Authentic Finnish sauna experience is multisensorial and comprehensive. To be one of the best sauna experiences in the world, it has to meet certain criteria.
We at Sauna from Finland have studied different kinds of Finnish sauna experiences, sauna services, and customers journeys for years to find out what makes the sauna experience great, memorable, and of high-quality. As an result, we created eight (8) Core Values of the Authentic Finnish Sauna Experience, which have to be present throughout the complete experience—before, during, and after the sauna.
The Core Values define specific criteria for different kinds of sauna experiences which have been divided into four categories: 1) Sauna URBAN, 2) Sauna NATURE & GARDEN, 3) Sauna SPA, and 4) Sauna UNIQUE. The criteria helps sauna service providers to build and develop sauna experiences to meet high standards of the best sauna experience in the world. If the sauna experience meets the criteria, Authentic Finnish Sauna Experience Quality Certificate can be granted. Read more.
Are these Core Values present in your Finnish sauna experience?
Finnish sauna experience is authentic. The sauna is built according to Finnish sauna building standards (read more here) and includes parts and equipment from Finland. All the elements of Finnish sauna are present in the experience: living fire, stone, sauna stove, water, and löyly (the steam that evaporates from the heated stones on the stove).
Authenticity doesn’t mean that the saunas should be old and traditional. Authentic Finnish sauna experience can also be modern and trendy, and traditions can be implemented in a imaginative way to a new kind of sauna experience.
Multisensorial Finnish sauna experience considers all the five senses, vision, smell, touch, taste, and hearing, as part of the entirety. Every sensory perception is an important part of the sauna bathing, as they work together to create a memorable sauna experience.
People prefer different kinds of sense experiences. A high-quality sauna experience takes into account different kinds of preferences and needs. Some enjoy the smell of birch in the sauna room, other appreciates indulging a after-sauna snack. It’s important to create a balance between the senses for the sauna bathing to be as relaxing as possible.
3. PRESENCE & RELAXATION
Presence and relaxation refer to one’s possibility to forget the time, worries, and the surrounding world when sauna bathing. Sauna experience has to be quiet, calm, and pleasant for the stress levels to decrease. To relax is to find balance—to stop for a moment and connect with yourself.
Leave your phone behind well before sauna bathing and focus on the upcoming moment. Pamper yourself with sauna treatments, whisking, or sauna yoga. Focus on the moment at hand and let your thoughts come and go.
4. WELLBEING & HEALTH
Finnish sauna experience is good for both your body and mind. Above all, sauna bathing is taking care of oneself. The various, scientifically proven health benefits of Finnish sauna make it an excellent part of a healthy lifestyle.
Creating a sauna experience that promotes wellbeing and health takes many aspects into account. For a start, the sauna experience has to be safe and clean. The sauna has to be built correctly (e.g. proper ventilation and insulation) and the parts used have to be of high-quality.
It’s important to emphasize that the health benefits are reached by regular sauna bathing that’s conducted by listening to body’s signals. Sauna shouldn’t be a forced practice but a balancing one.
How does the sauna experience differ from everyday life? Creating contrast in the sauna experience means that going to sauna offers something unique, outstanding, and new to the bather. Contrast adds additional value to sauna services and helps to stand out from competitors. Our studies have found out that the customer will remember and return to the sauna experience if it differs remarkably from their everyday life and offers something positively surprising.
Stories, real-life interaction, and unique details add contrast to the sauna experience. The sauna might have extra wide benches or you might offer the customers beautifully packed cosmetics to use after the sauna. The staff is friendly and service personalized for that specific sauna and customer.
Remember that contrast differs from sauna bather to another. An experienced sauna goer needs something different than a person that visits sauna for the first time.
An enjoyable sauna experience is clean and hygienic from beginning to end. The air should smell good and fresh in the dressing rooms, washing rooms, sauna, and cooling down areas. Unpleasant smells and dirty surfaces aren’t just off-putting but also unsafe. Slimy floor creates a risk of slipping and mold in the sauna walls makes its way to bather’s airway.
Multiple customer reviews tell a clear story: cleanliness is the most important thing that the customers notice when they enter the sauna area. The saunas might be modern and of high-quality, but poor hygiene level ruins the whole experience from the start. Humidity creates an ideal substrate for bacteria.
Clean the sauna area regularly and let the rooms dry in between uses. Instruct the sauna bathers to leave their shoes behind before going to the dressing room to avoid transferring dirt around. Remember bench covers and remind sauna goers about showering before moving from sauna to the pool area.
Sauna experience can only be successful if it’s safe. Safe sauna environment isn’t necessary the first thing that the sauna bather notices, but sliding while taking a shower or burning yourself by accidentally touching the sauna stove certainly ruin the whole experience and might even damage the perception of sauna bathing overall. It’s not hard to ensure the safety of the sauna experience—you just have to know what to consider.
Remember to instruct sauna bathers to safe sauna experience (prefer DO’s over DON’Ts—scaring the customer wont make the experience pleasurable). Maintain the sauna area regularly and check that nothing’s broken. Add handrails and safety rails to the sauna room. Avoid the risk of sliding but choosing non-slippery materials or adding plastic mats that increase traction.
Authentic Finnish sauna experience is responsible. It takes into account what kind of economical, environmental, and social impact the sauna experience has. Finnish sauna experience doesn’t harm the nature and welcomes everyone to enjoy sauna bathing.
Ecological sauna experience aims to save and use energy, natural resources and materials wisely. Economically sustainable sauna experience prefers services and products produced locally and supports co-operation between different operators. Sauna owners can invite sauna therapists to give treatments to sauna bathers and hereby support the therapist’s livelihood too. Socially responsible sauna experience is available for everyone regardless of gender, social status, or abilities.