All about the Finland Sauna
The sauna is an integral part of Finnish culture. It has been around for hundreds of years. Sauna is also the only word deriving from the Finnish language that has become part of the world’s vocabulary. You can find a sauna in almost every private dwelling. Even some offices and of course, on the shores of lakes that are part of the summerhouses.
Saunas in Finland have such a wide variety of uses. Even business meetings and transactions are done in there, and not in a boardroom. It’s a place to hold serious discussions, relax or even ease childbirth.
I was always joking, Why sweat in a box, when you can step outside and sweat to your heart’s desire?
Personally, until I came to Finland, I occasionally used the electric sauna located in the public swimming complex. I found this experience unpleasant and too hot for the Australian climate. I was always joking, Why sweat in a box, when you can step outside and sweat to your heart’s desire? However in Finland, the sauna is a much more personal and enjoyable experience.
So far I have used a wood-fired sauna that uses logs to burn, and then on top of the stove, there are rocks that heat up. To heat the room more, you use water that is thrown on the rocks, which creates steam that heats up the room. Usually the sauna is heated to 80 degrees or higher.
Before using the sauna, you get undressed and take a shower. Then, you take a towel to sit on while in the sauna. Most Finns are naked in the sauna, and men and women have separate saunas, or if it’s public sauna, sometimes it’s mixed sexes. This can be a bit uncomfortable for a foreigner because at most saunas overseas you need to wear something like a swimsuit.
Most Finns are naked in the sauna, and men and women have separate saunas, or if it’s public sauna, sometimes it’s mixed sexes.
However, for most Finns, there is nothing sexual about being naked in the sauna, and wearing clothes is seen as a bit strange. You can use a towel if you want to cover up, and it is also acceptable to refuse having a sauna if you are uncomfortable with the idea of doing it, or it will cause too much inconvenience afterwards.
At first, I had to get used to the heat of the sauna as I found the temperature too hot and the steam a bit choking, but after a few minutes, I relaxed and enjoyed the experience. It is recommended that you stay in the sauna at least until you sweat so that you get rid of any impurities in your body.
Especially, as the temperature is cooling down and winter is approaching at a rapid pace, the sauna is a welcome part of my evening; where I can relax after a busy day, warm up my bones and talk.
When visiting Finland, I would thoroughly recommend to any travelers to give the sauna a try. See if it’s something that they enjoy, too.
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Have you traveled to Finland? What were your impressions? Email us at [email protected] for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you. Top image by Pixabay.