Lithuanian sauna is known for using a variety of different whisks. The most popular onces – birch and oak tree whisks. However, professional sauna masters for whisking are using different trees and plants. In the same way as carpenter uses different tools for making different woodworks, sauna masters use different whisks for different purposes. Whisks can be grouped in a number of categories:
- Aromatic whisks. Those whisks have particularly strong smell and in sauna are used for aromatherapy. Best smelling in sauna are bird-cherry tree, black current, dropwort, mint, lemon balm, lavender, pine whisks. Specific pleasant smell comes from birch, oak, maple whisks which have been previously frozen. Warmwood plant is making a specific pleasant smell.
- Steam chasing whisks. Managing steam flows in sauna can be done with any whisk or a towel. The best tool for mastering the steam flows in sauna are whisks with large leaves, those made of maple, oak, fern, fir, burdock and other branches.
- Whisks for whisking. Also referred to as “working whisks”, those whisks are used for whisking. Best for whisking are traditional birch and oak whisks, however maple, linded, hazel, and aspen are aslo suitable for whisking, as well as branches of other trees.
- Whisks for improving blood circulation. While whisking as such is greatly stimulating the blood circulation, there are particular whisks which boost blood circulation. Those are juniper and nettle whisks. Warning! One should use those whisks with caution. It is strongly recommended to consult professional sauna master on the use of blood circulation stimulating whisks. Expermantation with those whisks may lead to serious consequences.
- Massage whisks. For tender massage or wiping, soft whisks are used. Their leaves are fibrous and soft on the contact with skin. In most cases, birch, linden, willow or osier whisks are used. Wiping and many massage procedures can be performed using herbal whisks, too: milfoil, St. John’s wort, wormwood, tansy. When using herbal whisks, precaustions must be taken for allergic people.
- Auxiliary whisks. Can be any kind of whisks found in sauna. The purpose of (using) those whisks – give maximum comfort to a bathing person. For laying comfortably on the wooden sauna shelf during the whisking, aromatic soft whisk can be used as a pillow to be placed under head, legs, or arms. If a bathing person feels excessively hot during the whisking, cooled whisk can be placed on the person’s head to shelter off the heat.
This is only a glimpse into the sauna master’s chest. The amount of whisks does not necessarily correspond to the quality of whisking. It is also possible to have excellent whisking with only a single whisk. The quality of whisking depends on the professional competency of the sauna master.