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Aufguss:the ritual in sauna

This site was born from the passion of a group of friends for Aufguss. Aufguss (or “gettata di vapore” – “Steam blow”) for some is simply a job, for others an interest and for other more a very pleasant hobby. What is for certain is that somehow Aufguss has changed our lives, hence the desire to promote and disseminate the culture of this ritual still unknown and little appreciated in most of Italy and other countries.

 

// Aufguss //

What is Aufguss

The Aufguss (also called "gettata di vapore" – “Steam blow” in Italy ) is a wellness / purification / entertainment ritual which is performed in the sauna , either by an employee of the wellness-center or by an authorized guest called aufgussmeister (Steam Master).

In short, the rite involves pouring water mixed with essential oils on the hot stones of the sauna stove. The water, containing particles of essential oil, vaporizes once in contact with the stones and spreads throughout the sauna. The Aufgussmeister directs the hot and scented steam towards the bathers, using the different rhythmical movements of a towel and sometimes accompanied by music background, creating an intense and enjoyable multi-sensory experience.

There are many types of Aufguss, which are discussed in detail in the appropriate section of this site. However, what is certain is that this ritual is increasingly gaining a central position in the offer of wellness-packages.

Some history

The origin of sauna is lost in the mists of time. Sauna, how we know it, comes from the tradition of the Northern peoples and in particular the Finnish people for which sauna has a central social role. ( cfr Wikipedia).

Regarding the Aufguss specifically, according to the most common way of thinking, this has its origins from the need to replace the air inside the sauna. In fact, being the sauna an enclosed space where people undergo intensive sweating, there is the need to introduce fresh air from outside to re-oxygenate and rebalance the environment. This occurs usually every hour by opening the doors and windows of the sauna. In order to restore temperature and humidity to correct values in the shortest time possible, people started to pour water on the hot stones of the sauna stove and to distribute the vapor so generated by rotating a towel …this was the ancestor of modern Aufguss.

This bodily movement, particularly in the Nordic and German-speaking regions, has slowly grown from being a simple act aimed at maintaining a healthy environment to becoming a more complex and richer ritual. It first started with the addition of essential oils to impart a pleasant fragrance to the environment in a natural way, passing on to the use of snow and ice which allows a greater control in the production of steam and a lower risk of burning the essences on the hot stones.

The movement of the towel became in time a more and more refined gesture going from very simple movements such as “the helicopter” and the "wood cutter" (see the video tutorial for further details) to more complex, harmonious and in some cases spectacular ones. The last steps in the evolution of the Aufguss are characterized by the introduction of music and, in case of the so-called "Aufguss-show", by developing the Aufguss around a central theme focusing on coordinating various aspects such as choreography, music, essences etc ...

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The scope

Taking part in the Aufguss ritual allows you to highly enjoy the numerous beneficial effects of the sauna. Below we will list a few

Let's start with the positive effects of heatwhich, first of all provides a feeling of well-being due to the increase in endorphins and relieves possible muscle tension. Moreover, in the case of regular attendance, it regulates blood pressure and the consequent narrowing and dilation of blood vessels due to the hot/cold contrast is a rather considerable workout for the fibers of the artery walls. There is also to say that, as a natural reaction to the increase of the temperature in the environment the body starts sweating (during the Aufguss sweating occurs sooner than during a traditional sauna), therefore it is important to know that you can lose up to one and a half liters of water and, at the same time, remove from the body all the toxins accumulated in every day activities.

Another aspect of the sauna and in particular of the Aufguss is the use of essential oils, which are a very articulate and interesting field of study (aromatherapy). Considering the purpose of our website and the vastness of the subject, let’s see briefly explain what they are and how they can be of help.

