German Sauna Etiquette

by Philip | Last Updated: March 19, 2017 When you buy something using the links on our posts, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

The Basics

What Should You Expect From A German Sauna

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Photo from urbansketcher

Saunas are usually inside larger spas with swimming pools and other facilities. The sauna will be a wooden cabin, often with shower facilities and changing rooms close at hand.

Find the changing rooms, and change into your robe and sandals. It is usual to take a shower both before and after a sauna, so, once you are in your robe and sandals, head for the shower, and, once you are feeling freshened up, head from there to the sauna, where there will usually be hooks to hang your robe.

Once in the sauna, spread out your towel on the area of the bench where you intend to sit or lay during your sauna experience.

Saunas and spas are a big part of German culture, and it is normal for people to make a day of a sauna visit, coming and going to and from the sauna, getting something to eat and drink, cooling off, and then heading back into the sauna.

Typically, the average length of time spent in the sauna at any one point is 20-30 minutes, although as mentioned, many Germans, and other Europeans, will re-enter a sauna multiple times during a visit to a spa.

Nudity Makes Me Feel Uncomfortable – How Do I Handle That?

german massage naked


Remember that, in Europe, nudity isn’t considered shameful in the same way it can be in America. Also, Europeans, especially Germans, are much more comfortable around a range of body types, including those not considered typically attractive.

If you are feeling uncertain about being naked in a sauna because of your age, remember that many mainland European countries value older people, and are not unfamiliar with ageing bodies.

If you real don’t feel you can be comfortable being naked, there are some saunas in Germany that do not require full nudity, so it is worth looking into saunas fully, so that you can identify saunas where you will be able to keep some clothing on.

Are German Saunas Hygienic?

As well as the areas where people sit being covered by towels, German saunas are cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis. In addition, high temperatures and steam are naturally cleansing.

There is very limited risk of picking up an illness or infection through using a  sauna, and the regime of a pre- and post-sauna shower ensures that every possible precaution has been taken to prevent infection for those using the sauna.

Health Benefits of Using a Sauna

Saunas are a great way to relieve stress

Being a warm, quiet place, along with the soothing benefits of natural warmth, saunas are an excellent natural option for draining the body and mind of stress. Also, they provide the perfect opportunity for low-key socialising. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, socialising is actually made easier when everyone is naked, as people have no pretensions to fall back on or be intimidated by.

Muscle relaxation and soothing aching joints

Heat is a natural form of pain relief. The heat from a sauna encourages the body to release endorphins, which promote natural self-healing.

Sweating out toxins

The most common association with saunas is the concept of sweating out toxins, which goes back to Native and Aboriginal societies, and their traditions of sweat lodges. Thanks to modern temperature control, and specialist fabrics, many people don’t properly sweat. Sweating is one of body’s ways of releasing toxins, which is an important function for optimal health.

Calorie reduction

Whilst a sauna is not for instant weight loss, regular exposure to hot steam improves the body’s circulation, ensuring all systems are operating at their optimum levels.

Improves mood

Just like a massage, whether traditional or using hot stones, a sauna is a calming experience that almost instantly lifts your mood, as you are removed from the demands and stresses of every day life.

Author: Philip Andrew

A writer and teacher who enjoys lazing around and building winter nests out of duvets. “Most are too itchy. You’ve got to be picky.” His goal is to create a complete home spa for 24/7 access to rest and relaxation. Next on the agenda: a barrel sauna for the garden. Connect with Philip on Twitter @completehomespa.