Learn more about 'German Aufguss', where it comes from, and why we love it.
What is Aufguss?
Aufguss is a German sauna tradition that is currently gaining popularity outside of Europe and in the US.
The word “Aufguss” is German, and can be translated with “Infusion”. It describes the activity of pouring water on the hot stones of the sauna oven. The water immediately vaporizes into steam, and increases the heat and humidity inside of the sauna room. Sauna, sweat bathing, Aufguss, and other similar methods are very old human traditions which can be tied back to the native tribes of North and South America (sweat lodge), ancient Roman and Turkish cultures, as well as the Scandinavian, Baltic and Eastern European cultures. The sauna and public bathing cultures have disappeared several times throughout human history, mainly due to religious reasons and spreading of diseases.
In 2005, around 1.6 million private saunas and 11,300 public saunas (in large bathing & sauna facilities, wellness hotels and fitness studios) were available in Germany, which is today one of the biggest markets for wellness, bathing and sauna experiences worldwide. The Germans re-introduced the concept of public bathing and sauna culture to a generation that suffered World War II in the 1950s. The Aufguss “infusion” trend emerged in the 1960s and was soon adapted throughout Germany, and from there, a few decades later, throughout Europe. And therefore, in a modern sauna setting, infusion procedures in the sauna are often called “Aufguss” internationally today.
The Origins of Aufguss
The origins of Aufguss can be tied back to maintaining the heat level up inside of the sauna.
Saunas are closed environments. Oxygen is constantly being consumed by the people who gather in them to enjoy sweat bathing together. For that reason, there is a need to bring in fresh air from time to time — to re-oxygenate the sauna. When the sauna door and windows are opened, the used hot air escapes quickly, and is exchanged for cool fresh air filling the space. This exchange of air usually comes with a temperature drop, particularly in very cold environments. In order to quickly restore temperature and humidity levels, people started pouring water on the hot stones of the sauna stove, and rotating a towel to distribute the emerging hot steam. This became a common practice in cold ambiances, like wintertime in Northern Scandinavia, and is considered to be the origin of the Aufguss experience.
Over time, this simple act of maintaining temperature has transformed into the more complex and richer Aufguss experience. Aufguss first found a larger fan base in Germany and surrounding countries like Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands.
The Aufguss Experience
Aufguss is an intense and enjoyable multi-sensory experience.
The classic Aufguss procedure is facilitated by a “Saunameister” (master of the art of Sauna). They pour water, enriched with natural essential oils, several times on the hot stones of the sauna oven. This water immediately vaporizes into aromatic steam with health enhancing qualities.
The Saunameister then uses a towel, and a variety of different rhythmical towel movements, to circulate the hot air through the sauna. This heightens the perception of heat and sweating, and creates an intense and enjoyable multi-sensory wellness experience for Aufguss participants. This procedure is repeated up to three times and the heat consistently rises throughout the Aufguss session. A typical Aufguss usually lasts 8 to 12 minutes, and participants remain inside of the sauna during this time.
In recent years, this classic Aufguss experience, which is centered around relaxation and health benefits, has evolved into choreographed “Aufguss Shows”. These combine theatrical elements, are facilitated in “Sauna Theaters”, are equipped with professional light show and surround sound capabilities, and can hold up to 250 people.
The Health Benefits of Aufguss
Aufguss positively impacts mental and physical health.
The benefits of the Aufguss experience involve both mental and physical aspects. Mental benefits include significant mood improvements, a deep meditative state, and relaxation of the central nervous system. Physical aspects include improved blood circulation and cardiovascular strength, boosting the immune system and eliminating toxins.
Aufguss ceremonies are a great way to shift your state of mind away from feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, tired, or concerned. Aufguss can help you reach a higher state, filled with relaxation, happiness, and a deep connection with your inner core. Overall, reducing stress levels through Aufguss, regular exercise, and healthy lifestyle, will make you feel better, healthier, and stronger, and it will positively impact your life in the long run.
Aufguss With Saunameister Alex
Saunameister Alex focuses on the classic version of Aufguss, which is centered around deep relaxation, profound connection with oneself, and the many health benefits of sauna.
During an Aufguss session with Alex, you need to do nothing more than breathe in the enriched soothing air and follow some simple instructions. Aufguss with Alex provides a unique opportunity to reconnect with your body and mind, and to feel the gentle and healing energy of nature when embracing the fresh air after leaving the sauna.
Alex combines sauna Aufguss with relaxation techniques and cold exposure. During the sessions, you will be guided to focus on your breath and let go. After leaving the sauna, Alex will show you how to enjoy the beauty of an ice cold shower or an ice bath, by applying different breathing techniques.
Alex’s goal is to provide a holistic experience that enables you to switch state, from feeling tension and stress, to a state of deep relaxation and joy that can have long-lasting effects after the Aufguss ceremony.
Join The Sauna Aufguss Tribe
If you’d like to learn more about Aufguss, the events provided by Alex, and become part of a growing community of likeminded people, feel free to sign up for our e-mail list below for updates and news, and check out our upcoming events.