Essential oils are the aromatic and volatile constituent of plants, they contain substances with highly active properties on our physiology. Some experts argue that they contain all the vital force of the plant. What is certain is that, thanks to them, the plants attract pollinating insects and can defend themselves from predators as well as bacteria, viruses or fungi. Essential oils can be extracted from all parts of the plant and have different effects on humans. According to the area of origin of the plant the essential oil is classified by its Note, which usually conveys its characteristics:

Essential oils that are classified as Base Notes are extracted from roots, stem, wood and resins. They are normally very heavy and their fragrance is very intense and will be present for a long time. They act mainly on body level and are relaxing, rebalancing and balsamic in nature. Examples of Base Notes are: Pine, Incense, Cypress, Sandalwood, Vetiver.

Essential oils of the heart are mainly extracted from leaves and certain flowers (although some plants, such as mint or eucalyptus, generate oils of the head). They are on average volatile oils acting primarily on an emotional level, with harmonizing and sensual effects. They are usually the most valuable and expensive oils also because of the huge amount of flowers needed to produce them (1 ml of 100% pure essential oil of Damask Rose can cost from 30 to 50 Euros (prices in 2014), depending on the quality). Oils of the heart, are for example: Rose, Jasmine, Chamomile, Neroli, Lavender.

Oils classified as Top Notes are highly volatile and refreshing and they are derived from fruits and usually act on a spiritual and mental level. They have a very strong and intense effect and fragrance but in turn are not very long lasting. Top Notes are for example: Orange, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Mint.

It is extremely important to use natural oils, 100% pure, preferably deriving from organic cultivations. In fact, reconstructed or fractionated essential oils do not contain the complex mixture of active ingredients of the plants, thus, resulting in a less balanced and certainly less effective oil which can in some cases lead to an allergic reaction of our organism, even worse with syntetic perfumes

As we have seen, the Aufguss leads to a number of beneficial effects at all ages. It is, however, important to emphasize that during a steam blow our body is subject to strong stress caused by the heat sent to it. The heat causes the blood pressure to decrease and the heartbeat to increase intensely, comparable to an average sport activity, even if it takes place "at rest" (i.e. without actual physical effort). The cooling phase has the opposite effect: slowing down of the heart rate and a corresponding rise in blood pressure.

This “workout” activity of our cardio vascular system has a greatly beneficial effect, however, it is important to take into consideration a few aspects when taking part in an Aufguss:

- in the presence of disease (of any type, but especially heart disease) or in case of high/low blood pressure consult your doctor before undergoing intense sauna sessions;

- avoid sudden and quick movements at the end of the Aufguss, which could cause a further drop in pressure and fainting;

- do not use the sauna under the influence of alcohol or drugs (which limit the effectiveness of our thermoregulatory mechanisms);

- avoid endurance or overexertion, if you feel the need to get out of the sauna DO SO without any hesitation or fear of disturbing the Aufguss session, the Aufgussmeister will also be grateful to you;

- adequately replenish fluids lost through sweating;

- always cool down after each Aufguss session, preferably adjust body temperature gradually. If cold shower or bath are preferred, always start from feet and legs, and move upwards leaving head and heart for last.

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Types of Aufguss

In time and with the increase in the number of Aufgussmeister, different types of Aufguss have gradually developed throughout the various Wellness-centers. Please find them listed here below

Type 1 - Classic Aufguss

This is the most traditional ritual in which the main goal is the relaxation of the participants which have the possibility to focus on the natural sounds that accompany the Aufguss: the sizzling of ice and water vaporizing on the hot stones, the sound of the towel flapping in the various movements of the steaming blow, the small sounds of settling benches and woods of the sauna, the sighs of satisfaction of the participants, pure poetry. Usually in this type of ritual the most common essential oils are used (various kinds of pine trees, lavender, mint and citrus often unchanged from round to round) accompanied by the most classic, natural and effective movements, trying to move as much hot air as possible towards the participants and trying to maintain an increasing progression of the intensity of the heat. The Classic Aufguss is the most appreciated by the "purists" of the steam blow and by all of those who do not particularly appreciate the “show” aspect of this ritual.

