Hot, sweaty, intense but relaxing. No, this isn’t a review of a steamy romance novel, rather, four words that best describe the Aufguss infusion ritual. Aufguss (German for “infusion”) is a Finnish treatment of heated bliss and aromatherapy. If you are seeking the ultimate sauna experience, you will only find it at one place: Nordik Spa-Nature, America’s largest day spa located in Old Chelsea, Quebec.
Take a seat
Aufguss takes place in Nordik’s Finlandia dry sauna. Pick your seat on one of the three levels of wooden benches. But beware; seating on the top level puts you in the hottest spot. And by hot, I mean insanely hot. Hint: Ice is available pre-treatment to avoid overheating.
The Aufguss ritual
A trained Aufguss Sauna Meister begins the ultra sensory experience by placing balls of shaved ice on the stones to create vapor. Then, water enriched with essential oils is poured onto the rocks. The room instantly gets noticeably hotter. Beads of sweat trickle down your spine. Any spot where two body parts connect quickly become slippery.
Aufguss is a sensual therapy that includes sight, sense and feel – instrumental music accompanies the Meister’s choreographed routine. Think ‘Game of Thrones’ type intensity.
As the Meister circles the room using a large towel to agitate and move the hot air and aroma throughout, he/she pauses momentarily to fan and push the heat section by section directly toward spa devotees.
Inhale and relax
Take a deep breath in; waves of intense heat and invigorating scents like lavender or lemongrass fill the air. The combination of scent and heat energize you from within. Sweating profusely, toxins pour out. It is easy to get caught in the experience and recommended — try closing your eyes and immerse yourself in the moment.
You quickly recognize these ten minutes are unlike any other sauna experience you have ever had.
The ritual is repeated three times and lasts up to ten minutes. Any longer and you may just leave a puddle of melted ecstasy behind. Exiting the dry sauna you are drenched and insanely relaxed, but exhilarated and refreshed from the unique experience.
Head for the cold
After a good sweat in the sauna it’s time for a dip in the cold pool – it has never felt so good. This helps your body temperature acclimate back to normal. According to Nordik Spa-Nature, three steps for are encouraged upon your arrival: Hot, cold, relax. Repeat. You leave feeling as if your skin has shed a layer.
Where you will find Aufguss: Nordik Spa-Nature, located in Old Chelsea, Quebec
*Though I was hosted by Tourisme Outaouais and Nordik Spa-Nature in 2013 (thank you to both!), the above words describing this experience are genuinely my own.
**All images courtesy of Norkik Spa-Nature.