Sauna Whisking: A Delicate Ritual
Of all the accoutrements to the sauna, the vihta, or whisk, is the one that keeps you coming back.
- Gather a fistful of supple birch (or cedar) twigs, 16 inches in length. Tie in a bouquet with another flexible branch.
- Enter the sauna, unadorned save for your whisk and a bucket of water. Once your skin is damp from sweat, dip whisk into the bucket and briskly slap the naked body.
- This swatting is not supposed to be painful (or sexual) but is meant to make the skin tingle, stimulate blood circulation and cleanse the skin.
- Also adds a lovely birch scent to the sauna.
- Okay for a sauna-goer to ask another to slap him with the whisk.
- Rinse (by rolling in the snow or dipping in the lake). Repeat.