Type 2 - Standard Aufguss

This is the type of Aufguss nowadays mostly performed. Basically, it is a variation of the Classic Aufguss with the addition of musical background. According to the opinion of many, music helps go through the Aufguss more easily in all its length, "distracting" the participants from the increasing heat and making the overall experience more enjoyable. During this type of Aufguss classical movements are normally used, however other movements can also be introduced, which might be less effective in terms of air moved, but more choreographic. Different types of essential oils can be used, perhaps even the most peculiar and most sought-after ones, better if with an increasing progression (first base notes, then those of the heart and finally those of the head) that follows the gradual increase of the feeling of warmth.

Type 3 - Steam Bath Aufguss

Also the steam bath lends itself to ventilation, even if, in this case, neither water nor ice are used since the environment is already dense with humidity. Normally, during the steam bath, in place of the aromatherapy represented by the essences, different possible treatments for the body can be proposed.

The most common are:

* peeling: which can be made with sugar or salt flavored with essential oils and enriched with nourishing oils for the skin (e.g., almond oil or jojoba)

* Face mask

* Body mask

…there is really no limit to the imagination.

Type 4 - Meditative Aufguss

This type of Aufguss can be considered a variant of the Standard Aufguss, the scope of the steam blow is to promote relaxation, concentration and the spiritual experience of the participants. Usually this type of Aufguss is contaminated by aspects of shamanic rituals, most often the music background is made up of basic, tribal, mantra sounds or is replaced by instruments played directly in the sauna (Tibetan bells, drums, cymbals, etc.). Other characteristics are the very often prolonged duration of the steam blow (which can last even 30/40 minutes thanks to brief introductions of cold air from the outside), the use of simple and repetitive movements of the towel, the use of essences that recall the Oriental tradition (frankincense, sandalwood, ..) or help to enhance concentration (citrus or top notes in general).

Type 5 - Show/highlight Aufguss

This type of Aufguss represents the utmost spectacularisation of the ritual, most definitely intended for the entertainment of the participants rather than for their relaxation and for this reason, although it is increasingly requested and is becoming more and more popular in the programs of many of the most renowned wellness-centres, it is not particularly appreciated (not to say openly opposed) by the guests and the Aufgussmeister who prefer more tradition-bound Aufguss which focus on the relaxation aspect. During an Aufguss-show more or less anything is allowed, from the use of complex ventilation techniques (more scenic although perhaps not as effective as traditional ones) to that of ventilation tools different from the towel, to the use of choreography or costumes and of lights and special effects. Usually the Aufguss-show develop around a theme/story and the whole ritual should be made consistent with the theme. The Aufguss-shows are also (and especially) proposed in Aufguss competitions.

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// The wellness centres //

Introduction

In this section you will find a list of wellness-centers where the ritual of Aufguss is carried out.

In line with the spirit of this website, we will refrain from any judgment on the line followed by the wellness-center in terms of the variety of Aufguss carried out. Our intention is to be as objective as possible in providing the information on where you can enjoy this beautiful ritual.

This is also the reason why it is not possible to enter personally the description of a wellness-center, but we ask you to send it to us so that we can uniform the tone and content to all the others listed on our website.

Would you like to see your wellness-center in this section? Now you can! Send an email to the following address, or go to the contact section to find out how.

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List of Wellness-Centers

This section is still under construction, come back again to find out what is new!

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// Aufgussmeister //

Introduction

This section is still under construction, come back again to find out what is new!

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Lista Maestri

This section is still under construction, come back again to find out what is new!

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//Video Tutorial //

Intro

Here you can find a collection of different Aufguss movements. In this virtual place the Aufgussmeisters of different experience/generation/origin exchange their techniques and “tricks”.

Our videos on youtube are divided into two categories. You will find the "Tutorial" section where the different Aufguss techniques are shown going from basic to more complicated and spectacular movements and paying particular attention to the potentially more challenging moves. The “Video Aufguss” section, instead, is dedicated to videos showing real Aufguss performances.

