So I just got back from this seasons first session of what we Swedes call “Bastubad” and it occurred to me that this lovely tradition is not that well-known, and that it’s just the kind of stuff that fits this site very well.
You see, it’s not just an exciting pastime activity but also very refreshing and vitalising. Especially if done in the winter, and then it’s also great for self-discipline and crushing your comfort zone.
If you liked the cold shower challenge, you’re gonna LOVE this.
What is it and how is it performed?
It’s very simple really. All you need is a sweat lodge or steam room, located next to a lake/river/ocean or snow.
I’ll explain three different ways of doing it, I choose to call them Swedish, Finnish, and Russian style, but the accuracy of these names is highly questionable.
Anyways, here they are:
Swedish style: Enter the bastu (steam room/sweat lodge) and get it as hot as you can. Sit for as long as you can take it, then run out and roll around in the snow for as long as you can take it. Repeat a couple of times. Bring some beer or booze if you like.
Finnish style: For this one you need two additional things, birch branches and vodka. Get in the sauna and start drinking vodka, and whip eachother with the branches (it’s not gay unless you make it so haha.) If you’re alone, just make like the bishop and flagellate yourself, though you shouldn’t do this alone. When you’ve had enough (when you’re drunk and red) just run out and jump in the water. Repeat until you get too drunk.
Russian style AKA hardcore mode: Bring some vodka, get in the sweat lodge and start drinking. When you feel ready, jump in the water. Then get back to the sweat lodge, and don’t forget to drink your vodka. Repeat until you’re way too drunk for this to be safe ;)
Oh and I forgot to mention, an important rule for all styles is no clothing. And to make sure it’s safe you don’t do it alone.
I know that by now some of you are thinking “This is way too intense” or “this is dangerous” but don’t worry, this tradition is ages old and widespread in the northern parts of Europe and Asia. If it was too extreme, very few people would even do it, and that’s not the case.
Bring some friends and there should be no risk.
I highly recommend it, the results are quite impressive. You’ll feel so alive, so refreshed, and soooo full of energy. And when you come down and relax, you’ll be incredibly relaxed and your mind will be pretty quiet. A great time to meditate.
It’s great for your blood circulation and breathing, and for your skin.
That, and… it turns boys into men haha.
It’s not as risky as it sounds. I’ve done it lots of times, I just got back from doing it and I’m on day 2 of fasting and it’s the first time in a very long time that I’ve had alcohol, and there were no problems with doing this.
Just don’t do it alone, and don’t do it if you’re sick.
TRY THIS STUFF, IT’S AWESOME.
@xyver, It’s not necessary. It’s absolutely optional, but it’s usually part of the “ritual.”
And of course you don’t have to follow the styles, you can pick and mix as you please, do what suits you.
But I recommend trying with and without alcohol. Unless you’re against alcohol of course, then just skip that part.
It does stimulate the bloodflow, the sensations, relaxes your mind, it can make it more fun, and so on. You know, the classic reasons why people use alcohol.
It’s not necessary. The heat and cold is what it’s all about.
Temperature stimulates the bloodflow, where it goes, the pressure, etc. Switching back and forth between hot and cold really gets your blood going, that’s why it’s so energizing.
It also revs your metabolism and boosts your testosterone, it’s great for your muscle tone and strength.
@xyver, Agreed. I’m down with everything else, but if getting drunk is mandatory for this, I don’t see the point. Though it is something I was meaning to do this winter was take short walks without a coat on as a means of toughening up my body. And this Michigan winter seems like it’ll be a bad one.