Prior to this month, I don't think I'd stepped inside a sauna for close to two decades. Back in the late '80s, my family made an epic drive from Newfoundland, Canada, to Middle Tennessee, and I remember us stopping at a couple of hotels up north that offered such amenities.
When you're 7, however, you're not really in a position to appreciate the finer qualities of a good lengthy sweat. Three minutes of squirming and pouring too much water on the stones is generally enough to satisfy your hyperactive curiosity (or get you kicked out, whichever comes first).
So the next 20 years passed by relatively sauna-free for me. After all, most of that time was spent in the American South. But a few weeks ago, the masterminds at HowStuffWorks.com assigned me a couple of articles on saunas (How Saunas Work and 5 Strangest Saunas) and all of this changed.