“Step into a Finnish sauna and close the door to the rest of the world.”
Finland is a country with over 3 million saunas or one sauna for each household. They are settled in homes, institutions, hotels, sports centers, even the Parliament has its own. They are everywhere. Finns don’t consider them as a luxury but need, and the saunas are part of their everyday lives since ancient times.
They are a cultural phenomenon that is part of the Scandinavian history for thousands of years. It is a well-known story, whenever they moved, Finns would first build a wooden bathing cabin at the new residence. And while in some other parts of the world people were bathing twice a year, the Nordic peoples were known for their hygienic habits, at least once a week in a variety of wooden saunas. In addition to maintaining sterile and sanitary conditions, it is believed that cold weather conditions are another reason why the Finns have always liked to go use them. Saunas would warm them up and improve the circulation. Until the hospitals were formed, the women were giving birth in this warm wooden huts.
We have many types of saunas today, and they are mostly distinct from the way of heating, that is, whether the rocks are heated continuously or only once, as well as whether they use coal or wood. The temperature in Finnish sauna is between 60-100 degree of Celsius. Smoke Sauna (The Savusauna), Wood Stove Saunas, electric saunas and many others.
How to use them
This type of bath is used by first going to shower, then sitting on wooden benches inside the cabin. A sauna can be for one, two or more persons, depending on the building. In the room, there is Kiuas, specially made stove with hot stones. By pouring water on the hot rocks, warm steam appears, known as löyly. There are also so-called “herbal” saunas where you use Vihta leaves, fragrant silver birch.
When it gets too hot, the Finns run to the snow or jump into the frost lake. After cooling, they return to the sauna. This process is repeated several times and is considered extremely healthy.
Saunas today are mixed places, both for women and men. What is characteristic of them is that they are by no means a sexual gathering or socializing with hidden intentions. For Finnish people, this is a place for leisure, relaxation of muscles and recovery of health. The Scandinavian nations believe in the sauna’s health power, and people around the world are increasingly accepting them as a good and healthful habit that needs to be practiced from time to time.
How does the sauna positively affect our health?
This magical wooden cabin will not only warm you up and relax, but it has many benefits for your health.
Cardio. Liberate you from stress and tension, and everyday stress is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease. Good circulation releases endorphins without which there is no sense of benefit in the body. The Finns have found a cure for their hearts in the saunas and tests show that 2-3 times a week in the sauna reduces the risk of heart attack up to 50%. Also, hot steam reduces blood pressure, regulates pulse and clear arteries.
Recuperation of muscles and joints. In the sauna, the entire body relaxes, and with endorphins, this is the right place for recovery after some oppressive physical activity. That’s why they are recommended to athletes and people whose jobs require long standing, walking, even sitting.
Detox. At temperatures between 60-80 Celsius, and surrounded by hot steam, the body continually swells. Sweat arises as a body’s response to improved circulation in the veins when blood streams faster and initiates the nervous system to the surface. Sweat is almost 99% water, but a significant amount of poisonous and harmful substances that are found in the body is eliminated through it.
Skin Care. By sweating, skin pores open, and the dead layer of the epidermis disappears. After treatment, you will notice how your skin is smoother and soft.
Sauna influences the mental state and a good sleep. According to many experts, they have a therapeutic effect and are often used as a treatment to release from stress and anxiety. Regular use of a sauna can contribute to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease to a considerable extent.
Relieved stress and relaxed nervous system, you will definitely fall asleep and have a quality rest.
Inhalation. Steam and heat are excellent fighters against colds and diseases. Use saunas for the sinuses, better airways, and heat can work disinfection on viruses and bacteria, especially in the winter.
Calorie burning. Many believe this is a sellers’ trick, but they are not right at all. And if we are aware that extra calories can’t be lost so easily, it’s still possible. Staying in these rooms stimulates the cardiovascular system, improves blood flow, or just creates a new state in the body. In these conditions, more oxygen is needed, and the body begins to burn more calories into useful energy. It is possible to burn some 300 calories, and for one time spent in a sauna, an adult can lose up to 500g of weight through the sweat.
Endorphin really has its place in this story. Even if Finns did not know about it thousands of years ago, they certainly knew about the benefits of small wooden bathrooms and the beauty they bring to life. Today, a sauna is warmed up in Finnland for every guest, as a welcoming sign. And the whole world uses the same or similar inventions. Saunas can bring you satisfaction, a lot of health and good social time, as much as you know about the saunas, whether they are healthy or not – The feeling is so good!