And so, even with centuries of history behind them, these rooms can inspire sweatier palms than foreheads. Luckily, editors Scott and Rebecca are here to help. According to Scott, many guys try and prove their toughness by staying in as long as possible or trying to outlast their friends in the sauna. First off—this goes against the chief principle of sauna-ing: relaxing and letting go. And nobody looks tough when they're dehydrated or passed out. Light stretching overhead is fine, but floor-quaking calisthenics distract other people in the sauna, and slippery floors can make it a dangerous game. Saunas are part of a tradition that could stretch back to the Native American sweatlodge, the Finnish lake-side sauna, and the Russian banya. People feel culturally connected to the practice and are usually happy to explain it to newcomers.
What to wear
Berlin\u2019s steamiest spots
Berlin’s steamiest spots
Kate here Right before Christmas, I went to a local spa in Nashville because my friend had gotten me a gift certificate for my birthday. I thought it would be a perfect way to relax after all of the Christmas shopping madness and a good way to prepare for the holiday festivities. I arrived early and the lady who showed me the women's locker room facilities said, "We have a steam room right through these doors So, I head into the steam room wearing only a towel mind you and it's empty when I arrive. It's not very big, but I settle onto the bench, lean back and start to enjoy the steam. Fast forward about three minutes, the door swings open and there HE is. Yes, that's right, a MAN. And for the record--a very young, attractive man--who is also wearing only a towel. We make eye contact and I momentarily freak because I'm pretty sure I had gotten a little too comfortable and that my towel was not covering..
Nothing new about being told off, as even liberal Berlin, to which I recently moved, is full of baffling rules. For the Germans, this is as normal as a trip to the supermarket. As in Scandinavia, saunas are revered here for their relaxing effects, circulatory benefits and power to make you sweat a pint in 10 minutes. They are also mixed-sex, and no bathing suits are allowed. A nude mixed sauna is a shocking proposition to an Anglo-American like me.