Finns have always been aware of the health benefits of sauna bathing, which have now gained interest around the world.

“People are more stressed than ever. Sauna counterbalances the busy life. It’s not even possible to take your cellphone with you when entering a sauna, as the device cannot handle the heat and humidity. When you go to sauna, you can relax, listen to yourself and enjoy,” says Sauna from Finland’s Executive Manager Carita Harju smiling.

Finnish sauna culture is unique

In Finland, many customers of public saunas and renters of summer cottages visit sauna for the first time ever. It’s important to give instructions for the complete experience, for example ice swimming.

“Sauna, forest, and ice swimming are trending globally, and we Finns are privileged to provide sauna experiences. What we consider normal, such as walking barefoot in the nature, is something completely new to others. Even a short walk on a path next to a summer cottage can be a big and memorable experience when one feels all the grass, rocks and pine cones against their sole,” says Harju.

In addition unhurridness, listening your own body freely, living without schedules, and creating a pleasurable amount of heat by throwing water on the sauna stove (löyly) are closely related to the Finnish sauna experience. Finnish sauna culture is also permissive, and nakedness is not a requirement for sauna bathing.

“Permissiveness makes the sauna experience safe and relaxing. In Finland nobody goes around checking that everyone’s naked and that the feet don’t touch the sauna benches,” Harju continues.

Awaken your senses and enjoy!

You don’t want to overheat your sauna.

If all the surfaces are already hot when you enter the sauna, it easily leads to an uncomfortable feeling. Many think that 65-70 celcius degrees is enough. It allows to enjoy the temperature changes löyly creates,” says Harju.

You can also go deeper into the sauna experience by feeding your senses. For example an electric sauna experience can be enhanced by infusing a grounded birch leaf bag in the löyly water.

“You can listen to your feelings in the sauna by observing how the elements of water, fire, rock, and wood are present in the moment. Sauna is a dim environment, so all the senses and body awareness are emphasized. Listen to your body and ask yourself how are you right now,” Harju recommends.

Let your body tell you:
  • How does it feel in your body when it meets the heat of the sauna?
  • How does the touch of the wooden benches and linen bench covers feel on your skin?
  • Do you notice any tightness in your muscles?
  • Do you need some gentle stretching?
  • Does the sauna smell clean?
  • Do the scents that you added to the löyly water intensify?
  • What kind of lighting does the sauna have?
  • What does it sound like in the sauna?
  • Does the fire crackle in sauna stove?
  • What kind of a sound does throwing water on the hot stones create?
  • Do you hear birds chirping or waves rippling?

The article has been translated to English from the Finnish version published in Piha ja Mökki magazine on 28/03/2020. Original article written by Anna Kuronen.

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