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Tutorial

The videos in this section are divided into:

  • Basic Movements
  • Advanced and Show Movements

Each video indicates the name of the movement, the degree of difficulty and the quantity of air moved and shows the size of the towel or towels used. The video then gives a clear demonstration of the movement by making it as fluid and efficient as possible. In order to help better understand how the movements are performed, there is a particular “focus” on the more difficult moves. While watching these videos, you might happen to recognize some or all of the more or less well-known Aufgussmeister performing. We have chosen not to reveal their names nor the wellness-center in which they perform because we want to focus the attention exclusively on the techniques proposed.

You can also contribute to this collection! Send an email to the following address to find out how

Helicopter

  • Type: Basic Movements
  • Difficulty:
  • Moved Air:
  • Show:

The Helicopter is one of the basic movements of the Aufguss and it is usually performed right after pouring water and ice on the stove to allow for a regular distribution of steam inside the sauna .

The movement is quite simple and it consists in rotating the towel, folded in half, by holding it with one hand by its two corners. The speed of rotation, which can eventually be accompanied by a swing of the wrist, allows for a particularly efficient movement.

Starting from the helicopter, it is possible to fluidly switch to the Flag: double and single movement. This is carried out by keeping the two flaps of the towel separated during the movement (eventually using a finger to help). The free hand is subsequently brought towards the hand that is engaged in the rotation and with one fluid movement, it grabs one of the two flaps of the towel while opening the arms and switching to the flag movement.

GO TO THE VIDEO

Parachute

  • Type: Basic Movements
  • Difficulty:
  • Moved air:
  • Show:

The Parachute, also known as Pala, is one of the basic movements of the Aufguss and it is usually used during a turn to move downwards the warm air that is located on the upper part of the sauna-cabin.

The movement consists in bringing the towel, folded in half, behind the body. The arms move quickly above the ahead and then in front of the body. Once above the head and as they start the downward movement, the arms open apart, straightening the towel and continuing their descent. The towel so opened, moved from top to bottom, assures the movement of a lot of warm air. Once the descent phase has been completed, the arms are then folded and positioned this way behind your back.

It is very important that the movement is fluid and without any interruptions particularly when the arms are brought behind the back. This way the towel will not touch the shoulder nor the back of the Aufgussmeister both wet due to intense sweating.

GO TO THE VIDEO

The Flag

  • Type: Basic Movements
  • Difficulty:
  • Moved air:
  • Show:

The Flag: Double and Single is one of the basic movements of the Aufguss. It represents one of the most used and efficient movements performed to move the air towards the guests taking part in the ritual.

The movement consists in keeping the towel, folded in half, in an almost vertical position. One arm is held vertically above the head while the other arm is lowered in order to keep the towel well open. With the arms so positioned, the towel is moved one side to the other of the body just like a flag moved by the wind.

The continuity of the movement can be ensured by maintaining the arms in a static position or inverting them vertically when the towel passes from left to right and vice versa.

GO TO THE VIDEO

The Comb

  • Type: Basic Movements
  • Difficulty:
  • Air:
  • Show:

The Comb is one of the basic movements of the Aufguss.

It consists in keeping the towel in a horizontal position, well open, with the upper flap at the height of the waist. By quickly bringing the arms forward, the towel conveys the less warmer air from the bottom to the top directing it towards the guests.

This allows to bring a little relief to people feeling hot along with opening the sauna door simultaneously, thus providing a pleasant sensation of freshness. This movement is not particularly indicated for the initial phases of a turn because it does not allow to efficiently distribute the hot steam coming from the stove and rich in essences.

A more elaborated variant of this movement starts from maintaining both arms joined together by one of the two sides of the body. Subsequently, the arms are spread open as the towel is brought forward, creating an effect very similar to that of the Parachute but reversed. This not only allows for a more elegant movement, but also avoids the towel from touching the legs wet with sweat.

GO TO THE VIDEO

The Helicopter: Variations

  • Type: Advanced Tutorial
  • Difficulty:
  • Air:
  • Show:

This video shows a few variations to the Helicopter Movement focusing more on show-oriented moves. The movement, however, is not overly spectacularized and can be used in our opinion in any type of Aufguss.

