SWEAT, WASH, COOL DOWN, REPEAT
Saunas are everywhere. In Finland saunas are part of everyday life. With around six million inhabitants the country has, according to estimates, approximately one sauna for every three people. In Finland people "take a sauna" at least once a week and many families have portable saunas to take on trips or campsites. It's in the sauna, which means "a steam bath" in Finnish, that the locals gather to talk with friends, spend time with the family, relax and even close deals.
Yes! Sauna in Finland is a serious business!
No one knows for sure how or who created the sauna concept but it is possible that the cold climate of Finland has contributed a lot to this type of bath culture. According to the "Steam of Life" documentary - see the trailer here, the first saunas were heated cabins that served as houses and, because they were sterile environments, they were also used as a safe place for women to give birth.
The traditional Finnish sauna - used since at least the 12th century - is heated by a wood-burning stove without a chimney. A sauna cycle recommended by the Finnish Sauna Society starts with a bath to moisturize the skin and remove any perfume or odor that is not part of the sauna. Baths between one sauna and another, which can be dips into frozen lakes or pools with ice cold water, are required so the body can return to its normal temperature. Recent studies show that regular sauna visits are good for your health and can help you live longer.
The oldest public sauna in Finland is Rajaportin Sauna and was established around 1906. It is located in the south of the city of Tampere. One of the most recent public saunas built in Helsinki is the Kulttuurisauna, they opened their doors to the public in May 2013. Most recently, in 2016, a new public sauna opened in Helsinki. Löyly is a public sauna, restaurant and bar and has been attracting thousands of young Finns to the now once more renewed sauna culture.