How to heat the sauna to suit everyone

There’s more to it than simply chucking water on the stones!


Once we’ve set up the sauna and everyone is sitting comfortably, we like to let our guests manage the levels of heat themselves. 

We use kiln dried birch in the stove and the heat of the fire heats up the surrounding metal. This, in turn, heats up the stones and chimney and the whole unit radiates heat. 

To heat it up further, we pour water on the stones using a ladle. 

This generates steam and it makes you feel very hot! 

This is exactly what we want. Read about the benefits of the sauna here. 

However, there’s more to it than simply chucking water on the stones. 

Here we explain how to manage the heat of the sauna.

First, check 

Always ask first if others in the sauna are ready for more heat. We all like different temperatures and we all have varying levels of tolerances so, if you want to heat the stove, it’s important to respect other people’s needs and ask first.

We’ve written about how you can build your tolerance to sauna heat here. So you can advise anyone who is struggling with the heat to get their head covered with a wet hat or towel, get their head lower, get their body lower or sit near the door. 

Less is more!

A little water goes a long way so it’s much better to heat the sauna tent up slowly. 

Add a small amount of water then sit back and see how it feels before adding more. Repeat the process.

Bear in mind if you add a massive dump of water onto the rocks the sauna will become unbearably hot, and everyone will probably run away! 

Drizzle water, don’t dump

Take your time and be sure to use the ladle. It has a long handle that gives you control so the right amount of water hits the rocks. Make sure you drizzle the water from the back of the stove and stones and work forwards; this reduces the risk of steam scalds!

Using the ladle, gently and slowly pour the water in a horseshoe motion onto the rocks. This will make sure the steam is created on the rocks rather than on the metal. 

Wait for the sizzle

Only pour when the water is sizzling on the rocks. If the rocks don't sizzle they are not hot enough to steam properly.  If you pour water on the rocks before the sizzle, they’ll end up cooling to the point where the steam stops. If the steam stops, it’s probably a good time to take a break.  So let the rocks recover their heat by going for a cool down. 

Added Oils

If you are adding Eucalyptus or any essential oils add the oils to the little water stones (ask your facilitator!) . Do not add oil to the stones directly as the oil can catch fire.  You can also add oil to the water bucket: It is not optimal but it can be done. 

Now read our tips on getting the most out of your sauna experience. 

Check out our sauna trip tips, view dates, and book up.