Wilderness North. Remote Northern Ontario Fly-in adventures

Celebrating 30 Years of Wilderness North  –          

Sauna: -A how to guide

As Krista mentioned, we are spending some time here at Mim giving the lodge and grounds a bit of a facelift. The days are busy with lots going on, and with the warm temps, there is nothing better to end the day then some time in the sauna and a dip in the lake… very refreshing! If you’re visiting Mim, feel free to ask the staff to fire it up for you—you’ll thank us for the suggestion, just give us a ½ hours notice. A Finnish tradition, a sauna (pronounced sow-na) is used for many things from bathing, to child birthing, relaxing, and general health & wellness. Saunas have also been known to help cure acne and ease the pain of Arthritis and rheumatism. There is nothing better than sweating out a day’s worth of dirt followed by a refreshing plunge in the lake. Want to give it a try but not sure what to do? Read my compiled list of tips and tricks below.

Before You Start

  • CAUTION – If you have any medical condition or disorder, you should consult your doctor before using the sauna.
  • Set aside a decent chunk of time to let the sauna do its work – a leisurely sauna is far more beneficial than a quick session.
  • Be sure to wait at least one hour after eating a large meal before using the sauna. A sauna first thing in the morning is very invigorating and a great way to start the day. Another ideal time is in the evening – it beats any sedative.
  • While digesting your meal, preheat the sauna to the desired temperature by either adjusting the thermostat or by stoking the fire. A preferred temperature range is between 170*F (77*C) and 190*F (88*C). First time users should start at 160*F (70*C).
  • Remove watches, pendants, bracelets, earrings, jewelry, and other metallic objects like glasses that could become uncomfortably hot in the sauna.
  • Take a quick warm shower to wash off an dirt or body oils
  • Light a few candles, dim the lights, and play some soft background music to set the mood

Enjoying a Sauna Session

  • Enter the sauna wearing as little as possible (like a loose swim suit or towel), or nothing at all, and relax on the top level for 10 to 15 minutes. The lower level is best for those who prefer moderate heat.
  • Place a large towel underneath you to absorb the sweat and protect the wood. A second towel can be used as a pillow or foot rest to elevate the ankles if lying down.
  • The dry heat will increase blood circulation and eventually cause the body to perspire. Limit each session to 30 minutes max –the sauna is not an endurance test, longer sessions can be harmful.
  • Take a cool shower, a refreshing swim in the lake, or in the winter a roll in the snow. Brace yourself! These sudden changes in temperature can be quite invigorating.
  • Return to the sauna after 10-15 minutes and either throw a few scoops of water over the rocks or bring in a small bucket of water. Increasing the humidity in the room helps keep your skin nice and wet. You should develop a heat and humidity combination that works for you. Some bathers will like it super-dry and others like it quite humid.
  • After the first session, use a birch whisk or “vihta” to slap the skin and stimulate circulation. This will also cause heavy perspiration as a result of the heat and physical exertion

The Final Sauna Session

  • The perspiration and hot temperatures of the sauna cause the pores to open up completely, releasing any trapped dirt or oil. This is the perfect time to scrub the entire body clean –be a friend and offer to wash your partner’s back.
  • The last shower should start off with a warm rinse and get progressively cooler to close the pores without chilling the body.
  • Avoid vigorous toweling and let your body dry naturally, allowing the body to relax and cool down for at least 20 minutes before getting dressed.
  • The drying period is a perfect time for a light snack. salted sausages, pepperettes, or salty crackers washed down with a cool drink is a delicious way to replace the water and salts lost during the sauna sessions.
  • Climb right into bed for a very deep and refreshing sleep.


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