If you’ve never been to a spa center, you’d probably be unfamiliar with some of the unwritten rules when it comes to using the sauna and the steam room. Both these places are hot and one of them is also quite humid meaning the conditions can often create messy situations, especially if people aren’t aware of the sauna etiquette we’re about to discuss.
Before you go forward, make sure you check out my guide on some of the best infrared saunas for indoor use! There, I’ve reviewed the top models for this year and have given you a ton of tips on how to choose the right sauna for your home…
Establishing The Ground Rules
While most of the sauna rules are borderline common sense, it will still be of use to list them and go through them one by one… Here are the do’s and don’ts of sauna usage:
- Watch the door
- Be mindful of the time
- Lower your volume
- Bring more towels
- Take the other people into consideration
- Know the Dress-codes
- Ask before changing the temperature and humidity
- Being loud
- Over-watering the rocks
- Poor hygiene
- Working out
Now, let’s talk these through and see why they matter and how they can affect your stay.
Things you should be doing
Let’s start from the very first thing you should do and then build our way up until the end of the sauna session…
Showering right before the sauna is the best way to avoid any awkward situations. People are often unaware of their natural body scents and showering is the only guarantee that you won’t be disturbing other people’s nostrils inside. This is especially valid if you’ve just finished working out. While the first shower is due to common courtesy, the post-sauna shower is actually very good for your health. A cold shower will normalize your core temperature and will give the much-needed hot/cold contrast to your immune system. Learn more about that on my hot vs cold showers article!
Watch the door
Most people aren’t in a rush when they’re in a spa center. However, that doesn’t mean that you should be going in and out of the sauna leisurely, nor does that mean that you should go in and out more than once during a single sauna session. Opening and closing the door constantly is the best way to ruin the experience for everyone, including yourself. That will lead to the sauna constantly losing temperature and having to raise it back up, meaning none of you will enjoy the steady hotness of a fully warmed-up sauna.
Be mindful of the time
If you’re in a busy spa, there might be people waiting for an open spot in your sauna. As big as some saunas are, people should be mindful of their session timers. Even if staying more than 30 minutes has been proven to bear minimal advantages over a normal 20-30 minute stay, some people still prefer staying for as long as an hour, making that spot in the sauna unavailable for twice the normal duration.
Lower your volume
If you prefer to listen to music while in the sauna, make sure you lower your device’s volume. Even if you’re using headphones, inside the sauna it is really quite and that noise can be often picked up as well.
Bring more towels
Always bring an extra towel. The rule of thumb is to bring three towels – one to sit on, one to lay back on, and one to wipe the excess moisture off your skin.
Know the Dress-codes
Some spa centers allow for nude sauna usage but you have to cover yourself with towels. Others require you to have underwear or swimsuit underneath. Make sure that you check with your spa center to confirm the dress code.
Ask before changing the temperature and humidity
If you aren’t alone in the sauna, always ask before changing the temperature or humidity. If you’re in a traditional sauna, this applies for watering the rocks as well, since that effectively raises the humidity.
If you’re left alone in the sauna or have a sauna in your home, there are multiple ways to further enhance your experience inside. Click here to find out how…
Things you should definitely not be doing
Saunas are a place where people often meditate and reach deep down into themselves. Being loud can ruin the experience for anyone that is trying to relax. By being loud I don’t only mean talking on the phone or listen to music, I also mean sighing or moaning out of joy or because you are feeling too good.
I’ve seen this way too many times to just ignore adding it here. Even though your mouth will feel dry and you will constantly have sweat running down it, you shouldn’t spit on the wood under any circumstances.
Over-watering the rocks
Traditional saunas have heated rocks which can control the room’s humidity by pouring water on top of them. That water evaporates and creates steam. Apart from always asking if everyone is okay with watering these rocks, you should also never over-water them since that might overheat the people inside and can even lead to some serious health issues.
Speaking of watering the sauna rocks, if you’re curious to what are the ideal sauna temperatures and humidity, head over to my detailed article on that topic!
This primarily refers to the shower before the sauna. No matter your hygiene, taking a shower beforehand eliminates any risk of imposing your habits onto others.
This goes without saying but training, warming up, and even yoga aren’t meant to be done inside a sauna, especially if there are people inside. If the other person is also doing yoga, you can ask to practice yourself, since that doesn’t always take a ton of space. Steam rooms are often quite big and offer plenty of space for such activities.
Knowing how to keep a proper sauna etiquette inside the hot room will not only ensure a pleasant stay for your companions inside but will also leave a good impression especially if it’s your first time visiting that sauna room. Make sure that you are always mindful of the other people inside and try not breaking any of the rules we just set in stone.