Get a whiff of how to tackle an aufguss sauna in Europe

Get a whiff of that? It’s not teen spirit, it’s German ingenuity. Bashful? Well, most Americans are, especially when they walk into a nice “clean” sauna only to find that clothing is not optional, rather, discouraged. A rather large “no bathing suits” sign can be discovered upon entering the  sauna, and if the aufgiesser sees you sans nude attire, he just may send you out, you clothed fool! Welcome to the European Sauna. It is a whole new experience, and one, if you’re not too prude, just may satisfy your relaxation bone.

Have I lost you yet? Well, let me give you something that may reel you back in. How do you feel about chocolate aromatherapy? Imagine a hot heat hitting your face followed by the smell of swimming in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Now, I see I have your attention. While the thought of nude people covered in chocolate may sound disgusting, it’s okay; it’s white chocolate paste, no worries. The chocolate room is one of the many “experiences” you can acquire in and around the spa when you choose to experience an aufguss sauna. And if you are a young guy getting your hopes up, stop. It’s just not like that at all! In fact, no one really even looks at anyone else. It’s really more of a medical wellness thing. No perves allowed.

The German spa has everything to offer you. From the sauna to the steam room to Jacuzzis, to pools to swim indoors and outdoors, there really is something for everyone. While most areas are clothing optional, if you feel a bit shy, you can wrap yourself in a nice fluffy white towel. (Hint to girls: bring two towels. One can cover you and the other you can put underneath you).

Upon entering the spa, guests receive a nice trendy, watch-looking, plastic wrist band. No, you can’t tell time with it and no, you can’t keep it, but it will be your device that decides how much you pay for your birthday suit adventure depending upon how much time you spend there. Prices vary per spa and often Groupons can give you the all-day experience at a lower price. Once in, you can visit your men’s or women’s locker room to change into something, well, more comfortable. And yes, you can wear your bathing suit around the spa (in most – not all). You can get a massage for an additional fee, but you may find that the best use of your time is to just hang out in the many pools, hot springs, saunas, and steam rooms around the area. In fact, many have hot mineral springs that are fantastic for your skin.

You will want to ask for a schedule for the aufguss. There is something special about them that you simply must experience. Sure, you can walk into any of the many saunas any time for a real heat up, but the thing to do is to find the schedule to experience a real aufgiesser’s work. What is an aufgiesser? Simply this: a man (don’t worry, he wears a towel to cover his nether regions) or woman who sprinkles magical scents on the hot rocks in the sauna. Sometimes he may have some singing bowls to rub to make some cool soothing noises. Sometimes he will have a fan. Other times, he will use a towel. He pours a secret solution of smells and therapeutic oils onto the hot stones. Usually there is particular scent in the solution. It may be eucalyptus, chocolate, or other herbal concoctions. He then whiffs and pushes the extra hot air and scent IN YOUR FACE. Yep, the uber scalding smell is wafted straight into your nostrils and pores. Intense? Yes. Worth it? Oh yea.

One waft of the magic technique will relax you intensely. One word of caution though: beware how close you sit to the stones. Some of the sauna rooms have seating surrounding the hot stones and if you are too close to them, when he wafts the hot air it could feel so hot that you may wonder if you are being scalded alive. Be sure to take it at your own pace. If you feel like you are going to pass out, step outside for some cool, fresh mountain air. Each scheduled session usually lasts around  three to ten minutes.

Now, back to the chocolate therapy option. I did mention that you are covered in non-edible chocolate, right? Well, afterward you will need to rinse off. One very brave and daring thing to do would be to rinse with the cold water bucket. It is a very large bucket with a string. Pull the string, and you get the idea! Just try not to laugh when you hear grown men scream like small girls.

All in all, this experience is worth the taking. It just depends how opposed to nudity you are. While you never have to participate in the nudity, it WILL surround you, so, this experience is not for the faint of heart. However, if you can muster some courage and stick on some blinders, go for it! Let it all hang out! And remember, unless there are some fellow Americans in there, no one is looking anyway.

Recommended spas with aufguss saunas:

Domaine Thermal de Mondorf

Bad Fussing

To join in on the conversation on my Facebook page, click here! Or, feel free to send me an email at abroadwithabrain@gmail.com.

Follow me on Twitter@Caligirl7508.

© 2013 Elana Nichols, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior permissions from the author.

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