plants is to think about what you want to treat or prevent in the sauna. Another option is to think about the season and make use of fresh or seasonal plants. Use only plants you recognise in order to avoid poisonous plants.
There are a huge number of health-promoting plants. The easiest way is to get to know one plant, or the ailment being treated, at a time. Start with the easiest, most common and seasonal plants or ailments. For example, during the winter season, relief can be found for the treatment of the flu from e.g. coniferous trees.
Pine is especially suitable for a sauna during the winter flu season. Pine affects respiration and in olden days respiratory sanitariums were built in pine forests. Spruce is also a great cleanser and, for example, breathing the fumes of young tips of a spruce made into tea helps with a cough. One of the cleanest plants in Finnish nature is juniper. It is antiseptic and various concoctions have been made from it over the centuries. It is said that juniper shoots and branches are at their best during spring when their vitamin content is high. You can use pine, spruce and juniper fresh or dried, or as essential oil drops.
The most familiar way to use plants is probably whipping, i.e. gently hitting yourself with a special sauna whisk. However, even gentle whisking with conifers is not to everyone’s liking, although it’s worth a try sometimes! Avoid unnecessary force if using a whisk made from coniferous trees. Bear in mind that the whisks are not always available and after all the whisking, time must be set aside for cleaning the sauna. More suitable options for a city sauna can be various foot and hand baths – they are both healing and bring a wonderful scent to the sauna. The base is usually warm water and a few tablespoons of sea salt. Either a few essential oil drops or plants from nature are added to the water. You can also collect twigs into the sauna bucket, like flowers in a vase. Place the cleansing plants in the sauna on the top bench next to you. Using steamed or vaporised scent made from plants or essential oils, is perhaps the easiest and yet, the most effective way to enjoy the scent and its healing effects.
It is easy to make scents for the sauna’s steam water from the needles of juniper, pine and spruce. You can use fresh or dried needles. You can get several uses from just a handful of needles. Put a handful of needles inside a gauze and tie it into a dumpling. Put about 2 liters of water in a pot, add the dumpling to the water and simmer on the stove under the lid for about 15 minutes. Don’t let it boil. Pour less than half of the brewed water into the steam water for the sauna and enjoy the intoxicating scent. You can utilise the rest of the water in your next sauna or even use it as a foot bath.
If pure nature is not close by, it is better to leave the plants alone on the roadsides of the polluted roads and head to the health store. Essential oils are 100% natural products and can be a great substitute to plants picked from nature.
Enjoy your sauna moments and stay healthy,