What is the aufguss?
The activity that turns a sauna into a unique experience is the aufguss, also known in Finland as “hyvä löyly”: it is the crucial time, the most enjoyable moment, when the soul and spirit of the sauna really shine. The Finnish term means “good hot steam” rising from the sizzling stones: in the “land of a thousand lakes” pure spring water is poured onto hot stones using a wooden spoon. The water vapour causes relative humidity - i.e. the steam-air ratio - to increase for a few moments.
Contrary to a common misconception, the aufguss does not cause increased sweating. Indeed, the drops of water that start running along the body after water is poured onto the hot stones are nothing but moisture, which evaporates rather quickly. In fact, ethereal oils mixed with the water can promote relaxation and well-being.
The aufguss process consists in pouring cold water or ice blended with balsam scents on the hot coals. The resulting puffs of steam are then dispersed in the sauna room by the “aufguss master” using a towel or a different ventilation tool.
In recent years, the art of performing the aufguss has evolved, or rather it has been revolutionized. Today, the range of different types of aufguss is virtually endless, ranging from classic - meditative and spiritual - to “highlight aufguss” featuring themed music and costumes as well as innovative ventilation techniques. Thus, the aufguss constitutes the cultural climax of the whole sauna ritual.