What is Proper Sauna Etiquette?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 January 2020
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The sauna is a great way to relax and loosen muscles after a good workout, and most gyms or fitness centers have them available to guests. Anyone using a sauna should practice proper sauna etiquette at all times when using the area to ensure all users are content and comfortable. Most facilities that provide a sauna have proper sauna etiquette rules posted outside the sauna to prevent confusion, so the first step is to read these posted rules carefully and follow them.

Sauna etiquette, whether posted or not, includes showering or rinsing off before entering the sauna. This prevents unpleasant odors from developing in the sauna, especially after the users have been working out at the gym. It also prevents germs from being transferred into the sauna and spreading to other users. Always have a towel handy when using a sauna, especially if that particular sauna permits nudity. While it is perfectly within the confines of good sauna etiquette to be nude in a sauna that permits it, one should always sit on a towel while using the sauna to prevent the transfer of germs and odors.


While inside the sauna, it is also perfectly good sauna etiquette to lie down — assuming, of course, there is enough room for it. If other users are in the sauna with you, it is generally a good idea to sit rather than lie down to ensure comfort for all users. The sauna is meant to be a relaxing place, so conversation should be kept to a minimum unless you and a friend are the only people in the sauna. When conversing, users should keep their voices low and respect other people's desire for quiet.

Some saunas are steam saunas, in which water can be poured over hot coals or vents to produce steam. Be sure to read the sauna rules and regulations before creating steam, as some saunas do not permit this. It is also a wise decision to ask other sauna users if they prefer a steam-free environment before creating steam in the sauna. Remember that whether it is a steam sauna or not, each person's body will sweat while inside. It is a good idea to keep an adequate amount of space between each person, as transferring sweat from one person to another can be both uncomfortable and rude. After one has finished using the sauna, he or she should be sure to take any belongings such as towels out of the sauna and close the door tightly when exiting.


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