GO TO THE VIDEO

The Flag: Variations

  • Type: Advanced Tutorial
  • Difficulty:
  • Air:
  • Show:

This video shows a few variations to the Flag Movement focusing more on show-oriented moves. The movement, however, is not overly spectacularized and can be used in our opinion in most of the types of Aufguss, except for the classic and meditative ones.

GO TO THE VIDEO

Unfolding

  • Type: Advanced Tutorial
  • Difficulty:
  • Air:
  • Show:

The video shows how to fold and unfold a towel without any interruptions in the movement. The result is a very fluid and spectacular movement. We suggest to use it mainly in Show- and Highlight-Aufuss .

GO TO THE VIDEO

Japanese Snake

  • Type: Advanced Tutorial
  • Difficulty:
  • Air:
  • Show:

The Japanese Snake is an advanced move characterized by a high level of difficulty and very scenic. Given the nature of this movement it should be used sparingly and only in particular contexts (Aufguss-show or competitions) and should always be avoided in classic Aufguss and even more so in the meditative ones since it would be totally inappropriate.

The movement consists in maintaining two towels, of reduced size, rolled up on one another and partially overlapping in the central part. The towels so folded form a cylinder which is to be grabbed on the flaps of the overlapping section, taking care to use the two hands to hold both the edges of the towel and the cylinder together to keep it well closed. The hands must then start an alternating swinging movement so as to make with the two sides of the cylinder a sort of “eight”. This first part of the movement must be maintained for some time, always using the two hands to keep the flaps of the towels under control.

At a certain point the position of the hands changes releasing the cylinder and holding only the edges of the two towels, each in one hand. At the same time the arms are moved in a vertical and lateral direction, with a movement similar to that of a tennis "backhand". This allows the two towels to unwind and spread out one in each hand separately and in a continuous way it is now possible to move on to the double pizza movement (upright or inverted).

It is important to properly calibrate the size of the towels with respect to their features so that they are neither too small (they would not move enough air) nor too big (the pizza movement would be impossible to perform).

GO TO THE VIDEO

Super Eight

  • Type: Advanced Tutorial
  • Difficulty:
  • Air:
  • Show:

The Super Eight is an advanced move characterized by an extremely high level of difficulty and is very spectacular. Given the nature of this movement it should be used sparingly and only in particular contexts (Aufguss-show or competitions) and should always be avoided in classic Aufguss and even more so in the meditative ones since it would be totally inappropriate.

The movement consists in holding two towels, of reduced size, one in each hand grabbing the longer side of each edge at an approximate three quarter-length. The hands at this point start an eight-like movement, moving from one side to the other of the body alternately with the second hand “running after” the first one. This way the towels perform a "double eight" movement.

GO TO THE VIDEO

Mix

  • Type: demonstration

The video shows a series of movements made in sequence.

GO TO THE VIDEO
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//Who we are//

Who we are

This site was born from the passion of a group of friends for Aufguss. For some of us it is also a job, for others an interest and for other more a very pleasant hobby.

What is for certain is that somehow Aufguss has changed our lives, hence the desire to promote and disseminate the culture of this ritual still unknown and little appreciated in most of Italy and other countries.

Freccia

Scope

The scope of this website is to promote the culture of Aufguss through a portal where to provide all information available on the Internet along with demonstrative sessions for operators and curious visitors.

This site has no ambition of being a school (for the Aufgussmeister School refer to Scuola Aufgussmeister Cron 4) but in the intention of its creators, this site is to be intended as a useful tool and a place to exchange tips and techniques for those who already practice the Aufguss, but at the same time as an opportunity for those who want to learn more about this world. Our intention is to provide detailed information in order to know what kind of Aufguss exist and which are the wellness-centers where it is possible to take part in them without any kind of judgment on the different ways to perform them.

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//News and Events//

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Eventi

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// Contacts //

Contatti

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Partners

In this section all partners of Aufguss.it are listed.

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External Links

This section will provide a series of links to resources online useful to find information on Aufguss:

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