What is wacheln during infusion?

Ever heard of wacheln in the sauna? We explain what wacheln, is good for – and what physics has to do with it.
Infusion - The ritual in the sauna

Infusion – The ritual in the sauna

What is wacheln during the infusion? You probably haven’t even asked yourself this question yet. After all, the term comes from the technical language of sauna masters. We’ve done the research for you and we’ll tell you. We’ll also tell you what physics, which is unloved in school, has to do with a relaxing infusion in the sauna.

So that the hot air is distributed

A sauna infusion is all about hot air. It is supposed to heat up the room even more and make the guests sweat properly. But just pouring water on a hot stone doesn’t help much. It hisses violently and steam forms. But it travels at high speed towards the ceiling and simply fizzles out. Only those guests who are sitting directly next to the heater benefit from this.

That’s why the sauna master distributes the warm air in the room. This is where the so-called waving, better known as wagging, comes into play. Many techniques have been developed for this in recent years. What most of them have in common is that a towel is used. It goes without saying that this should be freshly washed. Otherwise, the sweat would rain down on the sauna guests.

This is how an infusion with wacheln works

For each infusion, water is first poured onto the stone. How much depends on how warm you want it to be. The general rule is: the more water is used, the hotter it will be later. After that, the sauna master begins to wilt the air. The simplest technique at this point is the propeller: the towel is moved in circular motions close to the ceiling. This creates a breeze that also heats up the guests on the lowest bench.

But this is by no means the end of a good infusion. Now the sauna master turns his attention to each guest individually. He walks down the rows, stops every few steps, stretches the towel tightly between his two hands – and fans the guests with hot air in jerky movements. It is important that each individual feels comfortable. If someone is too warm, the sauna master should move on.

And now comes physics

Physics was not your favorite subject at school? Never mind. We’ll explain to you quite simply why waving in the sauna makes it so hot. Three simple principles are important:

  1. The water on the hot stone creates steam. This settles on the skin of the guests and ensures that heat energy is released. It was created when the water on the hot stone evaporated and was stored in the molecules.

  2. The sweat cools the skin of the guests, but then rises again into the air as water vapor. Thus, it loses its cooling effect.

  3. All at once it becomes much hotter in the room, at least that’s how the guests feel. In reality, the thermometer does not climb.

This effect is further enhanced by the wacheln. Finally, the sauna master distributes the steam in the room in this way – and the water settles on the guests’ skin much more quickly. This process causes the insulating layer to fail for a brief moment. The effect: the guests start sweating profusely, even more steam is formed… and in the end, everyone enjoys the heat and looks forward to a cool bath.


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