(w: , h: )
xs: 0 – 576
sm: 576 – 768
md: 768 – 992
lg: 992 – 1200
xl: 1200 – 1500
xxl: 1500 – +

Around 2000 years ago, the Finns invented the sauna: a sacred space of spiritual and physical purification, from which to emerge rejuvenated and reborn. Back then, saunas were fired by wood-burning stoves, tended to with the same sanctity and ceremony usually reserved for a Sunday service. The fire, it was thought, was heaven-sent, imbued with the ability to purge the body of disease, as well as the evils of the world. This sense of ritual was not unique. In America, across Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri, the sweat lodges of the Meskwaki were believed to be inhabited by benevolent spirit-beings – called upon to enter the body via the vapours to sanitise and heal. Meanwhile, in Russia, steam baths, or banyas, were compact, practical hotspots of hygiene, simply designed to accommodate everyday cleansing. For thousands of years, across many cultures and locales, heat bathing has been an essential practice of purification and daily life.

Today, science denotes the sauna a bridge to natural healing, rehabilitation and recovery. Through the transformative power of heat, we are able to free our bodies of toxins, shake off aches and pains, and improve our cardiovascular, neurological and metabolic health. What we love about the sauna, is its ability, not only to transform our physical bodies, but our state of mind too. While sauna bathing can help us quiet anxious thoughts, it’s also a place of community – one of the few remaining spaces where we are required to enter phone-free, and where we can come together in a delicious haze of vapour and heat to focus on our bodies as a collective, completely disconnected from the frenetic buzz of the outside world.

Ruth Kaplan, 1992

It boosts circulation – High temperatures temporarily stress the body, sparking a rapid physiological response that ignites the cardiovascular system for efficient circulation and blood redistribution. In other words, a sauna session gets things moving. This is important to prevent stagnation in the body (health is a flow state!), and ensure that all our organs receive the nutrients they need. A hot Epsom salt bath is an accessible alternative. Be sure to rehydrate!

It can be a gentle route to increased positivity – Studies have shown that sauna bathing reduces the levels of cortisol (our primary stress hormone) in our blood, whilst simultaneously stimulating serotonin production, the happy hormone that helps us regulate mood, sexual desire and appetite, making us feel more motivated and at ease. For an extra moment of calm and reconnection, tune into your body and any physical sensations that might arise.

It can help reset the nervous system  – The intense heat of the sauna activates the sympathetic (fight or flight) branch of the nervous system in an attempt to restore thermal balance. As we cool off, the parasympathetic system (rest and digest) is switched on and our heart rate variability increases, boosting feelings of relaxation. This post-sauna recovery period helps regulate the autonomic nervous system, strengthening our parasympathetic response, and increasing the capacity of the cardiovascular system to respond to stress. So, taking a sauna can actually help us change the way we process anxiety.

Michael Maltzan & Richard Neutra, 1953

It can improve slow wave sleep – Popping into the sauna 1-2 hours before bed can increase the quality and duration of slow wave sleep — that deep, restorative sleep that takes place during the first half of the night, when the body works to replenish and recuperate after a hard day’s work. This is because the temperature of the sauna causes blood to flow from the body’s core to the skin, to prevent overheating. Back on cooler ground, much of our blood remains concentrated at the skin’s surface. This signals the brain to produce melatonin, which puts us into a state of ‘quiet wakefulness’, helping us fall soundly asleep.

It can improve cardiovascular capacity and endurance – Recent studies demonstrate that sauna bathing triggers many of the same physiological responses that occur when we engage in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, making it a great option for people who are unable to work out. During both exercise and sauna, heart rate increases, blood vessels widen, and blood pressure goes up, but, afterward, resting heart rate and blood pressure decrease below baseline. This means that we are able to move into a parasympathetic state, and that longer term, our chances of suffering from cardiovascular disease are reduced. When we combine the two activities — taking a sauna after swimming or cycling, for example — we further improve our cardiovascular fitness and endurance.

Ara Güler, 1976

It can support mitochondrial health – The benefits of sauna bathing extend to the cellular level, boosting mitochondrial health for increased energy levels. Our bodies contain around 37 trillion cells, each one requiring a constant supply of energy to maintain biological homeostasis. This energy is fed to them by the mitochondria – the powerhouses of the cell – which work around the clock to transform chemical energy from food into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) — the principle molecule for storing and transferring energy in cells. So, when we feel we are lacking in energy, we are actually lacking in ATP! Heat stimulation of muscles increases the number and productivity of mitochondria, helping us harness physical stamina, but also that get up and go mental energy needed to get things done.

It can reduce pain – High-intensity heat works to relax muscles and soothe any aches and pains. It also triggers the body to produce endorphins, which can help minimise feelings of pain. Meanwhile, increased blood circulation aids in speedy recovery and natural healing, making it an ideal post-workout balm. Gently stretching, before or after a sauna, will help you feel all the more limber.

Leonard Koren, 1996