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As you walk in the sauna you feel the heat. The heat surrounds you completely, but it is not oppressive. The smell is of warm wood, and maybe, if your host has placed them on the stove, of herbs like mint, or eucalyptus, or even sage.
Once inside the sauna, you make your way to the bench and sit down on your towel. You breathe in and feel the dry heat inside of your nose and the heat washes over you like the ocean. You sit quietly and listen to the electric hum of the stove switching on and off (or the fire if you’re so lucky) and the singing of the rocks as they expand and contract with the heat.
As you do so, you feel the sweat begin. First its a few beads on your upper lip. Then you feel your forehead getting moist. Your pulse begins to quicken, like you’ve worked hard, though you’re sitting still. The next thing you know your whole body is wet as all your pores open and your body begins to release its pent-up toxins. The sweat feels good as it cools and purifies your body. It surprises you that in the sauna, your sweat doesn’t smell.
Now you use your hands to wipe the water that is pouring out of your body with your hands. You wipe your face with a towel and reach for the ladle in the bucket of water sitting next to you. You fill it with water and ladle it on the hot rocks of the stove. You hear a snap as the cold water hits the hot rocks and immediately it turns to steam, and a slow hiss as the rest evaporates.
You sit back down and for a moment, it’s as before, then the wave of steam washes over you. Feels hotter in the sauna now. It prickles your skin. You close your eyes to protect them, and feel it almost scorching the inside of your nose as you breathe it in. It’s a little hard to breathe, and it’s hotter than you’ve ever felt before.
You want to run out, but you force yourself to stay in the sauna. Your pulse is faster now, like you’ve run a race. The heat is all around you. You’ve never felt this hot before and the sweat is pouring off you like a river. You promise yourself thirty more seconds, and count it down. Where is all this sweat coming from? Is this what hell feels like? These thoughts race through your mind, then your time is up.
You quickly stand up, grab your towel and walk out the door of the sauna. As you cross through the door you breathe deep, as if for the first time, letting the cool air fill your lungs. You feel the heat radiating from your skin as you stand there. The sweat seems to have stopped and your pulse is returning to normal.
After a minute or two, you rinse yourself off under the shower and towel off. You realize that the sweat hasn’t stopped. It’s still coming, slowly, but it feels good. The warmth of the sauna is still inside of you. Every square inch of your skin feels alive.
You cool down a little longer, take a deep drink of water, and reflect back on your experience. You feel calmer. More at peace. Separated from the petty things that were bothering you before you got here. You think about the heat some more. It was hot in the sauna, but it wasn’t Hell. It was good.
You’re cool now, and the sweat seems to have stopped.
So you stand up, and walk back into the sauna, drinking in the heat as you walk through the door.
We originally posted this as an answer on Yahoo Answers. We felt like sharing it here.