Sauna Beauty Benefits
An authentic Russian sauna, 'banya', is perhaps the most powerful spa procedure there is. The impact of the Russian banya on the body is due to its special light steam and soft heat. The Russian sauna improves metabolism and stimulates circulation. High levels of steam and soft heat cause the body to sweat profusely and detoxify. The pores open and the skin begins to breathe. A natural exfoliation process takes place, the skin is renewed and acquires a healthy glow and tone. The Russian sauna can even conquer cellulite! Everyone will notice your radiant, healthy glow after a Russian banya.
Note, by Russian sauna we mean an authentic Russian banya fitted with a traditional masonry stove proven to generate the light steam and soft heat, so valued by sauna connoisseurs. In our opinion, modern style saunas, electric heaters and other 'misconceptions' as we call them, are detrimental to a person’s health. Furnace Art Engineering specialises in creating classical sauna stoves and steam rooms. Our stoves have a unique, integrated feature designed to ventilate the steam room.
The benefits of the Russian ‘banya’ are not limited to healthy looking skin. The air in the steam room is virtually sterile, which means that germs cannot survive. Intense thermal treatments strengthen the heart; blood vessels become more elastic as a result of the repeated alternation of heat and coolness which is part of the sauna procedure. The banya will also help you battle against excess weight. On average, a person loses up to 3 kg in one banya session.
Before a banya session, we recommend taking a warm shower using a neutral gel or foam. Avoid using soap and massage oils, as these create a film on the surface of the skin inhibiting the body's ability to detoxify in the steam room.
In the steam room wear a special felt hat and keep your hair dry. The light steam and soft heat open the skin's pores but the skin itself works exclusively via secretion. In intervals between exposures to the steam room, the skin will do the opposite and tend to absorb. Hence the simple rule: cleansing formulations are applied directly before entering the steam room, and feeding formulations are applied afterwards. After leaving the steam room, it is important to take a warm shower. To lose weight, let the body warm through thoroughly and avoid cooling down with a cold shower or swim for at least the first 3-4 exposures to the steam room. For more information on 'pareniye' and the proper use of thermal procedures, see our article 'The Culture of 'Pareniye'.
Bathing for beauty To create a really smooth, matte, luminous skin tone use an ash 'venik', a special sauna switch made of fragrant, leafy branches. For cleansing the skin a birch 'venik' is best. Leafy, oak twigs are ideal for strengthening the skin and improving texture and tone.
Scrubs A scrub from honey and sea salt is particularly effective. Apply the scrub to the body. The ingredients of this scrub stimulate the skin wonderfully, easing sweat secretion and leaving the skin with a smooth, velvety feel. A natural coffee scrub, which can also be mixed with honey, helps reduce cellulite. A mixture of honey and lemon juice with help soften areas of coarse skin on the heels and elbows.
Exfoliation procedures for the face and body are most effective after the second exposure to the steam room. It is important to remember that all masks, scrubs and other compounds, including makeup, should be washed off before entering the steam room. Here are some of our favourite recipes for face masks and body treatments:
Moisturising mask: flesh of 1 peeled kiwi, 1 teaspoon of cream and honey. Mix together. Apply to the face and leave for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse with warm water.
Nutritive mask: Blend together cottage cheese, milk and a pinch of salt. Apply and leave for 15-20 minutes before washing off with warm water.
Anti-age mask that works on wrinkles and dark pigmented areas: Mix honey with olive oil and egg yolk. Apply to face, neck and shoulder area. Leave for 15-20 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
Skin whitening, anti-freckle mask: Mix sour cream with ground parsley leaves and apply to the face for 15 minutes. Wash the mask off with warm water.
Cleansing mask for oily skin: Mix one teaspoon of alcohol-based calendula tincture to one glass of water. Soak a cosmetic tissue mask in the liquid and apply to the face. Leave for 10 minutes before removing the tissue mask. There is no need to wash the skin afterwards. Alternatively you can use a mask of ground oats. Soak the oats for about one hour in warm water before applying to the skin using a tissue mask.
Combating wrinkles If you want to improve your skin tone, you need to exercise the skin. The Russian sauna is perfectly suited to this task. Rinse the face alternately with hot and cold water, 3-4 times. Finish the procedure by rinsing with cold water.
Acne and pimples Once the steam and heat have completely opened the pores of your skin, they need to be cleansed of fatty deposits which attract bacteria. Wash the face with salicylic or ichthyol soap. A traditional banya method involves washing the face with coal tar soap and in intervals between exposures to the steam room, place a soaked birch 'venik' to your face. Don't pour away the water in which you have soaked the venik as it makes a wonderful hair rinse.
Hair Treatments Hair can be rinsed with a decoction of herbs such as calendula, camomile, oregano and St. John's wort either singularly or in combination. Proportions: 4-5 tablespoons of herb mix per litre of boiling water. Leave to cool. This rinse will strengthen the hair and restore its natural shine. To combat hair loss, try massaging kefir or yoghurt into the scalp, covering the head with a plastic shower cap, leaving for 30 minutes and then rinsing thoroughly with warm water.
After the banya stay inside for about half an hour. Don't go outside straight away as open pores are extremely sensitive to wind and pollution. Let the skin rest and settle down. Drink a cup of tea and listen to some relaxing music.
At Furnace Art Engineering, we specialise in traditional, Russian, masonry, sauna stoves. To take full advantage of the rejuvenating benefits of a Russian sauna, order one of our custom made ‘turnkey’ steam rooms.
'Happy Light Steam!'