10 facts of finnish sauna!
We have about 3,5 million saunas up here in Finland. So it is a small miracle if you manage to avoid every single one of them when you are visiting Finland. Here you have basic facts how to act and behave when it's your sauna time!
Sauna is good for everybody.
Only newborn babies and people with serious conditions like open wounds or heart problems should avoid sauna. Everybody else can enjoy it with no worries, and in Finland, you’re more than likely to.
Finnish sauna has nothing to do with sex...
and suggesting it will not score any points with Finns. It is a place for physical and mental cleansing. And believe it or not, but sometimes you can feel like sitting in a church in a public sauna! :]
Getting invited to a sauna is an honour.
If you have a reason for declining, fair enough, but it better be a good one! Bathing in a sauna is a bonding process! It is said that in Finland, more important decisions get made in saunas than in meetings.
aromatic fragrances and relaxing music have nothing to do with a traditional Finnish sauna. The old school saunas are dimly lit, there’s no music or smells except for fresh birch and natural tar.
Yes, Finns go to sauna in the nude...
even with strangers. Don’t worry – we’ve seen our fair share of naked human bodies and it’s not a “thing” for us! But if you can’t get over it, Finns will understand you wanting to wear a swimsuit or a towel.
In bigger groups, women and men go to sauna separately...
but families go together. When you are in a mixed group that is about to go to sauna, it is perfectly fine to ask people and discuss who should go with who.
A 'vasta' or a 'vihta'...
(the name depends on the region) is a bundle of fresh birch twigs that you gently whip yourself with. It sounds strange, but is really good for your skin - you feel the smootness afterwards!
There are no rules for how often you should throw more water on the stove.
Whenever you feel like another wave of steam, go for it. But do not try to show of how much water you can throw on the stones. You can't beat the Finns!
You will be sweating heavily in a sauna...
so have a swim and drink plenty of water! But beer and cider is what Finns enjoy the most. Roasting sausages either on open fire or in tin foil directly on the stove is another key part of the sauna experience.
There are no real rules when it comes to sauna, and the way it is done totally depends on the occasion.
The most important thing is to relax, socialise, have a couple of drinks and enjoy the life and the blissful post-sauna feeling!