A Finnish sauna is a type of traditional Finnish sauna that has been an integral part of Finnish culture for centuries. These saunas consist of a dry heat-inducing steam bath where one can relax and sweat in a dedicated sauna room.
Finnish saunas are typically small, wooden rooms heated by a wood stove or an electric heater. The preferred temperature ranges from 158 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit (70 to 100 degrees Celsius), and the preferred humidity ranges from 5% to 15%.
To begin a traditional Finnish sauna session, one typically changes into a bathrobe. It is common practice to take a shower or wash up before entering a sauna in order to get clean and get rid of any pore-clogging lotions or oils. For some, the sauna experience isn’t complete without a round of “vihta” or “vasta,” in which birch branches or leaves are used to strike the body or other participants. This practice may exfoliate the skin and stimulate blood flow.
The sauna in Finland plays a significant cultural and social role in addition to its health benefits. Many significant decisions have been made while unwinding with friends and family in the sauna. It is also considered rude not to offer your home sauna to guests when they come to visit.
Finnish Sauna Benefits
In a Finnish sauna, sauna-goers sit in the heated room and allow their bodies to sweat and detoxify. But beyond just sweating, the Finnish sauna offers a range of benefits that can improve your physical and mental health including the following:
- Detoxification: Sweating is one of the best ways to rid your body of toxins, and the Finnish sauna is an excellent way to do just that. As your body sweats, it flushes out impurities and leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
- Stress relief: Sauna therapy is a great way to reduce stress and promote relaxation. The heat of the sauna can help to calm your mind and body, reducing tension and promoting a sense of well-being.
- Improved circulation: When you spend time in a sauna, your heart rate increases and your blood vessels dilate, allowing for increased blood flow. This can help to improve circulation, which can be beneficial for a range of health conditions.
- Enhanced athletic performance: Spending time in a Finnish sauna can also help to improve athletic performance. By increasing blood flow, sauna therapy can help to reduce muscle soreness and improve muscle recovery time, allowing athletes to train harder and longer.
- Improved skin health: Sauna therapy can also be beneficial for your skin. The heat of the sauna can help to open up your pores, allowing for better absorption of skincare products and helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Finnish Sauna Etiquette
The Finnish sauna is more than just a spot to perspire and flush toxins out of your body; it’s a long-standing cultural practice that has been an integral part of Finnish culture for many years. To have an excellent Finnish sauna adventure, it’s crucial to acknowledge the propriety and cultural standards that come with this valued custom.
Here are some pointers to remember when visiting a Finnish sauna:
- Respect the sauna ambiance: The sauna is a place of calm and peace, so it’s crucial to consider other sauna-goers’ experiences. Avoid making too much noise when conversing and move gently and calmly.
- Always shower before entering the sauna: It’s typical to shower beforehand to make sure your body is clean and free of any lotions or oils that could cause pore blockage or strong odors. In Finland, it’s routine to use a soap specifically created for the sauna that may enhance the sauna experience.
- In the Finnish sauna, it is expected that a towel or sheet be worn to conceal the body. This convention extends beyond modesty to encompass the absorption of perspiration, which promotes sanitation and cleanliness within the sauna. However, in certain areas or saunas, the towels might be removed and the nude sauna experience is expected.
Best 1-2 Person Option: Dynamic Barcelona Infrared Sauna
The Dynamic Barcelona infrared sauna can accommodate up to two people comfortably while being able to fit in any room. It is made from high-quality Canadian Hemlock wood and looks fantastic. The sauna also comes with a built-in sound system, LED lighting, and comfortable seating for relaxation benefits. With a price of only $1,799, it’s a great option for almost all budgets and fits great as a basement sauna.
Best 3-Person Option: Maxxus Bellevue Infrared Sauna
The Maxxus Bellevue sauna kit is an infrared sauna that can accommodate up to four people but is built for three. It features six carbon heating panels and a built-in sound system with MP3/Auxiliary audio inputs. The sauna is made from high-quality Canadian Hemlock wood and has a digital control panel for easy temperature adjustments.
Best Traditional Option: Golden Designs Sundsvall Traditional Indoor Sauna
The Golden Designs Sundsvall is a sauna that can accommodate up to two people and starts at $4,999. It features a traditional steam sauna design with a 4kW heater and natural Canadian Cedar construction. The sauna also has a built-in sound system, LED lighting, and a tempered glass door for added durability and safety.
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