REVIEW: What’s all the Aufguss about?

The word Aufguss was quite literally part of a foreign language to me as I gratefully accepted my first glass of sparkling prosecco from the attentive staff at the beautifully laid out Roof Top Garden and Spa at Rudding Park.

I was there to meet Malaysian born sauna meister Lay Pang who had travelled from his home in Copenhagen to share his knowledge of Aufguss as a brand new concept to the UK but more especially to Rudding Park.

As I relaxed in my freshly laundered robe while thinking it would be really useful if the Prosecco was in a permanently self filling glass, I was quite content as the warm sun offered solace to the possibility that the glass might not fill itself up. My moment of heaven was interrupted by the introduction to Pang.

Pang who is not only a sauna meister but has won competitions and awards for his sauna treatments went on to explain that Aufguss is a German word meaning the act of pouring something over something, and in this case we would think of it as sauna infusion.

Some experts believe the idea originally came from the natives of North America who sprinkled sage herbs over stones. Europeans and especially the Germans took this idea and developed it using oils to pour over the coals. There are two types of oils, one being essential oil and the other synthetic. According to the medical profession two are said to have a positive effect to the health. For example lavender oil is believed to relive migraines and headaches.

It was now time for me to experience Aufguss. As we made our way into the sauna, Pang laid balls of ice on the coals. As the ice melted, ylang-ylang oil was poured over the melting ice followed by ginger oil. Pang, who was suitably attired in his sauna suit, then proceeded to use a towel in a helicopter type movement above his head to send the waves of oil infused heat in the direction of each guest. Pang, a true entertainer then used various methods with the towel over the next few minutes to make sure every guest had the benefit of the strangely named but highly effective treatment. Ten minutes later as I relaxed in the heated infinity pool with the now miraculously self-filling glass of Prosecco I felt totally alive yet incredibly relaxed. Aufguss had gone from being an alien word to a term that represented a little piece of heaven right there in Harrogate. “Would you come back again to experience Aufguss?” asked Matthew the manager, “You try and stop me,” was my response.

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