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Holistic Healing Sauna

Updated on December 19, 2016
SaraGardner profile image

I live in the middle of the Finnish forest on the edge of a small lake. I've created this space as a healing retreat.


I quite often explain to my guests about the fabulous, holistic, healing benefits of the traditional wood-burning Finnish sauna. My guests are amazed by how easy and enjoyable it is to get healthier—you literally just sit there and sweat! The warmth helps muscles relax and blood vessels expand, which in turn delivers blood more efficiently to the major organs. More efficient blood flow allows the organs to do their job more efficiently, which means that the lymphatic system can remove by-products more efficiently.

Toxins are eliminated through the body's largest organ, the skin, via sweating. Everyone is encouraged to take bottles of the natural forest water to help give themselves a really good internal cleanse!

It is the alternating between the hot sauna and the cold lake (or snow) that encourages the heart to pump more efficiently and sets the whole process in motion.


But there are also deeper aspects that contribute to the amazing holistic healing benefits. Let me paint you a picture of sauna night.....

There are 3 men sitting in their sauna enjoying the heat, the simple atmosphere, the relaxing feeling growing in their bodies, minds, and of course their spirits.

As the three sink deeper into this feeling of total relaxation, with no attachments to anything, they come naturally to a point I use in my healing practice wherein the “loudest” thing left in the body becomes easier to spot clearly.

So, one of the men with the most “urgency,” that is to say, the closest to the surface of his conscious awareness desire to say something, will be the first to speak. (In Finland this moment could take weeks to arrive, but my guests are not usually Finnish Masters of Silence.)

So, Man A has spoken, and the others are so relaxed that they are given an internal choice to just listen, or to engage, or pull up Man A on what would be a “sticky” point for them. Most will choose the continuation of the relaxation. After all, the sauna is a Finnish cultural symbol of “let it go." It holds deep magic having been used as the centre of life for hundreds of years. The traditional Finnish sauna was the place of birth and death, the place to sweat and cure all manner of ills.


And so, Man A speaks his previously unspoken, and not dared to be spoken in public “talk,” and there is no reaction. Momentarily he has a choice, to sink into the warm depths of the sauna into the state of deep relaxation, or to take note of that rising note of something that might cause him to grab back his “talk” and bear its burden once more.....but his subconscious notes in an instance that the dot of that something is tiny and he pays it no heed for it has become a much smaller or quieter particle of awareness when placed inside his cultural healing place.

He lets the sauna spirits do their work on his muscles, so much so that his entire frame shifts and lightens without him even really noticing.

Persons B & C also register imperceptible shifts within their energy fields, and all three drift off into companionable silence. And as they sink deep into that palpable silence (especially if they are in a smoke sauna!), Man B has a tiny dot appear on his horizon. Of course he pays no heed at first for it is but the speck of a star viewed as far and deep across the cosmos, most likely dead in a timed reality as it is so very far away........and yet there it is slowly growing and seemingly coming towards his mind until eventually his disturbance reaches a point where he speaks, just as Man A did.

In a relaxed setting we are offering our body an opportunity to rebalance, to let go of things which are usually stuck in place because we are holding onto them, mostly for long forgotten and buried reasons that have no relevance to our current lives. As they rise ever closer to the surface they become “louder” in our awareness....and if we are operating with limited awareness then they are most likely to just take over the limited space of our awareness which causes us to panic and stuff them back down from whence they came but if we are relaxed and expanded, for example in our wonderful sauna session our mind can be quiet enough to see this surfacing “talk” as just another toxin rising to our surface and we are able to let it go as easily as we allow the sweat the pour from our skin.

And so this process continues to Man C, he speaks his “talk” and the others just listen, not inclined to pull themselves out of their own relaxed state to argue a point because nothing ever seems that important whilst in the relaxing atmosphere of the sauna. These cycles of release continue spiraling down into deeper and deeper relaxation, especially within the energy field of a holistic healing retreat which purposefully reflects the energies of unfolding, sitting, listening, allowing, embracing.


How far you are able to let yourself go, to sink into that totally relaxed feeling will depend on the stimulation of markers that you have naturally placed in your defensive systems at points of importance to you. These markers stimulate a response that allows you to momentarily shake your mind from its relaxed mode to check in if you are fully aware and happy of where you are going in that moment.

If the stimulation triggers an “oh yes” response then we continue to sink and relax further into our bodies, occupying them more deeply and in this case with more awareness of our ability to be able to be so deeply relaxed.

And if the stimulation triggers a “No!” response then we are catapulted from our bodies straight back into the main control centre of our mind wherein we can reassess what we would like to do next.

This is a simplified model of how we are actually living our lives, we have certain “deal breakers” that we don't want to let go of and they will trigger a response when we feel they are being threatened. It is a very common fear of people seeking therapy that they will be brainwashed or hypnotised into becoming something that they don't want! That is part of the reason that conversations in the sauna are such a wonderful healing therapy as we are all naked together, exposed, vulnerable and equal. It's a strong symbolic message to the mind that nobody is hiding anything.


The sauna shows you that you are in control. You decide the temperature of the sauna because you light the fire. It doesn't have to be exact because you can modify your sessions by changing your position from the lower bench to the higher bench. You decide how long you will stay in and whether you will just sit outside to cool down or plunge into the lake. There are no rules, you create your own sauna, you are aware of whether you are more inclined towards a sweaty detox-type sauna or a more relaxation-type sauna.

Most of the time we don't even give these kinds of decisions much conscious thought. We don't really need to, as our bodies are perfectly capable and designed to follow our feelings. When we scratch an itch we don't need to consciously direct our hands and fingernails; we don't need to do an analysis of the amount of pressure to use and the amount of fingernail to use because that's directly felt and corrected right there as we scratch that itch. Our bodies will follow exactly the same process during a sauna once we have worked out the basics of top bench means hot, lower bench is not so hot, outside means cold and in the lake means really cold. Simple!

Paradoxically, the sauna actually does "brainwash," but not in the way we think! Instead it will literally wash and clean your brain, allowing you to head off into the rest of your life with a clean mind, swept clear of old clutter. You will have stronger, healthier blood flow to help feed your creativity, and you will have a more efficient waste-removal system to help you let go of toxins and things that no longer serve you.

You are welcome!


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