Have you ever heard of a snow sauna? Taking a sauna is great any time of the year. Especially if it is in a traditional Finnish sauna built out of cedar and it is heated by a wood fired sauna stove. It seems that all the stress and tensions of the day are drawn out of the body by the sun's radiant heat that was stored in the wood that is burning. Once the stove rocks are hot the dry heat reaches deep into your body and drains all the toxins out of it. Then it is time to increase the heat by ladling water on to the stove rocks with a loud hissing sound. As the humidity rises your sweat increases removing all the grime and toxins.
A good traditional sauna is usually situated near a lake or river. When the heat of the sauna is almost unbearable and the toxins are on the skins surface you open the sauna door and head for the lakes cold water. A quick dunk in the water rinses all the poisons from your skin. You are now clean, refreshed and many times drained of energy. Only a snow sauna will make you cleaner and more refreshed.
If it is winter time and you live in the Snow Belt along the Lake Superior South shore you have a great opportunity to enjoy the snow sauna tradition. Winter lasts a long time in these big snow areas where in some years there are still snow banks in the cedar swamps on the 4th of July. Cabin fever is a common problem as the cold and darkness of winter and early spring as the months drag on. The snow sauna is a great way to purge your body and mind of this annual affliction.
In some places like the Keweenaw Peninsula snow starts to fall early. November snow accumulations will exceed the total annual snow depth for many Northern cities. However the snow sauna season usually does not start until about Christmas time. The timing of snow sauna season is linked to the depth of the snow. In general snow sauna season begins when the local snow depth is greater than 24 inches.
A snow sauna begins with a normal sauna. However that is where the similarity ends. Once a good sweat is going instead of heading for the lake to take dunk you simply jump into the clean cold snow. It is important that the snow have a good base especially early in the snow sauna season. Powder snow will not support much weight and your snow flop may end up with a hard landing. It is also important that the area that you are snow jumping into is not covered with rocks, brush, sticks and other hazards. An additional hazard can come from a hard snow crust after the January thaw or during the spring freeze thaw period.
As we said a good snow sauna ends with a good snow jump or flop. After you flopped and covered with snow take care to look upon the area you landed. You will be surprised to see dark deposits in the snow. These are the result of the grime and toxins that were in and on your body prior to the sauna. A true snow sauna enthusiast will make several rolls and flops before reentering the sauna for another sweat. A good snow sauna will make your body feel more alive and clean than it ever has. All the symptoms of cabin fever will be gone especially if you take a snow sauna with family and friends.
Nothing beats a snow sauna for improving your health and well being. You really have not lived until you have run out the sauna door and jumped into 3 or 4 feet of snow.