Cold Days – Hot Steam in the sauna!
Autumn is approaching and with it come the first drops in temperature. The cold days arrive even quicker in the mountains. An old remedy for these autumn chills is hot steam in the sauna!
My granny tells me that hot steam is the best thing for your body when the days get colder. I followed her advice, packed my stuff together and took off to the sauna.
But what really happens to your body when you perspire in a steam room?
A sauna has multiple effects: a change in body temperature of 10 degrees on the skin and up to 2 degrees in the interior is like having a fever. The body’s defensive mechanisms are activated, the blood vessels expand and the heartbeat can almost double. Although this might sound like an illness, these effects hide some healthy benefits for the body. Essentially, the sweating helps the body to expel the waste products which have collected over time. There are also healthy effects on the airways and the body’s general level of health is generally improved.
Knowing all this I was looking forward to treating my body to its wellness experience. The Olympia Sport and Congress Centre in Seefeld was all lit up when I arrived and the steam from the outside swimming area rose slowly into the evening sky. Armed only with a hand towel I set off on my sauna experience. After a shower, I headed straight for the steam sauna. Autumn may bring the change of colours with it but frequently also a blocked-up nose. The steam room sounded just about right for my defence against that. As someone who hadn’t taken a sauna for a while, I started out with around 40 – 55 degrees. My airways started to open again after a short time and the comfortable temperature helped me into a relaxed mood.
My sauna to-do list
Top on my sauna to-do list was some really hot steam. Everything is on offer, from pampering scents to the classic water poured over the rocks. At 19.00 steam expert Heinz was waiting in the Finnish sauna. With his experience of when to pour the water he literally heated us up. I could feel what I described above happening on my own body and in every pore. (Advice: drink plenty of water after a sauna, as your body will have lost plenty in perspiration.)
After the 100 degree sauna, which I left to the advanced and more enthusiastic sauna users, I made my way to the upper level of the sauna area and the 33 degree outdoor panoramic pool with a pleasing underwater massage. The view to the Seekirchl chapel, framed by the surrounding mountains, was simply beautiful. The comfortable temperature and the romantic lighting prompted me to relax and float in the water.
More than hot steam
In the relaxation areas: the atrium, light room, air room, fire room and panorama lounge can all be used as relaxation areas between the periods in the different saunas. The Sport and Congres Centre also offers, in addition to the panorama pool with whirlpool, a caldarium (30 degrees) a blue grotto and plunge, Kneipp and cold-water pools (the latter is ice-cold: I tried J). As well as all that, there are also infra-red cabins, solariums and a panorama terrace on offer to help visitors relax and feel good.
In short, my visit to the sauna didn’t just reactivate and reenergise my body, but also improved my level of relaxation. I must admit that a visit to the sauna is not just for cold days but a must-do for body and soul. Even as a single visitor, you don’t feel as if you are alone, although sauna areas are not particularly known for their communication benefits and most visitors are prioritising calm and relaxation. Whether you are on your own or as part of a couple, nobody should miss the positive and enjoyable effects on your body!
Pictures: Andre Schönherr