The sauna has always been a spiritual experience for me. There in the heat covered in a sheen of sweat the body connected to the miraculous spirit of water takes one away from anything outside. The sauna ritual practised in Austria with personal creativity turned me into a true fan.

The procedure associated with the "aufguss" consists first of opening the sauna door to let in some fresh air. The leader of the aufguss may take a towel and using a vertical pinwheel motion, circulate fresh air into the sauna. The sauna door is then closed and the leader will poor a ladle of plain or aromatherapy oiled water on the hot stones. The leader will now take the towel and starting slowly circulate the air by pin wheeling the towel overhead to circulate all the moist air. Many sauna pros have their own aufguss dance that usually ends with holding the towel firmly between both hands and flapping or waving it into the participants faces. Some enthusiastic leaders snap the towel fiercely and this is like being hit with a hot wet wall. The procedure of wetting the rocks and circulating the air is done usually three times and can be a real endeavour to stay for the whole time. That said it is considered rude to leave after the door has been closed and the aufguss has begun.

If you have an opportunity to take part in a sauna ritual and you think it may get too hot for you, take in a wet cloth to wipe your face and to breath into. put a drop of essential oil on the cloth (pine, cedar, melissa, lavender or any natural floral scent that you may prefer). It seems to cool the inner temperature by breathing the air through the water barrier. Water acts like a magnet to the heat. Just purse the lips and create a very small opening. Then slowly inhale the hot moist air through the wet cloth. This technique can also be used when the mouth encounters an overly hot drink or piping hot food (It is far more effective than opening the mouth wide and fanning the tongue.)

In the thermal resort of Loipersdorf, the business logo consists of a hand. In one of the saunas, the leader is given a bucket of ice frozen in the shape of hands. The leader breaks the fingers off and hands them around and then places the palm part on the rocks. The participants rub the ice fingers on their face and body while the steam amd heat rise. An invigorating experience.