SAUNA AND STRETCHING SAUNA: THE REGENERATING POWER OF HEAT
The beneficial effects of a sauna have been known for centuries. Remains of buildings dating back to the Middle Ages show that the sauna has always been an essential ritual in Finnish society. The freezing temperatures made it necessary to have a place to recover, conceived as an integral part of a house or as a separate one. It was considered such an important element of the house that it also became the traditional place for childbirth.
Today, the sauna is well known and used all around the world. The benefits are generated by its intense heat (a typical Finnish sauna reaches up to 90 degrees) which doubles the speed of blood circulation in a short time, stimulating all organs as well. The temperature of the skin reaches 40/42 degrees, but the internal heat remains almost unvaried thanks to sweating, which allows the elimination of up to a litre of water containing electrolytes, lactic acid, amino acids and toxins. The strong blood circulation and intense sweating also prevents fat stagnation and help reduce surface imperfections, giving elasticity and radiance to the skin, which also benefits the scalp.
To maximise the benefits of the sauna, there are also innovative practices such as the “Stretching Sauna”, which is offered daily at Lefay Resort & SPA Dolomiti. This activity is carried out exclusively by the Resort’s SPA trainers, conceived by Professor Enrico Milani, fitness trainer, athletic trainer and AISA-certified sauna instructor, who has created a unique protocol combining stretching, heat, essential oils, music and water.
After wearing a special costume provided by the SPA, the session begins with a refreshing shower. Thanks to fluid movements, the guided stretching in the Finnish sauna considerably increases body relaxation. In fact, moving continuously from one static position to another and breathing in a controlled manner helps to stretch and relax the tissues, even for people whose muscles are particularly tense. The central nervous system is also stimulated, producing a general tension relieving effect on all body.
The 30-minute stretching exercises in the sauna are alternated with pleasant breaks with cool water vapourised on the limbs as well as inhalation of essential oils of different type of wood, such as stone pine, mugo pine, Siberian fir, combined with citrus fruits such as lemon, grapefruit and blood orange or essences of lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus.
As a result, a calmer feeling prevails, and the mind is finally free from worries. The session ends with a walk through the cold-water pools outside the sauna, preparing for the outside barefoot walk on the grass (or, even better, in the snow!) to reconnect with the deep centre of the earth.